15 Nisan 2011 Cuma

Turkish automotive sector enters new year in fast lane

The estimated 750,000 cars that were sold in Turkey in 2010 have given hope to the domestic automotive sector, car sellers in Istanbul tell the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review. Retailers say sales could have been higher with more stock, companies are eyeing even better sales this year
Automotive sales in the last month of 2010 skyrocketed, industry professionals say. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah Gürel

Automotive sales in the last month of 2010 skyrocketed, industry professionals say. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah Gürel
Turkish auto sales hit a record in 2010, according to initial figures that indicate that nearly 750,000 vehicles were sold last year due to increasing demand following the year’s first quarter.

Leading automotive companies even ordered cars from the European market to meet the extra-high demand in the domestic market, sales managers from various car firms told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review.

“Turkey had a great year back [after the recession] by reaching a record level of 750,000 auto sales in 2010,” Aykut Ceylan, general coordinator of Toyota Plaza Sonkar, told the Daily News in Istanbul’s Çobançeşme quarter, where numerous new and second-hand car sellers are clustered.

The exact figures on total domestic car sales were not officially released as of Tuesday, but sales managers from leading automotive firms said Turkey had broken a record with its 2010 auto sales. The previous record was reportedly 723,000 cars in 2005.

After hitting bottom in 2008 with 526,000 units sold due to the global recession, the sector has been able to prove its potential thanks to the government’s tax discounts for the automotive industry, Ceylan said.

The reduction in the Special Consumption Tax, or SCT, also affected car sales, İsmail Uygun, sales manager of Bağdatlar Automotive for Renault, told the Daily News.

“We generally place orders eight months before the new year for the Turkish market,” he said. “At the beginning of the year our expectation was lower than even the 2009 sales.”

The high sales numbers, however, caught many sales managers off guard, Ceylan said. “In our estimations, I could say, we were out in our calculations as the demand picked up rapidly.”

In order to meet the demand in the Turkish market, most automotive companies ordered extra stock from the European market, Ceylan said. “We expected total auto sales of 23,000 [for Toyota] at the start of last year and reached nearly 40,000 by the end of the year,” said Ceylan.

Noting that second-hand autos were in great demand, he said, “We doubled second-hand sales last year compared with the previous year.”

For 2011, Ceylan said Toyota expected 50,000 auto sales.

Sales over profits

Ceylan said Toyota had compromised on its profit in order to keep the demand high in the Turkish market.
“We have not reflected the peaking Japanese yen in our prices,” he said, adding that the dealers might increase prices as much as 5 percent this year.

A 2.5 percent increase in prices would take place in the first quarter, followed by a 2.5 percent in the last quarter, he said.

Nazmiye Kıral, sales manager of Alsa Automotive, another seller in Çobançeşme focusing on Temsa buses and Japanese Mitsubishi cars, said his company had witnessed a great boom in demand in 2010.

“This was unexpected by Temsa and Mitsubishi,” she told the Daily News. “We even had delays in deliveries due to peaking demand. In order to keep the demand high, we preferred to decrease profits.”
Temsa expects to sell nearly 20,000 vehicles by the end of this year, she said.

Total car sales in December were around 140,000, Uygun said, but added that numbers would have hit 170,000 if stock had been sufficient.

Ted Cannis, deputy general manager of Ford Otosan, told the Daily News he thought 2011 sales would match 2010 sales. “Despite the pessimistic expectations at the start of 2010, we enjoyed a successful year with total auto sales.”

Automotive sector targets $18 bln in exports

Turkey’s automotive sector is aiming to export $18 billion worth of cars this year, Orhan Sabuncu, chairman of Automotive Industry Exporter’s Union, OİB, told Anatolia news agency. The sector reached $17.3 billion in 2010, he said.

The automotive sector has been the leader of Turkey's export for the last four years, said Sabuncu.
Noting that the Turkish automotive sector exported goods to 170 countries in 2009, he said the number increased to 180 in 2010. “The sector’s target is to reach an export figure of $18 billion in this year.”

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