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Turkey’s auto industry is in the midst of a moderate slowdown as global, particularly European, economic
conditions limit export possibilities and domestic economic tensions cut into vehicle sales. The industry is
facing a period of retrenchment. BMI forecasts that total vehicle sales will fall by 2.62% year-on-year (yo-
y) in 2012, to 883,784.
This follows three years of fast sales growth and is a setback for the industry. However, the drop is likely
to be short lived, as we predict sales will increase on average 7% y-o-y for the remainder of our five-year
forecast period. Vehicle production is also set to suffer this year, with an expected drop of 3%, to 1.15mn
units, before predicted annual average 10% growth until 2016.
Overall, however, the Turkish auto industry is still an attractive site for manufacturing and a promising
market for sales: 2012 will temporarily put the brakes on rapid expansion.
Vehicle sales fell 0.8% y-o-y in August, to 60,871 units, according to the Turkish Automotive
Manufacturers Association (OSD). Sales in 8M12 fell 15.3% y-o-y, to 485,611 units. Much of this drop
occurred within the passenger car segment, where sales dropped 11.25% y-o-y, to 330,257 units. Over the
same time period, exports fell by 9% y-o-y, to 486,113. Of this, 265,119 units were passenger cars, with
exports for this segment down 10% y-o-y. Imports also fell 10.95% y-o-y, to 302,746 units, in 8M12.
Through its exports, the Turkish automotive industry is exposed to the wider European region and
economic problems. Coupled with slowing growth on the domestic market, this has curtailed the sector’s
previous rapid growth.
Turkey’s automotive production dropped 29% y-o-y in August 2012, according to the OSD. Around
37,500 units were produced in August, a 61.4% drop from July. This drop in production occurred across
all classes. Passenger car output fell 24% y-o-y, to 19,932 units; commercial vehicle production dropped
31%, to 16,880 units. Tractor production fell 66% to 693 units. For the first eight months of 2012
production is down 10%, to 725,951 units. Of particular concern is the news that the capacity utilisation
rate in Turkey’s auto industry has fallen to 27%.
On top of this malaise, the Turkish government has announced a surprise hike in the Special Consumption
Tax (SCT). The rise, which applies to cars, has provoked anger in the country’s auto industry. According
to Turkish Weekly, the head of the Turkish Automotive Distributors Association (ODD), Mustafa
Bayraktar, complained there was little point in members formulating strategies when tax policy was
subject to change dramatically with no warning. He added that what was already a difficult year for
Turkish auto distributors was set to worsen as a result of this policy. A survey of ODD members revealed
they expect sales to drop by up to 15% y-o-y in 2012.
In more positive news, in February French automaker Renault announced plans to invest EUR234mn
(US$307mn) in its production facilities in Turkey.