The total number of sales of cars manufactured in Turkey over the course of 2019 jumped almost 6% over the previous year, according to Automotive Distributors Association (ODD) data, lowering the share of imported cars.
The sale of passenger cars and light commercial vehicles dropped by 22.8% last year to 479,060, down from around 670,000 units in 2018, ODD data showed.
Some 206,069 of vehicles sold last year were manufactured in facilities in Turkey, bringing their share in the total sales to 43%, up from 37.1% in the previous year.
On the other hand, 272,991 vehicles sold were imported, leading to a drop in their share in overall sales to 57%, from 63% in 2018.
In 2018, with a total of 620,937 units across the market, sales of domestically manufactured vehicles in Turkey were leveled at around 230,493 units, while the sales of imported vehicles stood at around 390,444.
Fiat led the way among carmakers as 73,441 units of its total sales portfolio of 76,251 last year were manufactured in the country. It was followed by Renault with 51,258 units, followed by Ford with 33,425, Toyota with 22,012, and Honda with 17,246 units.
German carmaker Volkswagen took the lead in the list of imported cars with 48,496 units sold in the Turkish automobile market, followed by Peugeot, which does not manufacture in Turkey, with a sales figure of 28,861 units, Citroen with 20,006 and Opel with 18,059 units.
Passenger car sales last year amounted to some 387,256 units, a 20.37% year-on-year decrease, while sales of light commercial vehicles declined by 31.8% to 91,804 units.
As for January of this year, sales of passenger cars and light commercial vehicles surged almost 90%, according to ODD data.
Some 27,273 automobiles were sold last month, up from 14,373 units sold in the same period of 2018.
The increase follows the upward trend that started in September, which came after a monthslong narrowing in the market, amid a drop in borrowing costs since the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CBRT) started slashing interest rates in July.
The number of domestically manufactured vehicles was recorded at 11,239, with imported vehicles numbering around 16,034 units.
Passenger car sales doubled during the same period to 22,016, up from 10,979 in the same month last year. An ODD report showed that 5,257 light commercial vehicles were sold in January – a 54.89% increase year-on-year from 3,394 units.
High volatility in foreign exchange rates in the second half of 2018, followed by a high increase in interest rates on loans, led to a sharp decline in domestic demand.
The government, however, introduced tax cuts in November 2018 to reinvigorate consumption. It later extended the cuts until the end of June 2019.
The CBRT began aggressively lowering rates in July 2019 after having raised the key rate to 24% in September 2018 in the face of rising inflation. The bank cut its key interest rate to 11.25% last month from 24% since July 2019 on the back of the stabilizing lira and a drop in inflation.
It was followed by a campaign initiated by public lenders in late September to spur domestic demand by offering cheaper loans to citizens when they bought domestically made vehicles from select manufacturers.
The ODD recently said sales were expected to come to around 550,000 to 600,000 in 2020.
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