Turkish slump in motor vehicle sales deepens

Turkish sales of cars and light commercial vehicles slid an annual 59 percent in January, reflecting the depth of an economic downturn that began in the third quarter of last year.

Sales fell to 14,373 units from 35,076 units in January 2018, according to figures published by the Automotive Distributors Association (ODD) on Monday. The decline followed a decrease of 43 percent in December.

The sharp fall in vehicle sales comes despite government reductions in taxes that were designed to revive demand. The tax cuts, announced at the start of November and due to end at the end of last year, have been extended to March. Turkey’s economy shrank by 1.1 percent on a quarterly basis in the three months to September and data suggests that the slide in activity is turning into a prolonged recession.

Car sales decreased an annual 58.7 percent to 10,979 units in January, while sales of LCVs dropped 59.9 percent to 3,394 units. The decline compares with a decrease of 39 percent and 53.9 percent, respectively, in December.

Sales of cars and LCVs had fallen a combined 35.1 percent to 620,937 units in 2018 as a whole.

Industry executives, who are trying to fill capacity at factories by exporting more vehicles, have called on the government to keep its tax reductions in place throughout 2019 to help support struggling producers.

Manufacturers sold a record-breaking 1 million vehicles in 2015 and 2016, with the market contracting since.