Toyota’s Turkey unit exports fall 30 percent as Russia bites: CEO
ADAPAZARI - ReutersThe Turkish unit of Toyota Motor Corp saw first-half exports slump by 30 percent to 42,433 units after a weaker ruble hit Russia’s car market, but it hopes to pare losses with sales domestically and to Europe, the unit’s chief executive has said.
Toyota Turkey has been one of the 10 biggest production facilities of Toyota Corp outside Japan, with an annual production capacity of 150,000 units.
“We saw a significant decrease in our exports this year due to the economic problems in Russia and the loss of value in ruble … Russia is the largest market for our Corolla brand. We had originally planned to sell almost a quarter of our Corollas to Russia, but we have yet to sell even 10 percent,” Orhan Özer told Reuters on July 8.
He noted that Russia’s automotive imports decline by 45 percent this year, and the Russian market had shrunk by 41.5 percent.
“Many investors have revised, postponed or canceled their production and investment plans. Our exports and production volume have been affected in this vein,” he said.
The company expects to finish this year with a 9 percent decline in sales, or about 120,000 vehicles, by increasing sales to Turkey, Poland, Britain and partially Israel markets, said Özer.
Toyota Turkey sent around 33 percent of its Corollas to Russia and 18 percent to Israel last year, Özer said, adding that some 16 percent of total sales were made in the Turkish market.
In the first half of this year, Toyota Turkey has made the highest volume of automotive sales to Israel with 7,669 units, to Russia with 4,464 units, to Egypt with 3,900 units, to France with 3,161 units and to Spain with 2,780 units.
Özer said the Japanese automaker would also be very interested in selling vehicles to neighboring Iran, if the market opens up in the wake of a prospective nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.
“We expect the second half of the year would be better than the first half for the automotive exports. Despite several global risks and some domestic uncertainties, I believe stability will be maintained and further positive developments will take place in the second half of the year,” he said.