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Import-dominated car market nears new highs in Turkey

ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency | 7/21/2011 12:00:00 AM |

Car imports are about to reach a record in Turkey this year, as seven in ten cars purchased in the country are produced abroad. Figures show car sales may exceed last year’s all time record by the yearend

Turkey’s automotive imports are quickly approaching a record this year, with 70 percent of sales for passenger cars coming from abroad in just the first half of the year.

The current record was set in 2004, when 71 percent of sales over the year were for imported vehicles.

According to data provided by the Automotive Distributors Association, or ODD, and Automotive Industry Association, or OSD, the share of imported automobiles in commercial vehicles stood at 45 percent for the first six months of the year.

Sales for light commercial vehicles and passenger car reached 421,043 in the first half of the year, exceeding the figure for the same period last year by 51.32 percent.

Some 289,746 passenger cars were sold in the period as the section grew by 55.52 percent compared with the first half of 2010, while light commercial vehicle sales reached 131,297, posting a 42.79 percent increase over the same period last year.

Figures indicate that car sales in Turkey may exceed last year’s all-time record of 760,913.

Turkey’s automotive imports in the first five months of the year totaled nearly $7.2 billion while exports were $6.6 billion, creating a trade deficit of nearly $589 million. Imports in the same period last year were $4.2 billion while exports exceeded $5.9 billion, equaling a nearly $1.7 billion surplus.

Turkey’s car exports from January to May this year increased by 20 percent, while imports rose by 44 percent in the same period.

Renault, which makes cars in the northwestern province of Bursa, topped the local car sales. The brand sold 45,895 vehicles in the first six months – 42,501 of which were made in Turkey.

Some 23,114 out of the 29,971 cars sold by Fiat last year were also produced domestically. Hyundai also helped domestic production figures rise, with 16,158 out of a total of 22,387 cars sold produced in Turkey.

Opel and Ford led the imported car record with 34,081 and 31,794 cars respectively.

Volkswagen, which does not produce any cars in Turkey, sold 41,840 cars in the first half of the year. Chevrolet, another foreign producer, sold 10,321 items.

Some 13,159 of the 17,148 cars sold in Turkey by Toyota were imported.

Domestically produced cars dominated sales of light commercial vehicles, with 131,297 domestically-made units sold compared to 57,954 foreign-made cars.

Ford and Fiat led domestic production with 31,607 and 31,449 cars respectively. Fiat, Renault, Hyundai and Ford led the way in sales for domestically produced commercial vehicle.

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