Turkey recently announced the decision to increase tariffs on Chinese vehicle imports. The new tariff will be applied as either a 40% surcharge or a minimum of $7,000 per vehicle, whichever is higher, and will be officially adopted from 7 July, Kallanish learns. 

According to the Turkish commerce ministry, the move will help increase the market share of domestic vehicle production and reduce account deficit. “We are obliged to ensure consumer safety, protect public health, protect domestic production, encourage domestic investment and reduce current account deficits,” it said.

Commenting on the announcement, China Passenger Car Association’s secretary general Dongshu Cui noted that because the Turkish auto industry is underdeveloped, the market share of local brand vehicles is small and prices are high. “Despite the previous increase of tariffs [in 2023], Chinese automakers’ performance in Turkey is still excellent. This additional increase, will have a certain impact on Chinese automakers. The cost pressure will increase and the growth rate will slow down. But Chinese enterprises should be able to overcome the challenge,” he adds.

In the Turkish car market, Chinese big names include Chery, MG, BYD, Hongqi and Dongfeng. However, last year, the top three carmakers in the country were Fiat, Renault, and Volkswagen. 

Ankara has signed a tariff alliance agreement with the EU, which has just announced plans to apply tariffs of up to 38.1% on China-made electric cars. Some believe that Chinese automakers can utilise Turkey as a transit to enter EU countries. 

However, Cui argues that Turkey is part of Eurasia. “It is more troublesome to transfer from Turkey to Europe. It has little significance. Chinese brands are mainly sold to Western Europe and have less sales in Southern Europe and Eastern Europe.”

The EV market in Turkey seems promising. In the first quarter of 2024, EV sales surged by 276% to 14,158 units. Research firm BMI predicts that by 2032, the share of EVs in Turkey’s domestic car sales will reach 30.4%. In 2023, the penetration rate was about 10%.