Virus performance may open doors for auto industry: Expert
As the European automotive market resumes production amid uncertain demand due to coronavirus, Turkey is well-positioned to emerge from the crisis with less damage and to draw more export orders, according to an industry leader.
The automakers largely shut down their factories and halted production in the first four months of this year to stem the virus’ spread as well as due to a collapse in demand.
Mostly restarting at a slow pace in May, the automotive production is expected to ramp up gradually in the second half of the year, depending on consumer behavior and the course of the virus.
Alper Kanca, head of the Automotive Supplier Industry (TAYSAD), said the expected automotive sector revival in 2021, after a contraction this year, will not help it overtake the 2019 levels globally.
"Obviously 2021 will be better than 2020, but there will not be a festive environment, as it will not catch up to the moderate success of last year," Kanca told Anadolu Agency.
According to the latest report by London-based global data firm IHS Markit, global auto sales in 2020 are projected to decline more than 20% year-on-year to 70.3 million units.
Kanca underlined that local shutdowns are expected to result in a similar contraction in Turkey's automotive sector, corresponding to a loss of $5 billion.
"Turkey will wriggle out of this crisis better than its rivals and receive more export orders," he said, owing to its solid performance during the virus crisis (both in business and healthcare), the dynamism of Turkish firms, its proven resilience in dealing with crises, and its export-oriented structure.
Pointing to the structural changes that the sector will face in the post-pandemic era, Kanca projected that countries across the world will place orders in light of the geographic proximity of producers.
There is no country in Europe that can boost the capacity and capabilities Turkey can, he added.
"So Turkey may offer these abilities and skills to a higher number of European customers," he underlined.
‘Early maneuvering paid off’
Kanca praised Turkey's fight against the pandemic as doing better than many European countries "as never seen before."
Its “maneuvering at the onset ensured no loss of production and people in the sector," he stressed.
On automotive sales figures in the months since the onset of the virus, Kanca stressed how Turkish overall auto sales market posted an increase, contrary to the shrinkage of the European market overall.
According to the latest data from the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA), the EU27 passenger car market saw a dramatic annual drop in registrations of new vehicles this January-March, down 25.6% from same period last year.
In contrast, Turkey's car and light commercial vehicle sales surged 41% year-on-year in the first three months of this year, Automotive Distributors' Association (ODD) data showed. Passenger car sales jumped 45% on an annual basis to 99,630 in the three-month period.