ISTANBUL -- Turkey is planning its own automobile brand, to secure a 20 percent market share in the country, or 200,000 vehicles initially, Industry Minister Nihat Ergun said.
About one-third of cars sold in Turkey are made in the country by international manufacturers, Ergun said in a news conference in Istanbul on Wednesday, adding that 600,000 cars will probably be sold in the country this year.
Turkey, which has no automotive brands of its own, has become a production hub for Ford Motor Co., Hyundai Motor Co., Toyota Motor Corp. and Renault SA and Fiat S.p.A., whose Turkish unit, Turk Otomobil Fabrikasi AS (Tofas), produces the Doblo minivan in the country.
The Istanbul-based Automotive Manufacturers Association, or OSD, will submit a report to the government this month on local-brand car production, Ergun added.
Production rose 26% in 2010
Production inside Turkey rose 26 percent last year to 1.1 million vehicles, making the country the top producer in eastern Europe outside Russia, according to the Automotive Distributors' Association.
Car sales in Turkey will reach 1 million a year "in a few years and the new Turkish brand can have 20 percent share from the national sales," Ergun said. "Already there are businessmen who are very much interested in the manufacturing of such cars." The brand may find a market abroad later, Ergun said.
A local brand must sell at least 400,000 to 500,000 cars to justify the investment, Ali Pandir, CEO of Tofas, said.