TOGG: The Turkish national car dream realized

(Photo: TOGG)
After 59 years of Turkey’s failure to present itself as a car manufacturer, when the “DEVRIM” Turkish car project stopped 1961 before completing its testing phase, the leading Middle Eastern country in car assembly made a spectacular comeback last year. To announce the rebirth of the idea of a fully homemade Turkish car, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan adopted the project from its beginnings. He directed the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) to translate the idea into reality, and the result was the birth of the Turkish car manufacturer TOGG. The declared goal was to produce electric cars with self-driving technology and launch them before the centenary of the Turkish Republic in 2023.اضافة اعلان

Although Turkey is no stranger to making cars, according to the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers, the country ranks 14th among car making countries in the world, and is considered a magnet for the global car industry. Turkey’s current production is not “homegrown” but rather, the country is used as a production hub by international car makers for their own designed models. Some major examples are FCA, Toyota, Ford, and Renault.

The Turkish car dream went through several stages, including the signing of a cooperation protocol to form a joint group for the local car production initiative, on November 2, 2017. With the participation of companies like Anadolu Group, BMC, Kok Holding, Tukrcell Group, Zorlu Holding, and the TOBB, the Automobile Joint Venture Group, or TOGG, was founded. The goal was set: Creating a car brand that could compete on the world stage, and on September 1 of the same year, Mehmet Gürcan Karakaş was appointed as the CEO of the new company. The wheels of the project starting moving, and the creation of the cars started, with the groundbreaking of the plant in Jemlik, near the city of Bursa.

This ambitious project, which was implemented in a strategic and well-planned manner, could contribute to the country’s economy by 50 billion euros within 15 years, according to a company statement. The project could reduce the current account deficit by 7 billion euros, in addition to providing 4,000 job opportunities directly, and 20,000 others indirectly.

The project is currently turning from vision into reality. TOGG’s sleek looking first concept models, designed by the Italian design house Pininfarina, were introduced to the world in December 2019, when President Erdogan took to the wheel of the first prototype and drove it in front of the world media.

TOGG’s vision is to produce an electric car to be market ready in mid-2022. The Turkish start-up aims high and is set to compete with legacy car makers and new EV start-ups alike. The ambitious TOGG project includes an EV ecosystem that includes charging networks, delivery tools, and supporting feeding industries in the automotive sector that include lithium battery modules and packs, other EV components manufacturing, and autonomous driving technologies. According to an official company press release, “the group includes companies that can cooperate to bring about a breakthrough in the automotive technology sector in Turkey.”

The company says that the product development will focus on the car segment that will achieve growth, namely the electric SUV and the medium compact family car categories, to meet the needs of the Turkish market. The plan then will shift to five other models, and after two more years it will expand to foreign markets and focus on export, primarily to neighboring European and Middle Eastern countries.

Will the Turkish ambitious automotive project achieve more than patriotic aspirations and make a mark on the world automotive market? It remains to be seen.

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