Ali Rıza Alptekin, Assistant General Manager – Commercial Vehicles at Otokar explained that in spite of the tightening in Turkish bus market, Otokar is still the most preferred bus brand: "Even though it has been quite challenging, we left behind a successful year in both domestic and international markets. We maintained our market leadership in the segments in which we operate, and became the top selling brand in Turkey in all categories of the small and medium size, and 12-meter city bus segments. In 2018, one of every three buses sold in Turkey was Otokar. Our expansion continued both in Turkey and Europe as we increased our bus exports in 2018."
Otokar, Turkey's pioneering automotive industry company, reaffirmed its leadership in the bus industry. At an event to review 2018 for Otokar, which has the broadest product portfolio in Turkey with buses ranging from 7 meters to 18.75 meters in length, Ali Rıza Alptekin, Assistant General Manager – Commercial Vehicles, Basri Akgül, Assistant General Manager – Sales and Marketing, Murat Tokatlı, Sales Director, Tarkan Burak, Marketing Manager, and Murat Torun, Sales Manager, along with other executives evaluated the past year and shared their expectations for 2019. Otokar, with over 55 years of industry experience in manufacturing buses, and numerous firsts in the fields of R&D and digital transformation, once again became Turkey's most preferred bus brand in 2018 in the total of its segments.
"SMALL & MEDIUM SIZE BUS MARKET SHRANK BY 23 PERCENT, INNER CITY BY 50 PERCENT"
Ali Rıza Alptekin, Assistant General Manager – Commercial Vehicles, said that Turkish bus market, which had already been shrinking for the previous three years, was heavily hit by the exchange rate fluctuations in 2018 and continued to shrink further, "We left behind a year that was far more challenging than 2016 and 2017. In 2018, total bus market shrank by 29 percent and finished the year at 3,800 levels in unit sales. In the small and medium-size bus market, this shrinking was 23 percent, while in the city bus market of 12-meter and longer vehicles, it reached 50 percent. At Otokar, we still managed to leave behind a productive year in both the domestic and international markets in such difficult conditions. In the passenger transport segment, Otokar, which has been designing and manufacturing buses for public transport as well as personnel transportation and tourism for over 55 years, was able to meet all expectations with its broad product lines, solutions tailored to customer needs and aftersales services. In 2018, one of every three buses sold in Turkey was Otokar. We became the top selling brand in all categories of the small and medium size, and 12-meter city bus segments."
"OTOKAR MAINTAINED ITS MARKET LEADERSHIP"
H. Basri Akgül, Assistant General Manager – Sales and Marketing noted that Otokar's deliveries, particularly in the public transport segment continued and the company maintained its market leadership in Turkish tourism bus segment as well, "In 2018, we maintained our leadership in the bus segments in which we operate. We are proud of being the leader of the same category for the 10th time. Our bus deliveries in the domestic market continued across the country from Mardin and Izmir to Tekirdağ and Antakya. We kept working on product development by anticipating the changing needs and listening to the transportation industry. Our sales were also affected positively by the impact of more dynamism foreseen in the tourism sector for the second half of the year and the affinity for our renewed vehicles."
"MILLIONS OF PASSENGERS IN 50 COUNTRIES TRAVEL IN THE COMFORT OF OTOKAR"
Ali Rıza Alptekin, Assistant General Manager – Commercial Vehicles, noted that Otokar turned its focus more toward exports last year given the domestic market's shrinking, "We have been developing solutions tailored to our customers' needs with our own technology, design and applications since 1963. At Otokar, we continue to reinforce our position in Europe, our target market, with our design, comfort, technology and low operating costs. Today, Otokar buses are used in 50 countries including Spain, Serbia, Germany, Italy, Greece, Belgium, Romania, Poland, Hungary and Slovenia. While the Turkish bus market's exports increased 10 percent in unit sales last year, Otokar's bus exports quadrupled this growth rate as a result of our focus on exports."
"LARGEST BUS EXPORT DEAL IN ONE LOT"
Alptekin also noted that Otokar has been more active in bus tenders in cities abroad, "In 2018, we made significant progress in public transport vehicles, especially in export markets. Since the establishment of Otokar Europe, we have been closer to European users, just like in Turkey, and we had an even more active year particularly in public transportation tenders thanks to better analysis of needs and expectations. Last year, we signed an agreement with the Bucharest Municipality for the largest export deal in one lot undertaken by a Turkish bus brand. In order to take care of the delivery of 400 public transportation buses, which were ordered to meet Bucharest's growing public transport needs, and to provide aftersales services for eight years as part of the agreement, we founded a company in Romania. We started delivering the buses last December and we will continue with deliveries in lots. Bucharest will become the next metropolis with the largest Otokar fleet after Istanbul."
CNG BUSES IN SPAIN
Alptekin also mentioned the important deliveries of last year to Germany, France, Poland, Jordan and Tunisia, "In 2018, 34 Otokar Vectio buses started to serve in Warsaw, Poland. After winning the contract for 100 buses by the City of Amman, capital of Jordan, we received an additional order for 35 more buses. This year, we also exported the first Kent CNG buses to Spain. Not only the public transportation buses but also the tourism buses are highly favored by the European clients. We launched Ulyso T, already available in Italy, Spain, France, Belgium and Sweden, onto the German market this year as well."
"MORE FOCUS ON EXPORTS ON THE WAY TO BECOMING A GLOBAL BRAND"
Noting that Otokar started off 2019 with new and important targets, Alptekin said, "This year, our goal is to continue being the most preferred brand in Turkish bus market that meet customer expectations in public and tourism transportation. Furthermore, we will take confident steps toward becoming a global brand by focusing more on export operations in 2019. We will complete the deliveries of the orders from Europe and other regions this year and strive to expand our vehicle park in target markets with buses developed specifically for export markets."