Turkey launches joint venture for first indigenous car

Turkey launches joint venture for first indigenous car

ANKARA
Turkey launches joint venture for first indigenous car

Turkey launched a joint venture of five local industrial giants to produce its first domestically-made car on Nov. 2.

Five suppliers - Anadolu Group, BMC, Kıraça Holding, Turkcell, and Zorlu Holding - will jointly manufacture Turkey’s first indigenous car.

At the ceremony at the presidential palace in Ankara, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan expressed his gratitude to the firms and promised his “full support” for the venture. Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım also delivered a speech to mark the launch of the landmark venture.

The initiative came after repeated calls from Erdoğan for a joint project of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB) and the Science, Industry and Technology Ministry.

Erdoğan said he expected the prototype of first domestically-produced car to be ready in 2019 and for sales to start in 2021.

“I want to own the first such automobile and I will pay for it,” he said, adding that he would prefer a hybrid or an electric car option.

For his part, Yıldırım praised the “bravehearts” who will carry out the project.

“Turkey has the engineers, technicians, workers and bravehearts necessary. And they will have the state backing them,” he said.

Also speaking at the ceremony, TOBB chairman Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu said it was the “right time” for a 100 percent Turkish automobile.

“Century-old automobile giants are racing with each other in new-generation car technologies. So now is the right time for the Turkish automobile. We will work very hard for three or four months to analyze the alternative technologies and funding options,” Hisarcıklıoğlu said.

Industry Minister Faruk Özlü said the goal of the project is “not limited to the domestic markets.”

Anadolu, BMC and Kıraça are already directly involved in car manufacturing, while Turkcell is the country’s largest mobile operator and will engage in the project for technological support. Zorlu is a multi-sector conglomerate, which manufactures computers and white goods along with many other businesses.

Although Turkey does not have a domestic car brand, it is a major producer for industry giants, with Europe being the top market for cars produced in the country.

The automobile and light commercial vehicle market in Turkey grew by 10.5 percent in October compared to the same period last year, the Automotive Distributors’ Association stated on Nov. 2.

The association said 91,752 vehicles were sold in October 2017, compared to 83,000 vehicles last October.

This figure is made up of 70,488 automobiles sold in October, compared to 63,746 automobiles last October, and 21,264 light commercial vehicles sold in October, compared to 19,254 last October.

In the January to October period 719,095 vehicles - including automobiles and light commercial vehicles - were sold in Turkey. The figure for 2016 was 719,499. So the total market narrowed by 0.06 percent during this period.

In addition, by late October 49 electric cars and 3,252 hybrid cars were sold in Turkey.

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