Turkey earthquake: Automotive industry untouched for now image

On Sunday, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit eastern Turkey killing at least 100 people and sparking widespread panic as it collapsed dozens of buildings.

The worst-affected areas appeared to be around Ercis, a town of about 75,000 people where up to 80 buildings collapsed, including a student dormitory.

U.S. scientists recorded eight aftershocks within three hours of the quake, including two with a magnitude of 5.6.

Serious damage and casualties were also reported in the district of Celebibag, near Ercis.

Ercis, the most affected town is part of the Van Province in eastern Turkey, between Lake Van and the Iranian border. That’s on the opposite part to Marmara Region, where most of the automotive industry is located.

But even if the earthquake didn’t effected most of the automakers, it may have a little impact on Turkey’s automotive sales, which already are in decline. According to the Automotive Distributors’ Association, Turkey’s domestic auto sales (passenger car and light commercial vehicle sales) declined 6 percent y/y to 59,990 in September 2011.

Turkey has a large and growing automotive industry, which produced 1,147,110 motor vehicles in 2008 ranking as the sixth largest producer in Europe (behind the United Kingdom and above Italy). There are currently 15 passenger and commercial vehicle manufacturers in the country, in addition to seven tractor manufacturers.

The four main producers are Ford Otosan (US; mainly Transit commercial vehicles); Oyak-Renault (France; passenger cars only); Tofas, a joint-venture between Fiat (Italy) and the Koc Holding conglomerate (mainly LCVs and also passenger cars); and Toyota (Japan; passenger cars). The four main manufacturers accounted for approximately 88 percent of all vehicles manufactured in Turkey in 2009.

Exports of components and parts, about 70 percent of which go to Europe, doubled in value between 2005 and 2008, reaching USD 7.3-billion, or 33 percent of the total automotive exports.