Turkish automakers set to resume production

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Most of the Turkish automotive companies are planning to reopen manufacturing plants next week after nearly a one-month-long suspension due to measures to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Commercial vehicle producer Anadolu Isuzu, a joint venture between Turkish conglomerate Anadolu Holding, Isuzu Motors and Itochu Corporation, resumed production at its factory in the northwestern industrial province Kocaeli’s Gebze district on April 13. It had halted production on March 30.

Türk Traktör, an agricultural machinery manufacturer held by the partnership of Koç Holding and CNH Industrial, is planning to reopen its plants on April 20, on the same day with other automotive firms Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai Assan, Otokar and Karsan.

“By taking all the necessary precautions and following the developments closely, we will resume our activities at our Hoşdere Bus Factory on April 20 and Aksaray Truck Factory on April 24,” Mercedes-Benz said in a statement on April 16.

The company had suspended production in its bus factory on March 23, and in its truck factory on March 28 until April 20 to observe health situation of its employees and the society, as well as logistic disruptions in the international supply chain.

“Vehicles manufactured in our factories are being used in delivering convenience goods and providing necessary services to the public,” said the company, pledging to follow updates from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Turkish Health Ministry strictly.

Ankara-based truck manufacturer Man Türkiye’s reopening is slated for April 22.

Ford Otosan, one of the biggest Turkish automotive companies owned by Koç Holding and the Ford Group, is planning to resume production on April 27.

Toyota Turkey and Tofaş, a joint venture of Turkey’s Koç Holding and Italy’s Fiat Chrysler, have fixed the date of reopening as May 4, whereas Oyak Renault has not set a date yet.

The country’s automobile exports also eased off last month.

Turkey exported 57,326 passenger cars in March, slipping 30 percent from the same month last year, Turkey’s Automotive Manufacturers Association (OSD) data revealed.

In the meantime, Turkey’s automobile market saw 3.3 percent rise in car sales to 39,887, according to the Automotive Distributors’ Association (ODD) data.

Europe car sales tank 55 pct in March

The EU’s passenger car market recorded a dramatic annual drop in registrations of new vehicles in March due to coronavirus outbreak, an industry group reported on April 17.

Automobile registrations across the 27-member bloc decreased by 55 percent year-on-year to 567,308 units last month, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) said.

The report underlined that the fall in demand stemmed from closure of majority of European dealerships with containment and lockdown measures taking hold in most markets.

The demand collapsed in all EU markets while Italy took the biggest hit, with registrations falling by 85.4 percent to 28,326 new cars.

France and Spain posted drop of 72.2 percent and 69.3 percent, respectively in the same period.
Last month, Germany recorded a less extreme decrease than the other key markets, with registrations falling by 37.7 percent.

The EU is the main automotive export market for Turkey, where top international automakers – Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Mercedes, Renault and Toyota, among others – are operating.

Fiat Chrysler sales dropped by 77 percent while PSA group dropped 68 percent and Renault by 64 percent. Germany’s Volkswagen resisted somewhat better, with a 46 percent hit, which nonetheless saw its market share grow by nearly 5 percent to 29 percent.

In January-March, demand for new cars in the EU declined by 25.6 percent, with the impact of the coronavirus crisis on last month figures weighing heavily on the total.

Hurriyet Daily News

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