(Adds second Tofas statement)
ISTANBUL, June 22 (Reuters) - Italian carmaker Fiat FIA.MI and its Turkish joint venture Tofas (TOASO.IS) have signed a deal to produce 120,000 units of a new light commercial vehicle annually in Turkey, Tofas said in a statement on Friday.
The project envisages a 370 million euro ($500 million) investment including research and development and production start-up costs for a new vehicle would replace the Doblo van.
“The new vehicle, which is planned to be offered for sale in the second half of 2009, will take the place of the Fiat Doblo which it is currently producing,” the statement said.
Tofas shares closed up 1.6 percent at 6.4 lira in a weaker market.
“A letter of intent was signed today between our company and Fiat Group Automobiles SpA to produce a new light commercial vehicle at our Bursa factory (in northwest Turkey),” the statement to the Istanbul Stock Exchange said.
It said 120,000 vehicles would be produced annually and around 70 percent of these will be exported.
Fiat’s chief executive, Sergio Marchionne, said last month there was a more than 50 percent probability that it would produce the new Doblo in Turkey but that talks were continuing.
Tofas is a joint venture between Fiat and Turkish conglomerate Koc Holding (KCHOL.IS).
((Writing by Daren Butler, editing by Paul Bolding; Reuters Messaging: firstname.lastname@example.org; email: email@example.com; Tel: +90-212-350 7057, fax: +90-212-350 7005))
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