Global automotive giant Mercedes-Benz is planning to further boost its current TL 1.1 billion ($290 million) investments in Turkey this year, Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the board of management of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars division, has said.
The company, which celebrated 50 years of operations in Turkey in 2017, has made major investments in the country and aims to set new records in 2018, according to the Turkish language daily, Dünya.
"We are pleased to continue working with our managers in Turkey, which is a very important market for us. Our investments and growth there will continue," said Zetsche at the Detroit Auto Show last week.
He said Mercedes-Benz Türk has managed to maintain its traditional leadership in the intercity bus and truck market as it boosted truck exports by 38 percent in 2017 as it marked the highest ever export figures.
Underscoring that two out of every three trucks and one out of every two buses produced in Turkey carried the Mercedes-Benz brand, Zetsche said the Light Commercial Vehicle Group, with its X-class sales, has also made Turkey the leader in Mercedes-Benz global sales.
The company's Vito range of automobile also reached the highest sales figures in history last year, he added.
In Turkey, the premium segment ranked first in terms of passenger car sales, Zetsche said, adding that despite the challenging market conditions in Turkey, the company has closed 2017 successfully with total sales of 48,778 vehicles.
One of the largest foreign-owned companies in Turkey, Mercedes-Benz Türk, have continued to mark major achievements this year. It introduced the new Tourismo buses last week. The range was developed by Turkish engineers over a period of three-and-a-half years with a budget of 30 million euros.
Mercedes-Benz Türk's goals for 2018 are to continue its current presence in production, to develop and sell appropriate vehicles in line with customer requirements and market requirements, to increase the employment rate provided, accelerate the work in the research and development (R&D) and information technology fields while continuing to contribute to the community with corporate social responsibility projects.
One of the most important developments in 2018 will be the company's new R&D center at its Aksaray Truck Plant. The work on the research center began last year and will see an investment of around 8.4 million euros.
At this center, the company will begin to provide global services, and Mercedes trucks, produced in different countries around the world, which will be tested and approved by Turkish engineers.
Recalling their investments in Turkey, Zetsche emphasized that he was very satisfied with the performance of factories in Turkey, especially with the quality of production.
Underlining the success they achieved in the market last year, Zetsche said the company will continue to grow in parallel with the Turkish economy and indicated they will continue to make new investments.
He said that in 2017, for the first time, a Turkish manager was at the helm of the company's operations in Turkey and it was a very successful year.
Zetsche said he was extremely satisfied with the situation, adding that they never had a rule or condition that the Mercedes companies around the world will be led by German directors.
"But we are delighted to appoint local staff who are able to reach the top management at all our brands to the senior and top executive positions. It pleases us that we have a local executive leading operations in Turkey," he said.