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Turkey March 2020: Coronavirus halts recovery (+1.6%), market bracing for second shock in 2 years

Turkish sales went from +89.4% in February to +1.6% in March, but no COVID-19 lockdown yet means the coming slump may last longer. 

30/04 update: Now with Top 25 models.

Even though President Erdoğan urged the Turkish public to stay at home on March 18 and all international borders and eateries are now closed, Turkey isn’t yet under any type of stay-at-home order, which has allowed car dealership to remain open and active for now. Repeated calls to enact such measures by the mayor of Istanbul – the country’s COVID-19 epicentre – have been criticised by the president who insists the wheels of the economy must continue to turn. As a result, confirmed cases have flared up dramatically over the past two weeks (x14), from 2.433 as of March 25 to 13.531 as of March 31 and 34.109 as of April 7, making Turkey the 9th country in the world most affected by the coronavirus outbreak. In this context, it is becoming increasingly likely that Turkey will now need to hunker down for potentially longer in order to wrestle the virus to the ground, possibly sending its new car market into oblivion well into H2 and inflicting a second devastating shock to sales after the dismal economic situation sent Turkish car registrations into double-digit freefall between May 2018 and August 2019.

Make no mistake, COVID-19 has already had an impact on Turkish new car sales. If on face value the market is actually up year-on-year in March at +1.6% to 50.008, this is compared to March 2019 volumes themselves down -35.5% on 2018 and is in stark contrast with recovery surges registered in January (+89.7%) and February (+89.4%). Because of this stellar start of the year, the YTD tally remains in frank positive for now at +40.6% to 124.403 units. Fiat (-16.2%) reclaims the brands top spot that was his over the FY2019 with 13.7% share despite a steep loss. It distances Ford (+7.9%) and Volkswagen (+37.9%) both ignoring the flat context with very impressive gains. Leader last month, Renault (-25.1%) falls to #4 above Peugeot (-2.3%). Citroen (+158.3%), Opel (+75.1%) and Toyota (+24.3%) also score spectacular gains in the remainder of the Top 10 but Dacia (-16.6%) and Hyundai (-10%) aren’t so lucky. Below, DS (+375%), Land Rover (+227%), Jeep (+124%), Seat (+101.2%), Mitsubishi (+60%) and BMW (+34.1%) shine. Model-wise, the Fiat Egea (-27.2%) easily keeps the lead ahead of the Renault Clio (+0.1%), VW Passat (+130.9%) and Toyota Corolla (+27.8%).

Previous month: Turkey February 2020: Renault #1 (+118.2%), Citroen (+557.9%) spectacular in market back to 2018 level (+89.4%)

One year ago: Turkey March 2019: Fiat Egea (+63.7%) ignores surrounding gloom (-35.5%) to break share record at 13%

Full March 2020 Top 40 All-brands and Top 25 models below.

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