Is Tesla back?
Our reporter picks up signals that U.S. electric car giant may be coming to Turkey
U.S. electric car company Tesla is reconsidering its plans to open a store in Istanbul’s Zorlu shopping centre, following a decision in October to shelve the project due to a diplomatic spat between Turkey and the United States, Aysel Yucel of daily DUNYA reported on December 27.
Osman Baykan, the CEO of Turkish car dealer Otomol, told DUNYA that Tesla decided to implement plans it halted following the end of a diplomatic row between the two countries after the release of American Pastor Andrew Brunson. “They came to Turkey one and a half months ago and said that they wanted to make the investment in 2019, Baykan said.” We will provide them after-sale services. An initial deal has been made.”
Tesla founder and CEO, Elon Musk, said on December 26 on Twitter that coverage of the company’s Supercharger system, used to rapidly charge its cars, would extend across the whole of Europe in 2019, “from Ireland to Kiev, from Norway to Turkey”. Musk did not reply to questions from Turkish Twitter users asking him whether this announcement implied that plans to open a showroom in Turkey were being reconsidered.
Tesla Motors announced in May that it had chosen Turkey as a production base to reach European and Middle Eastern markets. Musk said on Twitter at the time that he would be attending a launch party for his brand in Turkey. The automotive giant then began running job advertisements in Turkey.
However, after Turkey increased taxes on U.S. cars by 60 percent in June and 120 percent in August, as a response to sanctions imposed by the U.S. on Turkish metals, the company announced that it had reversed its decision to open a store in Zorlu.
Add t onal tax may be l fted
Following Musk’s Twitter message, there is talk that the 120 percent imposed on cars could be lifted. Because the price of Tesla vehicles exceeded TRY 1.5 million with the additional taxes, orders came to a complete halt. The Young Turkish American Businessmen’s Association (Young TABA) Chairman, Zafer Kucuksabanoglu, said that the additional tax may be lifted. “Tesla’s turn back to Turkey shows that closed door diplomacy is working,” he said.
Bahadir Yalcin, an automotive expert, signaled that there will be important developments in this area soon. “Wait until the second week of January. With the abolition of taxes, several U.S. companies may also make direct investments.”