Ambitions High as Türkiye’s 1st Car Brand Said to Feature Competitive Price Tag

Türkiye’s first domestically produced electric vehicle brand will have a competitive price tag compared to its peers and even cars with combustion engines once it hits the roads in the first months of 2023, its CEO said. Togg began mass production and sales of its first model, the C-segment SUV, are set to begin at the end of the first quarter of the year. It will be the first electric sport utility vehicle produced in continental Europe by a nontraditional manufacturer. It puts Türkiye and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan closer to fulfilling a long-held dream of building the country’s first national automobile.

Dubbing it a smart device that features advanced technology, CEO Gürcan Karakaş said the price of the first model would be announced in February. “Togg will have a price that will compete with vehicles in its class, including internal combustion engines. All pre-orders will start to be taken as of February 2023,” Karakaş told a group of reporters at Togg’s factory in the northwestern province of Bursa. “Togg smart device will hit the roads as of the end of March,” he added. The vehicle is being produced by a consortium of five Turkish companies called the Automobile Initiative Group of Türkiye, or Togg, in cooperation with the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Türkiye (TOBB).

Karakaş said Togg is  project that features a 3.5-billion-euro ($3.6 billion) investment that will be spread over 15 years. Around 1.8 billion euros of this will have been spent by the end of 2023, he added. “This resource includes investments for the development of smart devices, campuses and technology.” Besides the SUV, Togg will manufacture another four models – a sedan, C-hatchback, B-SUV and B-MPV – through 2030. Mass production of the SUV will be followed by the sedan. The brand aims to produce 1 million vehicles across the five segments by 2030.

Some 30,000 units will be sold for public services through 2035, Karakaş said. The current production capacity stands at around 100,000 vehicles per year, a figure that Karakaş says is expected to reach 175,000 once the Togg’s factory reaches its full capacity. The peak output will also see employment at the plant more than triple to 4,300, up from the current figure of 1,400, the CEO said. The 90% automized facility set up on a 1.2 million square meter area in Bursa’s Gemlik district will reach a capacity of manufacturing one vehicle every three minutes, he noted. Togg’s SUV is built from 51% locally made parts, Karakaş noted, saying 75% of suppliers are based in Türkiye. He cited an aim to lift the rate of parts made within the country to 68% in the three years.

Orders placed by individuals will be prioritized in 2023, throughout which Karkaş says Togg aims to manufacture and deliver around 20,000 vehicles. “Orders will be received with individual users as a priority and will be delivered throughout 2023. The first smart device will be launched to the traffic at the end of March.” The joint venture plans to export the EVs to Europe and then the rest of the world after up to 18 months of only domestic sales, Karakaş said.Vehicles that have been rolled out are being sent to accreditation test centers abroad for certification and homologation procedures, the CEO noted.

“The devices are subjected to 92 different tests, 16 of which are new regulations. The number of devices sent for the tests will reach 165 by the end of December,” he said. “They will complete their tests and receive type approvals. After receiving the type approvals, mass production for the users will begin with orders.” The car was designed by Italy’s Pininfarina design company, which has produced models for Ferrari and California-based electric carmaker Karma. The consortium inked a deal with Farasis, one of the world’s most prominent companies, to build a lithium-ion battery factory near Togg’s production site in Bursa.

Togg has already launched efforts to set up a charging station network across Türkiye under a brand named Trugo. Over 1,000 stations that will feature charging capacities of between 180 kilowatts (kW) and 300 kW are aimed to be established at over 600 spots in 81 provinces. Karakaş said the first stations were set up at a stopover along the highway between Istanbul and Ankara. Stressing the company’s focus on innovative technologies, Karakaş said the company has held talks with over 300 startups engaged in everything from blockchain and digital payments to mapping to date and already works with 19 ventures. Togg set out with a plan in which smart device revenues and other revenues are balanced, the CEO said. “It will receive revenue from both the sale of devices and the use of its mobile services. At the same time, since it can control battery and software costs, this will also contribute toits profitability.”