Turkey, the talk of the town
The arrival of spring has not just signaled the start of sunnier weather. The economic climate is warming up too.
Last month saw sales rise once again. That's 18 months of back to back growth. In my book we've passed another important milestone on the road to recovery. Rising European sales are not the only reason why automakers are starting to smile. Fleet Europe's 2015 OEM fleet strategy survey signposted the Turkish market as another reason for excutives’ growing excitement.
Ever since swallowing the pills that the International Monetary Fund prescribed back in 2001, the Turks have been building a new base for their economy. It's been tough, but the hard work seems to pay off. Transportation along with the banking, electronics and communication sectors have thrived with reforms. And with the Turkish economy growing at the pace over the long term, two things are happening that are good for those of us involved in the auto business.
Firstly, an emerging and growing middle-class have their eyes fixed on car ownership. Secondly, a legion of domestic enterprises and international corporations are eager to take advantage of new market opportunities.
Not from scratch
Yes, there are macro-economic challenges. Economic uncertainty, currency volatility and corporate financing, as well as high car and fuel taxation are big issues. But let's not dismiss the opportunities that exist because of the challenges.
There are around 18.5 million vehicles registered in Turkey, but less than a quarter of a million of these are under operational leasing. That’s a really low rate when compared to Western Europe. So, if the right market conditions are created there are great opportunities for growth.
We are not starting from scratch. Fleet clients and suppliers have been studying Turkey for some time to see how they can streamline fleet activities and enhance procurement strategy in line with international policy. They've identified barriers like a preference for purchasing and skepticism about outsourcing, lack of awareness about big ticket issues like sustainability, emissions and driver behaviour, as well as legislative blocks preventing leasing over 48 months and an outright ban on LCV leasing.
But can you show me a market that doesn't have its challenges? The international leasing companies and OEMs are present and are working their way through the barriers. So, if a centralised approached to fleet management is what you want then it's possible in Turkey.
The Turks are looking to the future too. The industry is up-skilling itself and seeking external expertise to boost market maturity. TODDKER, the association representing the Turkish vehicle rental and leasing business, certainly has the bit between its teeth. It's pulling together the fleet community to lobby legislators and create favorable conditions for future growth, as well as educate the market on best practices. This is a great thing to do.
The industry is working together to create the frameworks for success. A corporate fleet manager taking a partnership approach with preferred suppliers, and a strong body of industry interests working in harmony with one another to lobby legislators is the way ahead.
These issues and more will be on the table during the first ever regional Global Fleet Summit on 2nd and 3rd June.
Come along and contribute to a discussion on what you can do for Turkey, as well as learn what Turkey can do for you. There's a lot to learn and go after.