Local consumers have say in development process of first indigenous automobile

UFUK SANDIK
ISTANBUL
Published 25.06.2019 00:18

As Turkey's Automobile Joint Venture Group (TOGG), a group formed of five of the largest Turkish industrialists that will develop Turkey's first domestically manufactured automobile, leaves its first year behind, works on the project continue at full speed. During the development process, consumers have had a say in the design of the first domestic car, expected to be presented in December. Consumers were asked about their needs and expectations, which were taken into account in the process of the car's interior and exterior design.

In November 2017, Turkey rolled up its sleeves to design and manufacture its first indigenous automobile in a joint venture formed by five of the largest Turkish industrialists, all experienced in their own areas of operation.

Five domestic firms

–Anadolu Group, BMC, Kök Group, Türkcell and Zorlu Holding, with 19 percent shares each, and the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) with 5 percent of the shares will jointly lead the joint venture TOGG.

While a prototype is being prepared, work is underway to determine the brand and model name. TOGG plans to showcase the prototype of the car and unveil the brand in December. The car, for which mass production will kick off in 2021, is projected to hit Turkish streets in 2022.

According to the program, the first vehicle to be available for sale will be C-SUV, yet the plan of the project envisions the production of five models by 2030. In addition, the facelift of three models will be carried out during the process.

Explaining why they chose a vehicle in the C-SUV segment, TOGG CEO Gürcan Karakaş said, "As soon as we started off, a survey was done with over 2,000 people from around the country. We found that the demand for an SUV in the C segment is high in our country's market. According to estimates, the sedan market will grow 1 to 2 percent in seven or eight years, while the SUV market will grow over 8 percent. That is why we decided that our first product would be the C-SUV."

Industry and Technology Minister Mustafa Varank last month said the indigenous automobile will be fully electric with a 500-kilometer range.

Indicating that TOGG embarked on a journey to implement a development process of a product that is the best of the best, Karakaş further noted that they examined close to 20 startup companies in the field of mobility with Boston Consulting Group (BCG), from whom they receive consulting services, adding that they established their plans accordingly. Replying to critics that it was late for Turkey's automobile, Karakaş said, "Due to the nature of the business, we are already managing a process that is not short."

"Because developing an electric vehicle from scratch is a much different process than converting an existing vehicle into electric, naturally it takes longer. What we do at the same time, we create a brand and bring out much more than an automobile, namely an ecosystem," Karakaş added.

He further emphasized they are working with a team that has worldwide competence.

"Our team is made up of friends who have worked globally and who have no less than 13 to 15 years of experience. Since we see our employees at the heart of everything, we hire suitable people with the best personal experience in the field," Karakaş noted.

The domestically manufactured automobile initiative came after repeated calls from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for a joint car project by the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) and the Science, Industry and Technology Ministry.

Turkey attempted to produce its first domestically produced car in 1961 - the Devrim (Revolution) was unsuccessful after production and was halted following the first prototypes.

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