Aysel YÜCEL / HANNOVER
Tuncay Özilhan, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Anadolu Group, one of the partners of Turkey’s Automobile Enterprise Group (Togg), explained that Togg’s sales method and service will be different from traditional methods, and emphasized that the vehicle will come out at a price that Turkish citizens can reach. I had the opportunity to meet with Anadolu Group Chairman Tuncay Özilhan and Anadolu Isuzu General Manager Tuğrul Arıkan at IAA Transportation, one of the world’s largest commercial vehicle fairs, where Turkish brands made their mark with their electric vehicles last week. Answering the questions of WORLD, Tuncay Özilhan made important statements regarding Turkey’s Automobile Togg, which he is a partner in, as well as the growth targets in the automotive sector as a group. Tuğrul Arıkan also gave important clues about Anadolu Isuzu’s new surprise projects. Although it wasn’t my first question to Tuncay Özilhan, I wanted to start with Togg as it is one of the most curious subjects. I asked Özilhan questions about the stage of the project, how Togg will be sold, after-sales services, and of course, the price of Togg, which is one of the most curious things.
Anadolu Group Chairman Tuncay Özilhan (right) and Anadolu Isuzu
General Manager Tuğrul Arıkan spoke to WORLD at Hannover IAA Transportation. Tuncay Özilhan emphasized that everything about the project was going well and said, “The construction of the factory has been completed, assembly lines have been set up, and a great paint shop has been established. Approximately 290 robots are currently in operation. Investments are made in solar energy. So the science of production is complete. Meanwhile, a significant amount of vehicles were produced. It was sent to various countries such as Norway and Argentina to test the climatic conditions. It is being tested in winter conditions, it has passed the tests. It passed crash and endurance tests. It was a really good product,” he said.
“I tested Togg 4-5 times, I am very satisfied”
Özilhan stated that he used the Togg 4-5 times on the track and was very satisfied, and expressed his belief in the project, “It was a project that Turkey needed. The President also supported the project a lot and the state had a lot of support. Now we have put 5 joint capitals and we continue to put them. Everyone fulfills their commitments,” he said. Stating that the factory will open on October 29, Özilhan said, “Production will start gradually. After that, we will start commercial sales in March.”
So, what will Togg’s sales model be like?
Will there be a dealer network? Özilhan said that Togg will not be sold with a traditional model. There will be no dealership system in Togg. Togg’s service will also be different. Özilhan said, “Let’s not explain it fully. But I can say that there will be a service other than traditional models. There are also studies on service, so the consumer should not have any worries in this regard,” he said.
“Priority will be in the domestic market”
So, when will export start in Togg? Tuncay Özilhan said, “In the first stage, it will be aimed at the domestic market rather than exports. But we can also predict that we can compete gradually.” Özilhan, emphasizing that he had no hesitation about the sale of Togg, said, “There is an incredible demand in the Turkish society. We sell what we produce, no problem. The car will also be competitive. The product is good, we have no doubt about it.” Reminding that Togg will launch 5 different models to the market, Tuncay Özilhan continued: “They work with start-ups on technology, mobility and many other issues. He’s developing some things for Togg. An important ecosystem has been formed. Because Turkey has no experience in this electrical product, neither does the sub-industry. The sub-industry is starting to develop in this regard. We established a company called Siro, in which we are a 50-50 partner with Farasis. Farasis is one of the most important companies in the world in battery. Right next to the factory, a land has been allocated there and we will start an investment there. We have already started the first packaging unit. After that, we will develop it gradually. It is also an important technology for Turkey. I guess one of the most important steps at this stage is about the battery. His charge was late, thank goodness the government passed its law there. In that regard, we established a company to find 2,000 chargers. Many companies have received incentives behind us, and this will spread very quickly. Turkey took advantage of the delay in this regard in a way, it was established with the latest technology. Right now, we all see that electricity is always talked about. That’s why Turkey got an important chance there. Already the automotive production center has gained a significant advance in electric.
Anadolu Isuzu has a special place
When asked about Anadolu Group’s growth targets in the automotive sector, Özilhan emphasized the importance of Anadolu Isuzu within the group and answered: “Anadolu Isuzu is a fast growing company that we value very much. The products we have developed with our investments and innovations have now reached an important point. Despite the pandemic, we exported over a thousand buses last year. We think that our exports will further develop and increase with the moves we will make in the electric field in the next stage. Therefore, Anadolu Isuzu will be our company that we continue to invest in. We also invest a lot in product development. We are making investments to improve quality. We are a very important, very successful, well-managed company that we value very much. We export the buses we developed with our Turkish engineers. We can sell hundreds of buses in France. We can sell hundreds of buses to Germany. We can sell to the Middle East, Romania, Azerbaijan, Georgia. Turkey is already a lucky country on the bus.”
“It will be a vehicle that Turkish citizens can reach”
Anadolu Group Chairman of the Board Tuncay Özilhan made a statement regarding the price of Togg, which is the subject that the consumer is most curious about. Although Togg officials emphasized that Togg would be released at a competitive price at every opportunity, consumers were losing hope in this regard in parallel with the increasing exchange rate and inflationary pressure. Important clues came from Özilhan on how Togg’s price would be competitive in the current economic conditions. Tuncay Özilhan said, “When we first started, we set a target price and completed all parts orders. We reached that target price. We didn’t get over it. We had set a price in euros. It’s been two years, but we’re standing in the same place. Togg will be available at an affordable price. When we set off, we set off with 7 percent excise duty on feasibility. Later, when the import of electric cars increased, they increased the SCT to 60 percent. After that, they reduced it to 10 percent. But we stay within the 10 percent certainty. We calculated 7 percent. There is an excess of three points in SCT, but we can solve it, it’s not a problem. We are considering a vehicle that can be reached by Turkish citizens,” he said. TOGG will model TESLA on sale
The factory of Turkey’s Automobile Enterprise Group (Togg) will open on October 29 with the participation of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Planning to start mass production as of this date, Togg will start selling in March 2023. The price and sales strategy of Togg, which is eagerly awaited by many, is one of the most curious subjects. As you can read in the above interview, I received important information from Tuncay Özilhan, Chairman of Anadolu Group, one of Togg’s partners. However, I did not stop there, and last week I did some research to gather more information about Togg. The information I got from sources close to Togg gave new details about the way the vehicle was sold. There will be no dealership system in Togg. Togg, like US electric car giant Tesla, will only be sold online. Like Tesla, Togg is expected to have promotional and experience stores in various regions of Turkey. Details on this will also be announced at the launch on October 29. Among the important topics to be announced. Let’s come to the most talked about subject, namely the price of Togg… There is still a long way to go until March 2023, when Togg will go on sale. What will the exchange rate be until then? It is not clear whether new crises will occur in the economy and supply chain that will affect costs, but my research gives important signals about the price of Togg. First of all, Tuncay Özilhan’s emphasis on ‘accessible price’ is important. We also heard this from the Minister of Technology Mustafa Varank last week. Togg’s CEO, Karakaş, was often signaling that it would be offered at an ‘accessible’ price. So, how will this be possible despite the increasing exchange rate and costs? Both Togg officials and the government have a great effort in this regard. It seems certain that Togg will enter the 10 percent SCT zone. This is the first time a Togg manager has made this clear. Cars whose engine power does not exceed 160 kW and whose tax-free price does not exceed 700 thousand TL can enter the 10 percent SCT segment in electric vehicles. This means that when the tax-free price is calculated over a maximum of 700 thousand TL, Togg’s entry price will be 900 thousand at the most “under today’s conditions”. But there is no doubt that 908 thousand TL is far from being an attainable figure for Turkish citizens. At this point, it is important for Tuncay Özilhan to say that they aim to put the vehicle in the 7 percent SCT zone and that they will achieve this. This means that the vehicle will still be under 900 thousand TL in “today’s conditions”. On the other hand, on October 29, a surprise may come in terms of financing. It is also among the topics discussed in the backstage that a new financing model is being worked on, in which the intermediary will be pulled to a much more accessible point. On the other hand, it is stated that the absence of a dealership system will create an advantage in price. Because it is known that the dealer sells the vehicle with a profit margin of at least 7-8 percent.
NEW SURPRISE IS ON THE WAY IN ANADOLU ISUZU
Anadolu Isuzu also made the world launch of its new all-electric vehicle, Bige, for the transportation sector, at IAA Transportation. I asked Anadolu Isuzu General Manager Tuğrul Arıkan if a new surprise was on the way after Big e. He announced that they are preparing for the launch of a new electric vehicle. Arıkan, though avoiding to give too many details in order not to spoil the surprise, said that the new project is an electric bus and that they will make its world launch at the Busworld fair to be held in Belgium next year. Arıkan also signaled that this bus is a vehicle for the tourism sector rather than urban passenger transportation. Reminding that the brand also has important works on autonomous vehicles, Arıkan said, “Currently, our autonomous bus is walking at Gebze Technical University and its work will be finished soon. Then we will build the 4th stage autonomous bus.” On the other hand, answering our questions about Big E, Arıkan said that they have an annual production target of nearly 10,000 for this vehicle, which will be put on sale in 2024, and that, thanks to their own packaging of the battery, the domesticity rate will be over 50 percent. Big·e, which has a carrying capacity of up to 1000 kg, can be charged via a standard socket, reaching a full charge capacity in 3 to 5 hours. A new line investment will also be made at the factory for Big·e. Arıkan also said that truck sales are going well and business is accelerating on the bus side. Arıkan said, “We will have 3-4 serious investments in the coming period. It is both factory and customer facing. But these are the investments that will support our growth, especially on the bus side. Apart from that, it is especially about networks with distributors in overseas markets. We aim to grow in the defense industry as well, and we have product investment plans regarding this. We have an investment plan covering the next 4-5 years,” he said. With its new solar energy investment, the company meets 50 percent of our electricity needs in the factory from the sun.