Doblo doubt hits Tofas shares – report

Shares in Turkish carmaker Tofas fell sharply today after major shareholder Stellantis said the new Fiat Doblo would be produced in Spain, raising uncertainty about what would be produced in Turkey instead.

Shares fell 6.1% to 73.95 lira at 1025 GMT, from an early low of 72.85 lira, Reuters reported.

Tofas is a joint venture between the Turkish Koc Holding and Stellantis.

Tofas previously said production of Doblo’s light commercial vehicle would remain at the plant until the end of 2022. But it said late Monday that evaluations continued on extending the current output of the Doblo version to the end of 2023 and on the potential production of new models.

A Stellantis press release on Monday about the new Doblo and E-Doblo vehicles said they would be manufactured in Spain, Reuters noted.

Tofas began production of the Doblo, one of the three main vehicles it makes, in the early 2000s and it enabled the company to switch to an export-oriented business model.

Although production of Doblo by Tofas was originally planned to end at the end of this year, Stellantis has been evaluating whether Tofas would produce the new model for some time.

“We still see a greater chance that there will be new potential projects… However, the current news stream doesn’t look very encouraging,” Cemal Demirtas, Ata Yatirim’s deputy general manager, told Reuters.

“Any delay in announcing new potential projects… will likely lead to an overhang in Tofas stock.”

Tofas said that even if Doblo production in Turkey were expanded, European countries would not be among the main export markets, with production targeting the domestic market, the Middle East, Africa and North America.

Doblo accounted for a third of Tofas production at the end of last year with 77,520 vehicles. It also made up 43% of the company’s exports with 48,761 units, Reuters said.

In addition to the Doblo, Tofas produces the passenger model Egea and another platform for light commercial vehicles, the MCV, in a smaller volume.

Tofas has a production capacity of 450,000 per year, but production fell after the coronavirus outbreak. It produced about 229,000 vehicles last year, Reuters said.

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