Nov 04 2017

40 million euros wasted on Turkish domestic car project

ISTANBUL - Plans to produce a Turkish-designed and built car often come to the fore during times of political instability, elections and rumours of economic crisis.

President Tayyip Erdoğan said the prototype of the new domestic car would be ready by 2019 and production would start in 2021. The news made the headlines of almost every pro-government newspaper; all emphasising the point that “five brave fellows” – five Turkish companies – had volunteered to produce the vehicle.

But there is not a really clear initiative. Also, the “five brave fellows” - Anatolian Group, BMC, Kıraça Holding Company, Turkcell and Zorlu Holding Company - have not yet set up a company. These five partners are going to establish a company at the beginning of 2018, produce prototypes in 2019 and the first car in 2021, pro-government media said.

Six years go, Erdoğan also called for the production of a domestic car and vehicles were imported – painted in camouflage – from the Swedish former car-maker Saab to serve as models on which to base Turkish production.

Forty million euros was spent on the initiative, but it soon became clear there was no chance it would get off the ground. While Erdoğan insisted the project was viable, by saying “don’t use it if you don’t want to”, he gave the green light for it to be abandoned.

Now the “five brave fellows” have stepped up to the challenge. The name of the new project has become “Turkey’s Car”, instead of the domestic car. Rather than being a 100% locally designed and produced vehicle, the new model will rely on the import of technology.

Erdoğan repeats his calls for a Turkish car every couple of years. But there is a question over whether the new initiative is a provision for general, presidential and local elections in 2019, and will then go the way of previous projects.

 

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