Ankara: A partnership agreement to create Turkey's first indigenous car brand was signed on May 31, according to a statement from partner companies on Saturday.
The manufacturing company was named Turkey's Automobile Initiative Group. The five local firms are Anadolu Group, BMC, Kok Group, Turkcell, and Zorlu Holding with 19 percent of shares each and the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) with 5 percent of shares will jointly lead the firm.
Mehmet Gurcan Karakas, one of the top global executives in technology giant Bosch and a successful Turkish manager in the global automotive market, was appointed as the CEO.
In a statement, Karakas said that he had been actively involved in the field of automotive technology over the past 12 years. "I was born in Turkey, grew up here, did college in this country, and took my first step into business life in Turkey," he said.
"With this project, I am happy to have the opportunity to transfer my knowledge and experience in the global market to my country.
"Rest assured, Turkey will produce a competitive brand in the global market," Karakas added.
Science, Industry, and Technology Minister Faruk Ozlu said the new project was a technological breakthrough for the country.
"As the government and ministry, we will provide the necessary support, especially in research and development, design and production operations, and make the necessary arrangements for the establishment of infrastructure for electric vehicles in Turkey," Ozlu added.
The initiative came after repeated calls from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for a joint car project of TOBB and the Science, Industry, and Technology Ministry of Turkey.
Last November, President Erdogan announced that the prototype of the first domestically produced car -expected to be produced in Ankara would be ready in 2019 and enter the market in 2021.
"I want to own the first automobile, provided that I will pay for it. No one should hesitate. We will produce Turkey's car with the best design and technology, both for our country and the world," Erdogan said in November.
Erdogan praised efforts to ensure that the mass production of the first indigenous automobile would be either electric or hybrid. Turkey attempted to produce its first domestically produced car in 1961, the Devrim (Revolution), which was unsuccessful after production was halted following the first prototypes.
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