25 fév 15

Turkay Oktay (TOKKDER) goes for growth, new target groups and stronger lobby

At the forefront of promoting best practice in the Turkish vehicle rental and leasing business is TOKKDER. Turkay Oktay, the association's newly elected president, shares his plans for the future.

Turkay Oktay is a happy man. The Managing Director of LeasePlan Turkey has just been elected the new president of TOKKDER. With 110 members and covering 70% of the marketplace, TOKKDER has established itself as the voice of the car rental and leasing industry in Turkey.

The association pulls together stakeholders, initiates cutting edge research and pushes out expert advice with the goal of helping its members provide better services for customers.  

Taking on the presidency is a big responsibility and it's a fact that's not lost on Turkay Oktay. The Turkish fleet industry is still quite young he says, but it has achieved high growth since 2003 and when the arrival of the international players around 2006 - 2007.

"Increasing the presence of our association is the key to becoming more powerful. By doing this we will generate more income to do more research," he adds. Turkay Oktay believes education is key to rising awareness and creating the climate for growth in operational leasing.

So what are the big challenges? Alongside boosting TOKKDER's membership and building influence, it's about up-skilling in issues like risk management, establishing common standards and consistent service levels he says. “It is really our goal to further professionalize our members and our clients in order to steer our industry forward and be able to create bigger and better awareness about TOKKDER and its members in general and the rental and leasing activity in particular.” And then there is lobbying regulators to open up the operational leasing market.  

Still 90% to convince
TOKKDER has established five board committees to do this and more. Turkay Oktay is eager to get going and talks about a buoyant market with leasing on an upward swing. Growth of 14.3% in 2014 came on the back growth around and above 20% each year between 2011 - 2013. 

Although data on vehicle numbers is sketchy, out of a total vehicle park of 18 million vehicles around 2 million are commercial vehicles. Of these, just 230,000 - representing a mere 10% of the market - are on operational leasing contracts. That means there's 90% of the corporate car market to convince.

For this year Turkay Oktay expects a same growth as last year. For the moment the economy is a bit down, so investments are impacted, but this can and will change, he says. Another issue may be the elections in Turkey in the summer. Election period is always tricky in a sense that people and corporate clients get more prudent and prefer to wait with important decisions until they know exactly what governance and policy will be in place.

Nevertheless there is big growth potential. Turkish business prefer outright purchase and it's a cultural mindset that's proving difficult to change says Turkay Oktay. International players are receptive, but at the other end of the scale many Turkish SME's don't even know about the advantages of leasing. The same counts for corporate clients based outside of the big cities as Istanbul and Ankara. And once they do know car leasing, very often the financing packages are in EUROs - a legacy of historically high inflation in Turkey - which adds bigger risks for SME's to manage. "It's not easy to change minds at the moment," he says. With research and upping the knowledge base of the market he reckons success will come in time.  

Legislation and LCVs
Another barrier that TOKKDER has set it sights on is legislation preventing the leasing of light commercial vehicles. For the moment it is not allowed to lease an LCV in Turkey.

Having commissioned an independent study and met with the legislators, Turkay Oktay is pushing hard for change. He says "TOKKDER is gathering other associations - from manufacturers to dealer networks - to ramp up the pressure on legislators to engage in a conversation and make change happen". When will come? Turkay Oktay is not to be drawn on dates, but he's clearly got a battle plan.

Challenges aside, operational leasing has a bright future in Turkey. It offers financial, commercial and operational returns says Turkay Oktay. It's now TOKKDER's job - under his leadership - to convince the masses to move from vehicle purchasing to into operational leasing.  On recent performance, the future of operational leasing is bright.

Authored by: Steven Schoefs