The share of imported automobiles in the Turkish market has declined to 61 percent in the first three months of this year as the market share of locally produced models keeps growing.
Turkey imported more than 77.9 percent of its automobile in 2013. That share dropped to 70 percent in 2017 and further declined to 63.3 percent last year.
According to the Automotive Distributors Association (ODD), the market share of imported automobiles in January-February fell to 61 percent, while the share of domestic cars increased to 39 percent. Thus, automobile imports have declined by 16.9 points since 2013.
While the automobile market shrank by 52 percent in the January-February period, imported car sales and domestic automobile sales fell by 55 percent and 45 percent, respectively. A total of 30,184 automobiles were sold during this period.
Also, the sales of light commercial vehicles dropped by 54 percent in the same period, in which the share of imports stood at 47 percent.
One of the most important reasons for the decline in the share of imports was the increased demand for automobiles produced in Turkey.
Currently, five automobile brands are producing eight models of automobiles in Turkey. Tofaş manufactures the Fiat Egea in Bursa, Oyak Renault produces the Megane sedan and Clio hatchbacks in Bursa, Toyota produces the C-HR and Corolla sedans in the industrial province of Sakarya, Hyundai Assan produces i10 and i20 and Honda produces Civic sedans in the country.
Another reason for the decrease in imports is the fact that many brands have not launched their 2019 car models due to the recession, changing the supply-demand balance in the market. The gap caused by imported cars in the market is currently compensated by domestic automobiles.
According to forecasts, a total of 350,000 automobiles, including 220,000 imported, will be sold in 2019. The share of imported automobiles is expected to be 62.8 percent by the end of the year.
Having run a foreign trade surplus in the past decade with the exception of the years of 2011 and 2015, the Turkish automotive industry broke a new record in 2018.
Because of the rise in domestic models, the foreign trade surplus soared to $13 billion in 2018 from $6.5 billion in 2017. A new foreign trade surplus record is expected in 2019.
Automotive equipment manufacturer Delphi Technologies has made Turkey a base of after-sale services and spare parts.
Reşat Dumanoğlu, the regional director for Turkey, the Caucasus, the Middle East and Africa at Delphi Technologies, stated that the company grew by 44 percent in 2018. "Thanks to our efforts, we have become the regional directorate of 67 countries in Turkey, the Caucasus, the Middle East and Africa," he said.