The star that is the U.S. market, which rose to sixth place among the top countries in Turkish automotive exports in 2017, is shining once again. Turkey's automotive sales to the country in the first seven months have increased by 14% to $631 million. Moreover, passenger car exports to the U.S. surged by 343% last month.
While the Turkish automotive industry raised its exports by 5% in July to $2.9 billion, it ranked first in the country's exports with a share of 18%. According to Uludağ Automotive Industry Exporters Association (OİB) data, exports decreased by 5% to $18.2 billion in the first half of the current year.
The United States has become the Turkish export sector's favorite once again as of March 2019. After a decline in the first two months, exports to the country started to increase, seeing a 44% increase in March, 64% in April, 18% in June and 55% in July. Thus, exports in the January-July period rose by 14%, totaling $631.2 million.
The increase in exports of passenger cars to this country was instrumental in making the U.S. the favorite export market once again. Passenger car exports saw a record level of 43,974 units in April due to the base effect. The second-highest increase took place in July with 343%. Should this upward trend continue at this pace, exports to the U.S. market are expected to rise above $1 billion at the end of the year.
In 2016, the automotive industry achieved $700.5 million in exports to the country, breaking a record in 2017 with $1.4 billion. In 2018, on the other hand, exports dropped to $1.1 billion.
Since 2015, one of the leading automotive companies in Turkey, Tofaş, has been selling the Doblo to the U.S. market under the RAM brand. Toyota has been exporting the C-HR model produced in its Sakarya plant since 2017. As of June 2019, the RAM Promaster City reached 63,000 sales in the U.S., while the total sales figure of Toyota C-HR stood at 101,000 units.
OİB Chairman Baran Çelik said the increase in the passenger car, bus, minibus, and midibus exports had a positive impact on foreign sales. He further pointed to the importance of domestic market vitality for sustainable export growth.
"A new special consumption tax (SCT) should be introduced for the sector to eliminate the problems experienced in the domestic market," he said, suggesting that this step would revitalize the domestic market and contribute positively to exports.
According to OİB data, the second-highest increase in passenger car exports was experienced in Israel with 220%, followed by Poland with 71%. Exports to France, the largest automotive market for the Turkish automotive sector, also soared 28% mainly due to the sales of the renewed Clio in Europe, especially in France.