Foreign cars enjoy service of Turkish mechanics
Taylan Özgür Dil – ISTANBUL
Mechanics and repair shop owners attribute the extra demand in their services seen this year to the drop in the value of the Turkish Lira against the euro, while customers say that they have had their vehicles serviced in Türkiye at least 50 percent cheaper than in Europe.
Atatürk Auto Industry Site in Istanbul’s Maslak district saw a large number of foreign license plate car owners who bought their spare parts from the countries they live in and waited all winter without having their vehicles serviced.
With the arrival of many new customers, the mechanics worked overtime all summer servicing their cars. In the Atatürk Auto Industry Site, there was a car with a foreign license plate in front of almost every shop, although it is mid-September and most Turks living in Europe completed their visits and returned.
“This year, more expats came from countries such as Germany, Austria, Belgium and France compared to the previous years,” said Selman Duran, who owns a repair shop in Maslak.
“Generally, they prefer Türkiye to change brake linings, rims, discs and have mechanical failures repaired. They prepare their vehicles to complete the road trip and have all their transactions done here.”
Labor costs and some spare parts are very expensive in European countries, according to Duran.
“For example, the previous day, I changed the brake linings of a car with a Belgium license plate,” he said.
“When it cost 750 Turkish Liras [41 euros], the owner of the car laughed and said that if it had been done there, it would have cost at least 400 euros,” Duran added.
“Another time, when we issued an invoice of 13,000 liras [706 euros] for malfunctions and parts replacement, the customer was surprised and asked if there had been a mistake. Their money here is worth 18 times. They can have the regular maintenance and parts replacement done for 90-100 euros here, which they cannot do for less than 1,000 euros there.”
Customer Murat İdris, who has been living in Paris for 15 years, said he has his car serviced in Türkiye every year.
“I would not let a mechanic abroad open the hood of my car,” he said.
“Prices in Türkiye are at least 40-50 percent more affordable than in the country I live in. On the other hand, I am more comfortable here. In other words, trust and sincerity are the most important reasons for us to choose this place.”
İdris added that he and his family also keep their dental and eye health works on hold and perform them in Türkiye to take advantage of the prices.
There are also vehicles with Ukrainian and Russian license plates almost everywhere in the auto industry sites in Istanbul. Ukrainians who escaped from the war with their vehicles and took refuge in Türkiye have their maintenance done by mechanics in the country.
“Since February, when the Russia-Ukraine war started, we have started to serve Ukrainians who came to our country by car after escaping from the war,” said one mechanic.
“They have also become our new customers. One or two new Ukrainian customers arrive almost every month to have their cars serviced.”
The mechanic added that there has also been a recent increase in the number of vehicles with Russian license plates.