Fiat and Opel have been dancing at arms length for years. The relationship looked like it could grow closer as a result of GM's recent downsizing, but the Italian automaker didn't end up acquiring the General's European operations in the end. The two automakers have, however, announced a new arrangement that will have Fiat supplying Opel and its British counterpart Vauxhall with rebadged versions of its Doblo van.
Not even taking into account impending platform-sharing with Chrysler, Fiat already produces a number of vehicles with or for other automakers, including commercial vans with PSA Peugeot-Citroën and the compact SX4/Sedici with Suzuki.
The Opel vans will be produced at Fiat's Tofas plant in Turkey, with several derivatives planned, including chassis cabs, cargo vans and passenger vehicles. They'll be sold in Europe and overseas markets (but not in North America), replacing the Opel Combo that itself was based on a Fiat platform that underpins the Corsa.
FIAT AND OPEL SIGN AGREEMENTS FOR SUPPLY OF VEHICLES
* Supply of Fiat's Doblò derivatives
* Successor to the Opel / Vauxhall Combo
* Produced at Tofas in Turkey
* Production in excess of 250,000 units to start in 2011
Turin/Rüsselsheim: The automobile sector of the Fiat Group (Fiat Group Automobiles SpA, Turin, Italy), and Adam Opel GmbH, (Rüsselsheim, Germany), have concluded negotiations and signed a contract whereby Fiat will supply vehicles comprising several variants to Opel, commencing December 2011.
The vehicles, based on the same platform as the Fiat Doblò, will be produced at the Tofas plant in Bursa, Turkey, where the Doblò is manufactured, and will be sold progressively by Vauxhall and Opel dealers in Europe and other markets outside NAFTA from January 2012. The model will replace the Opel Combo Light Commercial Vehicle.
Opel and Vauxhall will retain the Combo name for this new vehicle range, which will include a number of derivatives including Cargo vans, Combis, passenger vehicles and chassis cabs. The Opel / Vauxhall design team in Rüsselsheim is actively involved in the development of the new models with Fiat Group Automobiles' Engineering and Design Group in Turin.
The project calls for an initial supply of up to 6,000 vehicles in 2011. The programme is planned to cover the supply of at least 250,000 units, which will extend the total life-time production of this vehicle platform in Tofas to 1.3 million units.
Tofas is a joint venture between Fiat Group Automobiles and Koc Holding of Turkey and was established in 1968.