Turkish car sales at new peak despite high borrowing costs, polls | Daily Sabah – Daily Sabah

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Car sales in Türkiye reached a new peak in March, according to industry data Tuesday that showed demand remaining robust despite soaring borrowing costs and municipal elections.

A record 109,828 passenger cars and light commercial vehicles exchanged hands last month, a 5.7% increase from a year ago, the Automotive Distributors and Mobility Association (ODMD) said.

Passenger car sales increased by 9.9% year-over-year, reaching 87,071 units, while the market for light commercial vehicles fell by 7.9%, amounting to 22,757 units, the data showed.

In the January-March period, overall sales climbed 25.2% compared to the first quarter of last year to 295,519 units, the ODMD said.

Passenger car sales soared by 33.05% compared to the previous year, reaching 233,389 units, while the light commercial vehicle market witnessed a 2.6% increase, reaching 62,130 units.

Over the past years, buyers have seen automobiles as an investment tool to safeguard themselves from soaring inflation, which rose to 67% in February and is anticipated to have approached 70% in March, according to surveys.

Demand remains resilient despite a sharp rise in the costs of vehicle loans after aggressive monetary tightening since last year’s presidential and parliamentary elections. The country’s central bank has delivered a cumulative 4,150 basis points of interest-rate hikes.

The government said it would continue its belt-tightening program, which aims to curb inflation, despite the outcome of Sunday’s local elections.

This cycle has lifted borrowing costs to 50% and sought to cool demand, the main driver of inflation, which is expected to lead to a slowdown in economic growth.

The ODMD said the automotive market’s March sales figures increased by 51% compared to the ten-year average.

The passenger car sales jumped 54.6% compared to the ten-year average, while the light commercial vehicle market registered a rise of 38.2%, according to the data.

Overall sales achieved a historic milestone and surpassed 1.2 million units in 2023. It marked a 57.4% year-over-year increase. The earlier annual all-time high stood at 984,000 units in 2016.

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