Inan Ekici, President of Tokkder in Turkey: “High time for industry improvement”
Inan Ekici is the COO of Otokoç Otomotiv, the biggest retailer of the Turkish automotive industry and the franchise of Avis & Budget and ZipCar in Turkey and in 8 other countries. He took on the two-year presidency of the Turkish Auto Leasing and Rental Companies Association TOKKDER in March of this year. He explains the current state of the Turkish auto leasing and car rental sectors, which are facing the same sort of evolution as the rest of Europe.
“It’s an honour to be the president of TOKKDER,” says Inan Ekici. “Firstly, it’s important to increase our membership to cover all of the companies in our sector and not only the largest leasing and rental companies. TOKKDER has to be the association of all main and big lease and rental companies. This should strengthen its representation power in front of stakeholders like government institutions, banks, automotive distributors and dealers, insurance companies, tyre suppliers, assistance and fuel companies.
Secondly, we want to work closely with the government bodies so that our sector can continue to move forwards without too many obstacles. For example, it is not allowed to operate commercial vehicles under operational leasing in Turkey, which is making the fleet older. The leasing sector can only grow through cars. We are working on legislative amendments to change this. The other hot topic is of course mobility in general, and TOKKDER wishes to play a key part in this. Mega-urbanisation, heavy traffic jams, increasing travel needs are now pushing the operational leasing companies to act as the mobility partner of their customers. I want efficient mobility to move up our members’ agendas.”
How many leasing and rental companies are there in Turkey to add to your membership, and how much penetration do you have on the fleet market?
“There are probably 4,000 or more – an accurate figure is impossible – but some of them may only have a handful of vehicles. I want to concentrate on the top 250-300 companies.
In operational leasing and car rental together, TOKKDER represents about 82% of the market. In operational leasing alone, we covered around 360,000 vehicles at the end of last year.”
What are the topics you need to work on with your members to improve professionalism in the sector?
“I believe that the services offered by operational leasing and car rental actors in Turkey are perfectly meeting customer expectations. However, statistical data and reports to help our industry improve its services are missing. That’s why two new research projects are on the way at TOKKDER: a used car sales price index and quantitative market research on the car-rental sector.”
Moving back to mobility, will TOKKDER start to take in players in this domain such as car-sharing operators?
“Some of our members, such as ZipCar and YoYo, already have car-sharing offerings. This type of service needs time to mature in Turkey, but is growing at over 50% per year.”
You mentioned dealings with the government – do you believe the government should give more of a push to alternative powertrains, alternative mobility…?
“According to the reports of Automotive Distributors Association (ODD), 4.507 units of hybrid and 76 units of electric cars were sold in Turkey in 2017. We can argue that the demand in Turkey for high-tech hybrid and electric cars is still very limited considering that total new passenger car sales which is about 723,000 units in 2017. Again, demand for hybrid and electric cars in operational leasing and car rental sectors is very limited. This will of course change over time as sustainability is becoming an issue in Turkey as well. The government needs to make the necessary legal arrangements to promote high technology electric vehicles for the sake of environment and sustainability.”
What about the infrastructure for EV charging and so on?
“There are around 200 charging points, but almost all in Istanbul. This obviously isn’t enough. Turkey is planning to build EVs as a domestic brand in 2021. This should give a boost to infrastructure.”
How do you see the leasing industry in 2018?
“The performance of operational leasing sector in the past 8 years was impressive with an average 15% annual growth rate. However, 2017 was a pretty difficult year. The depreciation of Turkish Lira against Euro and USD throughout the year and its reflection on increased new vehicle prices, diminishing credit appetite by the banks, rising inflation rate, continuing geopolitical risks in the region were the main factors creating the difficulties. 2018 will probably be a tough year as well. However, I am optimistic about the second semester of the year.”
Car prices are very high – what about fuel?
“The price of a litre of diesel equates to around €1.40, which is in line with much of Europe. The problem is purchasing power, which is lower here and makes fuel seem more expensive.”
Has private lease entered Turkey?
“This has already started with some individuals preferring operational leasing. I see it growing further, as there is demand, but this will take time.”
What is your top tip for a fleet manager from Europe who is given responsibility for Turkey?
“I would say look at who you work with – make sure your partner can support your fleet and your ambitions with the right information and advice, and with driver behaviour monitoring.”
Image: Inan Ekici