Turkish automotive sales are set to more than double to 750,000 in 2004, boosted by attractive consumer credit terms and a surge in demand, Ford’s Turkish arm Otosan reportedly said on Wednesday.

Reuters noted that sector officials had previously forecast sales volume of 700,000 this year compared to 366,927 units in 2003 -sales last year leapt 132.8% as the automotive industry rebounded from a slump triggered by a 2001 financial crisis.

Ford Otosan general manager Turgay Durak told the news agency the domestic market would contract in the third quarter because of a weaker lira, a rise in consumer credit rates and a reduction in tax incentives on scrap vehicle sales.

“These developments have resulted in a decline in the vitality of demand … we forecast that (the market) will grow again in the fourth quarter and end the year with sales of some 750,000 units,” Durak reportedly told a news conference.

According to the Automotive Industry Association (OSD), total vehicle sales surged 217% to 381,305 units in the first half of the year, Reuters noted, but vehicle sales in June fell 25% month-on-month and car sales dropped 30% as a result of a government decision to halve the tax incentive on scrap vehicles.

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Major domestic vehicle producer Otosan is a joint venture between Ford and Turkish industrial conglomerate Koc Holding, the report said.

Otosan has said it targets domestic sales of 130,000 units this year and turnover of €3 billion ($US3.6 billion), Reuters added.