Last week, the Turkish public witnessed the launch of a groundbreaking initiative that aims to manufacture Turkey's first domestic automobile. This goal has brought together the country's largest manufacturers and companies around a consortium, including Karsan Otomotiv, Anadolu Group, Turkcell, Vestel and BMC.
After speculation as to how the process will be drawn up, Science, Industry and Technology Minister Faruk Özlü outlined the road map for Turkey's automotive project. The minister highlighted that a brand associated with Turkey will be developed and more than one model may be designed in accordance with the target market's demand. He underscored that the domestically produced automobile will offer higher quality for a lower price than the other brands in the same sector and the project will address the global market.
The project in the new period is being described as "Turkey's automobile" rather than "the domestic car," Özlü pointed out.
The aggregate export value of the automotive industry is expected to reach $28 billion in 2017, the minister informed and highlighted that added-value has been created by the companies established in Turkey. Therefore, there is no distinction between domestic and foreign companies.
Elaborating on the automobile market, he said in Turkey, there are 200 automobiles per 1,000 people, while this figure reaches 600 in Europe and 800 in the U.S.
The government aims to increase its per capital gross domestic product (GDP) to $25,000 by 2023, which is currently at $11,000. He added that the GDP per capita increase will also raise the number of automobiles per 1,000 people to 400, 600 and 800.
The average cost of an automobile stands at around $20,000, and its lifespan ranges from 10 to 15 years. Considering this average, the minister said, we have a $1.5 trillion market in Turkey. A market of this magnitude requires the creation of a new brand in the sector.
Recalling last week's ceremony at the Presidential Complex with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan where a protocol on the "Joint Venture for Turkey's Automobile" was signed, Özlü said the members of the joint venture held a meeting with the chairman of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey, Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu.
Scientific and Technology Research Council of Turkey representatives delivered a presentation on the progress of the project. According to Özlü, the joint venture members will conduct a survey on detailed technical and financial analysis, and the data of the study will be used in establishing a corporate body for the project.
The survey will also inquire about the equity of the joint venture and the stakes of the each member. He said the joint venture will receive information from the experienced and knowledgeable consultative companies.
"The allocation of duties is not up for discussion and the responsibility will be equally assumed by each member," Özlü emphasized. "Turkey's automobile will be the automobile of the world. We regard this venture as a global project."
He explained that internal combustion engines are expected to be withdrawn from the market in the next 10 years, so trends around the world are leaning toward electric cars with nearly zero carbon emissions, high torque, good driving capability and energy-saving features.
He said the target markets could be North Africa and the Middle East, though the countries will be determined within the framework of financial analysis studies.
With regard to the brand and segment of Turkey's automobile, the minister noted there are models and brands identified with each country, adding that a model that will identify with Turkey will be developed within the scope of the project.
Özlü pointed out that it is not possible to make pricing with free figures due to competitors in the automotive world.
"We think that Turkey's automobile can compete in the world with the fuel type, segment and price. We'll look at the world and evaluate the gaps. We won't make a car we can't sell," he said. "Be assured that Turkey's automobile will be of better quality and cheaper than the cars in the same segment. We're assertive. Turkey will not miss the train this time."
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