Invest News DetailToday’s Zaman - Turkey is growing as an export base for automotive manufacturers and auto-related sub-industries because of its strategic market location, industry incentives, low cost, abundance of skilled labor, customs union with the EU and high technology and know-how. Emerging from a financial crisis in 2001, Turkey has successfully transformed itself into a highly competitive economy, attracting a sizable portion of foreign investment in the auto sector. Today, industrial goods account for more than 90 percent of Turkey's exports, with automobiles the most-sold item in this category. Seeing Turkey as a gateway to European and Asian markets, the world's leading auto manufacturers are increasingly opting to use Turkey as a base of operations to gain access to wider markets while expanding their sales figures in the domestic market. All indications show Turkey is on its way to becoming a global automotive hub. As of today, Turkey is the world's 17th-largest auto manufacturer. Its automotive production plants have a combined annual production capacity of 1.5 million vehicles. It is the European Union's leading manufacturer of passenger buses and third in trucks and commercial vehicles. Turkey attaches special importance to R&D development in the auto sector to maintain a knowledge base for the industry. The government passed a reform to the tax code, providing a 90 percent tax break to companies engaged in research and development.