Turkey unveiled the prototype of its first indigenous electric car on Dec. 27.
Speaking at the unveiling ceremony of the automobile in the industrial province of Kocaeli’s Gebze district, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said: “Today, we are witnessing a historic day of realizing Turkey’s 60-year dream together.”
Stating that over 100 Turkish engineers worked to realize the project, he said: “We don’t buy a license or permission from anyone, we determine all the technical features by ourselves.”
Erdoğan placed an advance order for the car and later drove the prototype over a suspension bridge at the ceremony in Gebze.
The project to produce a fully home-grown car has been a longtime goal of Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) as a demonstration of the major emerging market’s economic power.
Turkey is already a big exporter to Europe of cars made domestically by firms such as Ford, Fiat Chrysler, Renault, Toyota and Hyundai.
The new project, launched in October, will receive state support such as tax breaks, and establish a production facility in the automotive hub of Bursa in northwest Turkey.
The 22 billion Turkish Liras (approximately $3.7 billion) investment will enable the production of five models and a total output of 175,000 vehicles a year.
The consortium, called Turkey’s Automobile Initiative Group (TOGG), was established in mid 2018 by five industrial groups: Anadolu Group, BMC, Kök Group, mobile phone operator Turkcell and Zorlu Holding, the parent of TV maker Vestel.
The group has been giving visual hints about the vehicle on its Twitter page for the past few days. The car was designed by Italy’s Pininfarina SpA.
The beginning of mass production is scheduled for 2022, with the ambition that exports would start two years after that.
In October, Volkswagen said it postponed a final decision on whether to build a car plant in Turkey amid international criticism of an October Turkish military operation in Syria.