A Mercedes hub

The Ger­man car­maker is grooming Turkey to be a leader in lux­ury car pro­duc­tion

Dünya Executive - - COVER PAGE - AYSEL YUCEL

Turkey has great im­por­tance for Mercedes due to its high qual­ity stan­dards and qual­i­fied work­force, Britta Seeger, Daim­ler AG Board Mem­ber re­spon­si­ble for Mercedes-Benz Cars Mar­ket­ing and Sales, said dur­ing an in­ter­view with daily DUNYA at the Frank­furt In­ter­na­tional Motor Show. “We set an im­por­tant ex­am­ple in the de­vel­op­ment of the in­dus­try in bus and truck pro­duc­tion in Turkey,” she said, promis­ing more in­vest­ments in the coun­try.

Seeger noted that MercedesBe­nz has been in­creas­ing in­vest­ments in pro­duc­tion fa­cil­i­ties in Turkey for over 50 years, rais­ing its stature in the com­pany. “To­day, Mercedes-Benz Turk has an im­por­tant place in our head­quar­ters in Ger­many with its pro­duc­tion, R&D and IT net­work,” she said.

Mercedes started bus pro­duc­tion in Turkey in 1968 and truck pro­duc­tion in 1986. The com­pany opened its Sec­ond Hand and R&D Cen­ter in 2009. The Global IT Ser­vices Cen­ter was es­tab­lished in Is­tan­bul in 2013 po­si­tion­ing the me­trop­o­lis as a base for IT. A new in­vest­ment was ini­ti­ated in the truck fac­tory in Ak­saray, Konya, in 2016 and their sec­ond R&D Cen­ter was launched in 2018.

“We be­lieve in Turkey”

Seeger in­di­cated that in ad­di­tion to its pro­duc­tion ac­tiv­i­ties, Mercedes-Benz Turk to­day ex­ports a wide range of prod­ucts and ser­vices in the global ecosys­tem. “The most im­por­tant rea­son for our in­creas­ing in­vest­ments in Turkey is its com­mit­ment and qual­i­fi­ca­tion in pro­duc­tion and a qual­i­fied work­force. We are a big fam­ily here in Turkey with more than 7,000 em­ploy­ees and net­work of more than 4,500 deal­ers,” she added.

“We will main­tain lead­er­ship in car sales”

Mercedes-Benz car sales world­wide in­creased by 0.9 per­cent in 2018 com­pared to the pre­vi­ous year to 2.3 mil­lion units. The brand closed 2018 as the leader of the pre­mium seg­ment, main­tain­ing its lead­er­ship po­si­tion for three years straight. With 14,445 units sold in Turkey, the brand main­tained its top spot since 2016 in the pre­mium seg­ment in Turkey as well. The goal is to main­tain po­si­tion both in Turkey and glob­ally, Seeger noted.

The new A-Se­ries Sedan, which hit the mar­ket in June, is ex­pected to gen­er­ate at least 10 per­cent of 2019 sales in Turkey, Seeger said. “We be­lieve that this car will be one of the mod­els that leads the Turk­ish mar­ket. A-Se­ries Sedan will be Turkey’s car.”

Com­ment­ing on the con­trac­tion in the the au­to­mo­tive mar­ket in Turkey, Seeger noted: “The con­trac­tion in the au­to­mo­tive sec­tor has con­tin­ued since 2018. But I hope that this will not be longterm, and I be­lieve that the next few years will be very ex­cit­ing for all of us.”

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