Zaman – Japanese automotive company Honda is looking into increasing production in its Turkish plant as well as reopening the motorcycle manufacturing line in the country, according to Honda Turkey’s General Manager Hideto Yamasaki.
Talking to reporters following his meeting with Turkey’s Minister of Economy Zafer Caglayan in Ankara, Yamasaki said that Honda is analyzing Turkey’s new incentive scheme and hinted of a capacity increase in their car manufacturing plant in Gebze, Kocaeli, in northwestern Turkey.
The new incentive system offers important advantages to non-European automotive manufacturers as it grants the automotive companies the right to import a certain number of vehicles without paying the associated customs duty for increasing their existing capacity in Turkey by 100,000 or more vehicles. For instance, an automotive company can import as much as 15,000 segment A,B or C passenger vehicle duty-free if it raises its production capacity of 50,000 vehicles in Turkey to 150,000 vehicles per year.
This incentive is especially tempting for Asian producers like Hyundai, Toyota and Honda as there are no free trade agreements in effect between Turkey and the brands’ home countries, South Korea and Japan. Turkey-EU Customs Union already gives the European car makers the right to duty-free imports for the Turkish market.
“Honda is considering to increase its production level in Turkey and the appreciating yen makes it easier to invest here..”, Honda Turkey General Manager remarked. The company also has plans to restart its motorcycle production line in Istanbul as bike ownership starts to pick up in Turkey. “There were 200,000 bikes sold last year and we see no reason for the market not to reach a sales figure of 1 million in the near future..”, Yamasaki said, adding that the company is weighing the option to start manufacturing bikes in Turkey again.
Honda closed its motorcycle plant in Istanbul in 2002. The company aims to produce 25,000 Civic sedans in its Gebze plant this year.