Turkish car production surges on exports as COVID-19 measures tightened

Turkish car production jumped by 690 percent in April from a year earlier, led by exports, even after the government re-introduced lockdown measures to stem the spread of COVID-19.

Manufacturing output rose to 76,334 units last month from 9,661 units a year ago, when a first wave of the pandemic pummelled economic activity, the Automotive Manufacturers Association (OSD) said in a report at the weekend. Production grew by an annual 17.7 percent to 288,211 units in the first four months of the year.

Exports of cars surged by an annual 507 percent to 56,599 units last month. They climbed by 5.5 percent to 212,056 units in the first four months of 2021. Export sales fell 0.7 percent in April compared with March.

Turkey’s government is looking to the car industry, the country’s biggest exporter, to help spur economic growth during a second wave of the virus. An uptick in infections prompted the authorities to shutter most non-essential businesses late last month. Manufacturers were exempt from the measures.

The domestic market for passenger cars expanded by 122 percent to 48,375 units in April compared with a year earlier. But the market shrunk by 36 percent compared with March, reflecting the impact of the lockdown measures.

Imports of cars in April rose by an annual 74.8 percent to 28,741 units. They increased by 58.5 percent to 125,105 units in the first four months of the year.