Sales of passenger cars and light commercial vehicles in Turkey nearly doubled in October, as a strong upward trend continues after the country's partial lockdown was lifted in June.
The increase has led to an upward revision in the year-end sales forecast.
Around 94,733 vehicles were sold last month, a 93% year-on-year increase, according to the Automotive Distributors Association (ODD) data released Tuesday.
The same figure stood at 49,074 units in 2019, 21,571 in 2018 and 91,752 in 2017, which was one of the best years ever for the industry.
Passenger car sales in October were up 90.9% to 76,341 units, according to the ODD data. Sales of light commercial vehicles, in the meantime, surged 102.6% to 18,392 units.
The automotive industry was ravaged by the coronavirus outbreak, with sales plummeting after governments around the world imposed lockdowns to stem the spread of the virus.
Turkey gradually eased the measures to revive the economy in May and lifted most of them in June.
According to the 10-year September average, overall sales were up 48.7%, according to ODD, with passenger car sales increasing 60.5% and light commercial vehicle sales surging 14%.
The strong performance over the recent months and in the last month have led the association to revise up year-end sales forecast for this year to 725,000-750,000 vehicles, up from September's revision of 700,000-750,000.
In the January-October period, passenger car and light commercial vehicle sales posted a 78.1% increase to 588,354 units, according to the data.
The overall sales in the January-September had surpassed the sales of the whole of 2019 when 479,000 units were sold.
Compared to previous years, sales were higher than 330,384 in 2019 and 485,027 in 2018 and lower than 719,095 in 2017.
Ten-month passenger car sales saw a 73.1% year-on-year increase to 465,031 units, while light commercial vehicle sales hit 123,323, up 99.7% from a year earlier.
The increase comes despite a hike in taxes that Turkey announced in August on most imported cars. It increased its special consumption tax (ÖTV) on mid-range and expensive cars, but also lifted the lower thresholds at which the duty is imposed, meaning that more vehicles could be taxed at unchanged lower rates. This has led buyers toward cheaper vehicles.
Taxes for cars with an engine capacity of 1,600 cubic centimeters (cc) – the majority of automobiles that Turkey imports – was raised to 80% from 60%. For electric cars with a capacity or the equivalent of more than 2,000 cc, the rate was raised to 130% from 100% and high segment cars will jump to 220% from 160%.
The value-added tax (VAT) on all car purchases remained unchanged at 18%.
According to the segment classification, cars in the A, B and C segments that have lower tax rates constituted 87.5% of the overall sales at the end of October.
C-segment vehicles held a 63.3% share with 294,338 units, with B-segment cars holding a 23.7% share with 110,055 units, the data showed.
Sedan-type cars were again the buyers' favorite in the month and held a share of 43.7%, followed by SUVs with 29.6% and hatchbacks with 23.6%.
The sale of cars with an engine capacity of 1,600 cc was up 74.6% and had a share of 94.7%, while sales of the cars between 1,600 cc and 2,000 cc increased by 24.7% and had a share of 1.8%. Sales of cars above 2,000 cc surged by 9.3% and held a share of 0.2%.
Gasoline-powered vehicles constituted 51.8% (240,815 units) of overall sales last month, while diesel-powered cars had a 40.8% share (189,705 units).
Some 314 electric and 15,151 hybrid cars were also sold last month, according to the data.