Data released by the Turkish Industrial Development Bank (TSKB) shows that the depressed Turkish car market is at last picking up from its depleted base. In the first half of 2003, passenger car sales totalled 63,751 units – some 124% ahead of the same period a year earlier.

The Turkish car market plummeted to just 90,615 units in 2002 in the face of the country’s acute political and economic crisis. In 2000, the Turkish car market hit 466,726 units. Local analysts now forecast that the Turkish car market this year could reach 150,000 units as the economy continues its gradual recovery and consumer confidence returns.

Wholesale figures of domestic car sales by domestic maker show that the leading domestic market maker is Renault with a share of the domestic wholesale market (which totalled 39,092 units in the first half) of 67%.

The TSKB data also confirms Turkey’s continued growth as a manufacturing base in recent years in spite of falling domestic sales. Car production in the first half reached 128,301 units, 32.7% ahead of the same period of 2002. Passenger car exports – many of which are destined for Western Europe – underpinned the growth of car production. Car exports increased by 23% to 97,772 units in the first half. Toyota‘s car exports increased by 175% in the first half to 30,740 units.

Light commercial vehicle (LCV) exports increased by 90% to 63,390 units in the first half of 2003. Ford’s LCV exports jumped by 469% in the period to 36,629 units.