Firm to produce 100 jail transport vehicles

Firm to produce 100 jail transport vehicles

Aslan Batur ISTANBUL - Hürriyet
Firm to produce 100 jail transport vehicles

There is an incredible market for jail transportation vehicles and the sector is active and mobile, says Isuzu Turkey’s general manager Ömer Ablay (L). Hürriyet photo

Japanese carmaker Isuzu’s local branch will produce 100 jail transportation vehicles for the Justice Ministry after winning a tender.

“We realized there is an incredible market for jail transportation vehicles. We won the tender and will produce 100 jail transportation vehicles,” Isuzu Turkey General Manager Ömer Ablay said in a recent interview.

“It seems like these vehicles only take [prisoners] to court hearings and bring them back,” Albay said but added that the vehicles were used for a number of other functions as well.

There are 607 transportation vehicles in total and the ministry will replace them soon, he said.

The budget for 100 new transportation vehicles has already been allocated for the 2011 budget, Ablay said. The ministry launched the tender so that prisoners’ transportation to and from hearings would not be canceled or postponed due to a lack of vehicles or staff, he said.

Isuzu used to produce 11 buses per day until 2008 but had to decrease production during the global economic crisis in 2008 and 2009, Ablay said, adding that they had decided to run for tenders for the sake of the company’s prestige.

Isuzu is also active in building defense sector vehicles. Turkey’s strategy in the fight against terrorism changed after a bus carrying civilian staff employed with the armed forces was attacked while leaving a military lodging building, Ablay said. “We have thus developed a bus that suits the technical specifications of transporting civil staff [working for the military], investing millions of dollars in our research and development laboratory.”

The company mostly produces on a special order basis, said Ablay, adding that they could make any modifications to vehicles thanks to their successful research and development department. “This is our strongest asset.”

Turkey only represents a small bus market, Ablay said, adding that when counting exported products they manufacture in Turkey, Isuzu produced the second highest number of buses and minibuses in the country after Mercedes.

“As a priority, we will produce the 9.5-meter-long municipality bus. Then, we plan to introduce the 12-meter-long bus,” he said.

The only target Isuzu Turkey has not achieved for 2011 is the firm’s export target due to the sovereign debt crisis in Europe, Ablay said.

The company is also orienting toward other alternative markets, he said, adding that they were currently working with North African and Middle Eastern countries.

“However, vehicle expectations from these regions are very low. They almost asked for buses with wooden seats. Competition is very difficult there, due to Chinese rivals,” he said.