Toyota moves automobile production to Turkey

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 07.06.2016 00:23

Japanese automotive giant Toyota increased the percentage of domestic manufacturing of its automobile sales in Turkey up to 78 percent over the first five months of the year, manufacturing 74 out of 100 vehicles it sold in 2015 in Adapazarı.

Toyota became the second brand with the largest amount of domestic manufacturing in Turkey following TOFAŞ. Rapidly raising domestic manufacturing of their Corolla and Verso models, Toyota aims to set the bar up to 81 percent with its first compact SUV model, C-HR, which will be manufactured in Adapazarı and put up for sale in Turkey in November.

Speaking to the Hürriyet daily at a Corolla press conference in Göcek, Toyota Turkey CEO Ali Haydar Bozkurt said they closed 2015 with 51,000 sales and they aim to reach at least 55,000 this year. Stressing that 35,000 out of 55,000 vehicles sold were Corollas and that they expected to sell over 65,000 vehicles in 2017 along with the C-HR, which will be put up for sale in Turkey in November, two months before its world premiere. Pointing out that the sales goal for their commercial vehicles in 2017 is around 78,000, Bozkurt added that 81 percent of the vehicles they sold along with Corollas and C-HRs will be domestically produced, and this will be a crucial development for the economy and current account deficit.

Recalling that Toyota only makes 31 percent of Turkey's total automobiles, Bozkurt said this percentage was around 90 percent for top-selling brands in Turkey, and they will increase sales along with new models in the coming years. Bozkurt said Toyota's sales reached 18,000 from January to May, which was a new record, and sales in May reached 6,069.

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of production in 2016 and holding the world's best-selling automobile title at 40 million, the Toyota Corolla was renewed with a more premium and prestigious look. Explaining that they released Corolla's 11th generation in 2013, Bozkurt said no other automobile has reached the same success as the Corolla, which first came out 50 years ago. Reaching 34,961 sales last year, the Corolla has started to become more popular with the high rate of its domestic production in Turkey, according to Bozkurt. He also said its price has for the most part stayed the same except for small increases due to additional equipment. The new Corolla has strengthened D segment look with a wider front grill, new bumper design and high mount chrome detail. The features of its interior include a sportive AC panel, 7-inch Toyota Touch 2 touchscreen and 4.2-inch colored multi-functional screen.

Explaining that Toyota wants to expand its service network in Turkey and around the world, Bozkurt said Toyota kick started the Rent a Toyota system, which allows small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and corporate customers to rent cars from all the Toyota agencies regardless of the number of cars. The system is spreading to almost every city in Turkey and will be a solution partner for SMEs. Rent a Toyota aims to allow car rentals from one hub and offer the same opportunities and advantages to small companies as to those who rent many vehicles. He said that after the system is properly established, they want to provide an annual sales support of 3,000 to 4,000 vehicles and that Toyota aims to reach over 4,000 as of 2017.

He talked about the Corolla's success in public sales and said that as of June 2014, domestically manufactured vehicles have been encouraged in purchasing and renting according the implemented criteria. According to Bozkurt, the Corolla is purchased as a highway police car and for government executives' official cars.

Recalling that the new Hilux commercial shot in Turkey was praised by Toyota's headquarters, Bozkurt said that is why they shot the Corolla commercial with a Turkish agency in Turkey, and it will be globally released in the coming days.

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