Mercedes-Benz Turk AS, the Turkish unit of Daimler AG (DAI), expects “stronger” car and van sales this year in a market that is forecast to be stagnant, according to Wolf-Dieter Kurz, the unit’s chief executive.
Mercedes-Benz Turk, which makes buses and trucks at two plants in Turkey and sells imported Daimler cars and vans, plans to invest about 40 million euros ($53 million) at its factories in Istanbul and Aksaray this year, about the same as last year, Kurz said at a news conference in Istanbul today. Mercedes-Benz sold a record 39,852 new vehicles in Turkey in 2012, including 12,730 cars, up from 38,291 a year earlier, he said.
“We will introduce new sedan and commercial models in Turkey this year and therefore we expect a stronger market for us,” Kurz said. Exports from Turkey, where more than two-thirds of motor vehicles produced are sold abroad, will have a “more challenging year” because of the debt crisis in Europe.
Turkey, a hub for manufacturers including Fiat SpA (F), Ford Motor Co. (F) and Toyota Motor Corp. (7203), produced 1.07 million vehicles last year, 10 percent less than a year earlier, according to the country’s Automotive Manufacturers’ Association. Output fell because of declining demand in Europe and a tax increase on some cars, according to the group.
Daimler, based in Stuttgart, Germany, doesn’t plan to make cars and vans in Turkey, Kurz said. Car and van sales declined 10 percent in the country last year, Mustafa Bayraktar, head of Turkey’s Association of Automotive Distributors, said on Jan. 7.
Mercedes-Benz aims to increase its market shares in the bus and truck market in Turkey, from 65 percent and 45 percent, respectively, Kurz said.