Production of Russian truck maker GAZ’s GAZelle NEXT, its most modern commercial vehicle, is under way in Turkey.

The launch of semi-knocked-down assembly at the Mersa Otomotive plant in Sakarya marks the first output of the Euro 5-compatible line outside of GAZ’s home market. Local suppliers provide the prop shafts, wheel discs, batteries and braking-system parts.

GAZ says 24 dealers and 38 certified service centers have been trained to sell and service the vehicles in seven regions of the country.

GAZ sells about 18% of its production in export markets, up from about 13% two years ago, with most of the growth coming from the Commonwealth of Independent States, Southeast Asia, North Africa and Middle East.

NEXT production was launched at GAZ’s main factory in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, in April 2013. The company said at the time it spent $165 million developing the truck lineup and now says investment will reach $375 million.

dzoia@wardsauto.com