Chinese carmakers have already put Türkiye on their radar for possible investments, but one of them, SAIC, appears to be willing to take some concrete steps forward.
Industry and Technology Minister Mehmet Fatih Kacır traveled to China in December last year to hold talks with Chinese auto companies, including SAIC, Chery, Zeekr and BYD.
The Turkish minister met with the executives of the companies and encouraged Chinese carmakers to invest in Türkiye.
Shortly after Kacır’s visit to China, a high-level delegation from SAIC arrived in Türkiye to explore investment opportunities.
“We have been working to lure SAIC to invest in Türkiye for two years now. In the past three months, our efforts accelerated,” said Kağan Dağtekin, CEO of Doğan Trend Otomotiv, which distributes MG brand vehicles in Türkiye.
A delegation from the Chinese carmaker paid a visit to Türkiye two weeks ago and held talks at the Industry and Technology Ministry and the Investment Office, according to Dağtekin.
The representatives of the Chinese company also traveled to the industrial northwestern province of Bursa to visit factories, including parts suppliers’ facilities, Dağtekin said.
He noted that they are competing “aggressively” with Germany, France and Eastern European countries for possible investment by the Chinese carmaker.
“I believe that sooner or later SAIC will establish a production facility in Türkiye,” said Dağtekin.
SAIC, which owns the MG brand, was the largest carmaker in China with its output at 5.3 million vehicles, according to Dağtekin.
The company’s sales outside China stood at 1.2 million units, he said, adding that in Europe more than 100,000 MG brand vehicles were sold in 2023.
MG Türkiye sold around 15,000 vehicles in Türkiye in 2023, said Tibet Soysal, assistant general manager at Doğan Trend Otomotiv.
“We are aiming to sell more than 20,000 vehicles in 2024. We will introduce a new MG3 hatchback model to the Turkish market, which will help us meet sales target,” he added.