The Turkish automotive sector broke a new record in the first quarter of the year with about $7 billion in exports. The sector, which closed the January-March periods with foreign sales in the range of $5-$6 billion in recent years, could only reach $6.4 billion in the first quarter of 2008, when the all-time export record was broken with $24.7 billion.
According to the Turkish Exporters Assembly (TİM), the automotive sector increased its exports, which stood at $5.5 billion in the January-June period of 2016, by 26.5 percent to $7 billion in the same period of this year.
The automotive sector, which has the largest share in Turkey's total exports with 18.9 percent, also closed the first quarter of the year as the leader by a landslide. The automotive sector was followed by chemical materials and products with 11.1 percent, the apparel sector with 11 percent and the steel sector with 8 percent.
The automotive sector exported to 163 countries and autonomous regions and 12 free zones in this period.
Historical record in March
The sector, which stood at $2.7 billion in foreign sales with an increase of 32.5 percent in March, reached the highest export figures in history, on a monthly basis.
The 36.8 percent increase in January was recorded as the highest rate of increase since August 2011 (66 months) on a monthly basis. Exports in the sector increased by 12.5 percent in February.
Having completed the January-March periods with foreign sales in the range of $5-$6 billion in recent years, the sector reached a record figure of $7 billion, outpacing $6.4 billion in the first quarter of 2018, during which the all-time export record was broken with $24.7 billion.
Nine out of the top 10 countries are EU members
Nine of the top 10 export destinations for the automotive sector were European Union (EU) member countries.
Germany maintained its leadership in the January-March period with an increase of 11.52 percent, reaching $1 billion in exports, followed by Italy with $816.9 million (44.25 percent increase), Britain with $776.9 million (19.94 percent), France with $745.8 million (34.05 percent) and Spain with $404.3 million (26.97 percent). Belgium, Poland, the United States, Slovenia and the Netherlands were also among Turkey's top export destinations.