Economy, Auto

Toyota Eyes Bigger Iranian Share

Toyota Eyes Bigger Iranian Share
Toyota Eyes Bigger Iranian Share

Toyota has expressed interest in selling more cars in Iran when western imposed sanctions on Tehran over its nuclear energy plan are lifted, said Orhan Ozer, CEO at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Turkey.

Tehran is in talks with the United States and other Western powers on curbing its nuclear program to end sanctions.

According to Reuters, Toyota Motor Corp's Turkish business saw first-half exports slump by 30% after a weaker rouble hit Russia's car market, but hopes to pare losses with sales domestically and to Europe, the unit's chief executive said.

The Adapazari, Turkey-based plant, makes Corollas and Versos and has capacity to produce 150,000 vehicles, about 1.5% of Toyota's global production of about 10 million cars and trucks.

The Turkish business expects to finish the year with a 9% decline in sales, or about 120,000 vehicles, Orhan Ozer told Reuters in an interview late on Wednesday.

He did not give a figure for sales in the first half, but said output fell 14%.

"We saw a serious fall in exports this year due to the events in Russia and the devaluation (of the rouble)," Ozer said. "Russia was our top market for the Corolla; we were planning to sell a quarter of our Corollas to Russia, but we're not even selling 10%."

Car sales in Russia have plunged since 2014 as the economy weakened due to lower oil prices and western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis. In 2015, new car sales are seen at 1.55 million, down 36%.

"We will compensate with (sales in) Turkey, Poland and Britain bringing it to a level of 120,000, compared with exports of 131,000 last year," Ozer said. So far Russia, Egypt, France and Spain have been the main buyers.

The plant normally exports about 90% of the vehicles it makes, but so far this year it has exported 73%.

"Despite the drop, Toyota is working to boost exports and capacity at the Adapazari plant under a 2014 investment plan of $500 million," Ozer said.

 The Japanese carmaker has previously said it wants to raise capacity by two-thirds to 250,000.