‘National car’ prototypes made in Sweden for $45 mln
Emre Özpeynirci - ISTANBULThe long-awaited “Turkish national car” prototypes which sparked widespread debate over their originality were made in Sweden and purchased for 40 million euros ($45 million).
The prototypes of the “indigenous” cars announced on Oct.13 by Işık initiated a social media storm due to their resemblance to the Cadillac BLS, a restyled model of the Saab 9-3.
Although the prototypes were introduced as the first steps towards a locally-made car, Işık had to clarify on Oct. 15 that the prototypes were produced entirely by Saab owner NEVS (National Electric Vehicle Sweden).
“We bought the Saab 9-3’s intellectual property rights, but not its name,” Işık said in a televised interview.
On Oct. 21, daily Hürriyet released documents revealing an agreement worth 40 million Euros between TÜBİTAK and NEVS, dating back to March 2015. The agreement foresaw the delivery of four prototypes by the end of nine weeks, ahead of the June 7 general elections.
Reports indicate NEVS failed to deliver two of the prototypes named “Phoenix” on time, while the electric car did not function properly.
In return, TÜBİTAK made an additional agreement on May 29, 2015, providing an extension and demanding the improvement of the prototypes.
While TÜBİTAK pushed NEVS to deliver all four prototypes ahead of the repeat elections on Nov. 1, the only functioning prototype was the gasoline-powered vehicle.
Hürriyet underlined that while the SUV prototype was not delivered at all, the highly-advertised electric car was still not functioning.
In previous interviews, Fikri Işık has defined electric cars as a “new window of opportunity” for Turkey.
The next five years will be absolutely crucial in electric car development across the world, Işık said, adding that the world may see new-generation electric cars by Apple or Google in the next decade.
Meanwhile, Işık explained how the Ministry evaluates the production of a “national car” in an interview with daily Haber Türk on Oct. 20.
Işık argued it did not matter where the car was produced by whom.
“All of its intellectual property rights will be Turkey’s. That’s what we mean by national,” Işık stated.
According to reports, the Swedish-made cars would be “re-created” by Turkish engineers at the Marmara Research Center of TÜBİTAK (The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey).
TÜBİTAK is set to install its locally-made electric motor, battery and software to the Swedish prototype in order to “nationalize” the car.