Sales of passenger cars and light commercial vehicles in Turkey fell 4.6%, while automotive industry exports jumped some 15% throughout 2021, official data showed.
The sales of passenger cars and light commercial vehicles were down to around 737,350 units last year, according to data from the Automotive Distributors Association (ODD) on Wednesday. Sales in 2020 stood at nearly 773,000.
In December, sales fell 40.3% year-over-year to 62,243, the association added, down from 104,293 units in 2020.
Automobile sales in Turkey have declined in the past months due to supply issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic and high loan rates, amid a slide in the Turkish lira.
The ODD had forecast that sales would amount to between 825,000 and 875,000 in 2021, before rising to 850,000-900,000 in 2022.
On the other hand, the automotive industry, the locomotive of the country’s economy, generated $29.3 billion (TL 402.6 billion) worth of exports in 2021, according to the Uludağ Automotive Industry Exporters’ Association (OIB).
It marked a 15% year-over-year increase from some $25.54 billion in 2020.
The industry championed the country’s annual foreign sales for the 16th consecutive year. It accounted for 13.3% of last year’s overall exports, which surged by more than a third to hit an all-time high of nearly $225.4 billion.
The European Union market accounted for 64.6% of the total automotive exports, with $19 billion.
Germany became the largest export market. Sales to Germany increased by 17% compared to the previous year, reaching $4.1 billion.
The industry also saw rises in its exports to France and the U.K., with 14% and 39%. There was also a 22% increase in exports to Morocco.
While exports to the Middle East fell by 15% last year, they rose 38% to the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), 28% to the North American Free Trade Area and 21% to African countries.
OIB’s chairperson, Baran Çelik, said problems that started with the semiconductor chip crisis last year continued with other raw material supply problems and deepened with increasing costs, negatively affecting Turkey’s automotive industry as well as globally.
However, Çelik noted that the automotive industry registered the second-highest monthly export volume in its history in December.
“Despite all the problems experienced, we were able to close last year with a 15% increase in exports,” he added.