Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan unveiled the country’s first electric car Friday, the first fruits of a project expected to cost $3.7 billion (22 billion lira) over the next 13 years, according to a Reuters report.
“We’re all together witnessing Turkey’s 60-year-old dream become reality,” Erdoğan said of the country’s effort to build its own car domestically. “When we see this car on roads around the whole world, we will have reached our goal.” While Turkey’s Automobile Initiative Group (TOGG) likely won’t make its way to the United States anytime soon, the burgeoning automaker may start with a push in Europe. To that end, two models rolled out onto the stage: an all-electric crossover and sedan sporting the “TOGG” badge.
Turkey does already produce models for other European brands, including Ford, Fiat Chrysler, Hyundai, Renault and Toyota. Most recently, Volkswagen postponed its decision to open a plant in Turkey after the country launched military operations in Syria in October 2019. However, the TOGG consortium expects to enter production with its all-electric crossover in 2022. According to the Reuters report, the country will build its first domestic car in Bursa, in northwest Turkey.
Eventually, the country’s Official Gazette said it would build around 175,000 annually by the time the project finishes ramping up. Much of that expansion will depend on Turkey’s approach to global markets in the coming years. With Europe in particular, its future expansion plans may be stymied by international pressures concerning the country’s human rights struggle. That includes severely restricting freedom of the press and censorship of online information, as well as its recent military operations which drew ire from the international community.