Erdogan Has Pined for a 'National' Car. Now, 'a Historic Day'

Check out prototype for electric TOGG, Turkey's first domestically produced car
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 27, 2019 1:13 PM CST
Erdogan Has Pined for a 'National' Car. Now, 'a Historic Day'
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan drives a prototype of a domestically produced electric car in Gebze, Turkey, on Friday.   (Presidential Press Service via AP, Pool)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday unveiled prototypes of a domestically produced electric car, putting him closer to fulfilling a long-held dream of building Turkey's first "national" automobile. Erdogan showcased the SUV and sedan models of the car, known for now as TOGG after a consortium of Turkish companies that will produce them, at a ceremony in Gebze, per the AP. The president was scheduled to test-drive a car across a suspension bridge over the Gulf of Izmit. He also offered to put his name down on a list for advance orders. "We are witnessing a historic day, realizing a 60-year dream," Erdogan said. "I know that our people [are] impatiently waiting for the day they can own this car." The Turkish leader has long pushed industrialists to build a domestic automobile as part of his vision for making Turkey an economic powerhouse.

The vehicle is being produced by a consortium of five Turkish companies called the Automobile Initiative Group of Turkey, or TOGG, in cooperation with the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges. Turkish media say the car was designed by Italy's Pininfarina design firm, which has created models for Ferrari and US-based electric car maker Karma. Erdogan said the cars will be produced in a factory to be built on former military-owned land in Bursa; the factory is set to be completed in 2021. The Turkish vehicles are expected to hit the market in 2022, with five different models of the car expected. The TOGG is Turkey's second effort to produce a Turkish-made automobile. During the 1960s, a group of Turkish engineers built prototypes of a car called Devrim, or "revolution" in English. The project was later abandoned.

(More Turkey stories.)

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