The new car will be produced after Turkey sees the market opportunities, says Technology Minister Faruk Ozlu
Turkey's first domestically produced car will be better quality and more affordable than other cars in the same class, Turkey’s science, industry and technology minister said on Wednesday.
Speaking about the project to make Turkey’s first home-grown car, Faruk Ozlu told Anadolu Agency how they would proceed.
"We’ll take a look at the world and see where the openings are, we’ll evaluate them. Turkey's car will be better quality and more affordable than other cars in the same class,” Ozlu said, adding that more than one model could be produced to target different markets.
Ozlu stated that a detailed financial and technical analysis will be done to give the project a solid basis and that they will get advice from top consultants.
Last week, the long-waited project for the country's first domestically produced car was introduced by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Erdogan announced that five automotive supplier firms -- Anadolu Group, BMC, Kiraca Holding, Turkcell, and Zorlu Holding -- will jointly manufacture Turkey's first car, adding that he expects the car’s prototype will be ready in 2019, with sales to follow in 2021.
1961 saw Turkey’s first efforts to produce its own car, called Devrim (Revolution), but it never made it past the prototype stage.
Joint venture group
Ozlu said: "Actually Turkey's car will be the world's car. We see this as a global project and aim for global success. I believe the firms will succeed.”
The car's fuel type will be determined by the joint venture group, he said.
Within 10 years internal combustion engines are expected to be withdrawn from the market so the world trend is for electric cars with low carbon emissions, high torque, driving power, and energy savings.
He added that as major carmakers in the U.S., China and Europe are turning to electric engines, Turkey won’t be left behind, but the joint venture group will decide on the engine.
"A locally made car is a strategic investment for us as well. This goes far beyond the car brand.
This project will be one of the catalysts of Turkey's technological transformation. We will see this as a strategic investment. Of course the investment will be much more than $100 million,” said Ozlu.
Ozlu added that the target markets might be North Africa and the Middle East.
According to the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodities Exchanges (TOBB), the five companies of the consortium have 110,000 employees, and the value of their production last year was nearly 65 billion Turkish liras ($21.5 billion).
Anadolu Group, which is nearly 70 years old, has operations in nine different sectors -- including automotive, retail trade, beverages production, and energy -- with more than 50,000 employees in 19 countries.
The group has 80 companies, including six listed on Turkey's Borsa Istanbul (BIST), along with over 60 production facilities.
BMC, one of Turkey's major commercial and defense vehicle producers, has nearly 1,300 employees in design, research and development, engineering, production, sales, and after-sales services.
According to the company, BMC has produced 300,000 vehicles over the past 50 years and done exports to over 80 countries -- mainly to EU member states.
Kiraca Holding's Karsan, one of Turkey's leading automotive manufacturers, has been producing commercial vehicles under its own brand as well as for global brands like Hyundai, Renault and Peugeot.
Karsan's production facility, which can manufacture nearly 20,000 vehicles in a single shift, is in the Bursa province, the site of most of the country's automotive industry.
The company's name became widely known after it entered the 2011 bid for New York’s Taxi of Tomorrow with its "Concept V1" platform.
Turkcell was established in 1994 as the country's first mobile operator.
The company gives services in voice, data, TV, and value-added consumer and enterprise services on mobile and fixed networks not only in Turkey but also in several other countries.
According to the company, Turkcell Group's nine-month revenues totaled nearly 13 billion Turkish liras ($3.6 billion), up some 26.6 percent year-on-year, while its annual revenue last year was 14.3 billion Turkish liras ($4.75 billion).
The company's shares are listed on both Turkey's Borsa Istanbul (BIST) and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). As of November, Turkcell Turkey's market capitalization is around $8.2 billion.
Zorlu Holding, another prominent Turkish industrial group, has hands in several fields -- including textiles, consumer electronics, energy, property, mining and metallurgy -- with more than 60 companies.
The group's total assets last year amounted to $10.6 billion.
Zorlu’s electronics/appliances manufacturer Vestel has one of Europe's largest manufacturing facilities, and can make more than 75,000 products a day.