By on December 30, 2019

Turkey’s plan to convert the defunct Saab 9-3 into its national car is one of those stories that reemerges every few years, often undertaking a cicada-like metamorphosis in the interim. When we last checked on the $3.7 billion car project, Turkey was in the midst converting the 9-3 into an EV prototype wearing the shell of a Cadillac BLS.

The formula appears to have changed substantially since then. TOGG (short for Türkiye’nin Otomobili Girişim Grubu) is new, founded in 2018, but the company is comprised of the same five firms that made up the original group angling to deliver Turkey’s national car — Anadolu Group, BMC, Kıraça Holding, Turkcell, and Zorlu Holding. Ties to Saab (now owned by
National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB) are similarly unclear, as TOGG now plans on delivering an SUV in tandem with a sedan. 

Unlike past previews, the new prototypes actually appear to foreshadow production-ready models. Both are handsome automobiles, albeit stylistically derivative of other high-end European products, with the SUV looking like something coming off a German assembly line and the sedan giving off more of a Chinese/Volvo vibe.

Details are scant but TOGG has said the SUV will be the first of five vehicles it plans on manufacturing within Turkey — starting in 2022. A factory site has been selected in Bursa, with the joint venture estimating an annual output of 175,000 EVs annually. Introductory vehicles will come with a choice of two lithium-ion battery packs. The smaller of the two is said to provide roughly 185 miles of range, with the bigger hitting a smidgen over 300 — presumably using European metrics. Rear-drive will be standard, with 200 horsepower on tap. A dual-motor, all-wheel-drive setup is said to double output to 400 hp.

The names are probably subject to change, but TOGG is currently working with vanilla monikers like C-SUV and C-Sedan. Those titles, sounding like placeholders, have been thrown around since the company started teasing images of the models on its social media accounts. Ditto for the interiors. While the cabin looks like it could carry over into production, its myriad of screens seem overly ambitious for a model intended to be sold within a country with a fairly modest median income. Right now TOGG has only said it plans on selling vehicles within Turkey with ambitions to expand deeper into Europe.

According to Automotive News, the overall project is expected to contribute $50 billion (USD) to the Turkish economy in the 15 years following 2022.

From Automotive News:

TOGG will benefit from comprehensive tax cuts, free land allocation, interest rate reductions and a government purchase guarantee of 30,000 vehicles until the end of 2035, according to the decree.

Investors are obliged to provide at least 3.5 billion lira in cash as capital by the end of 2023.

[President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan first urged Turkish companies to join forces to manufacture a domestic vehicle nine years ago, saying in January 2011 that he was “looking for a brave fellow, an investor for a domestic car.”

“We’re all together witnessing Turkey’s 60-year-old dream become reality,” he said, referring to failed plans in the past to build a fully home-produced car. “When we see this car on roads around the whole world, we will have reached our goal.”

[Image: TOGG]

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20 Comments on “Talking Turkey: TOGG Unveils First Prototype Vehicles...”

  • avatar

    Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian rule is making things difficult. VW desperately needs more production capacity, where labor is cheap. A deal to site a new plant in Turkey, to utilize the really cheap Turkish labor, and generous government incentives, was in the bag, until the invasion of Syria. Now plans are on hold.

    • 0 avatar

      Authoritarians never do their countries any good in the long term, and Erdogan’s been in power long enough to mess up a lot of things. Economies need flexibility to adapt to changes, whether big or small, and the more authoritarian the government, the more it hamstrings business.

      Corruption like in Turkey also makes a mess because the favored cronies have less and less interest in innovating, and the out-of-power innovators just bottle things up until something gives. I smell massive subsidies for these EVs, to make sure they get inflated sales figures. That’ll raise taxes and piss off everybody who doesn’t buy one.

      No good will come of this.

    • 0 avatar

      Invasion, really? Actually, there is a 1998 Adana agreement and Turkey acted inline with it

      “This agreement opens the way for Turkey to enter those territories if any adverse events were to take place,”

  • avatar

    This is self-pleasure by Erdogan and it is kind of sad that so much potentially productive Turkish capital is being wasted on it.

    • 0 avatar

      “productive Turkish capital” to produce what? CHR?

      • 0 avatar

        Potentially a car (Turkey certainly has enough carmaking experience and knowledge), but created by experienced local car industry people using current knowledge in a free economic system, not by fiat issued by a dunce of a wannabe dictator using bad decade-old IP.

        • 0 avatar

          You have obsession with dictators. Looks at France/EU. They don’t have dictators but they have dictatorship. UK does not have a constitution even – dictatorship.

          • 0 avatar

            Can the local electorate change who is in power when they decide it is necessary?

            US: Yes, clearly, although it’s too bad we’ve decided that small-state voters should have several times the voting power of big-state ones.
            France: Yes. It’s happened regularly in the last few decades.
            UK: Yes, at least once a party other than the Tories gets a pulse back.
            Hungary: No. Elections are cooked and press coverage of other candidates is straightforwardly censored. Calling Orban a dictator is reasonable at this point.
            Turkey: Possibly, but Erdogan would rather the answer be no, and he’s trying to control the press to make it so. “Wannabe dictator” is accurate.
            Russia, Iran, and China: Absolutely not. The former two hold elections but the existing regime predetermines the candidates. The latter doesn’t bother with elections at all beyond the local level.

        • 0 avatar


          Article 93 (Of Russian constitution) – Impeachment of the president

          In US GOP/DEM regime also predetermines candidates. This is called GOP convention. The only true direct democracies I know – Israel and Switzerland. And Ecuador! In Ecuador they overturn the gov. every time they don’t like it, and they say this themselves – we are most democratic. When gov. gets corrupt we just chase them out.

          Well, China is actually interesting case. If you elect your local representative, you trust him to elect the higher authority. So, in their world, there is no direct elections of the high government but rather an hierarchical system. But hey, it works!

  • avatar

    “ According to Automotive News, the overall project is expected to contribute $50 billion (USD) to the Turkish economy in the 15 years following 2022…. with the joint venture estimating an annual output of 175,000 EVs annually.“

    That works out to $3.3 billion a year. Hmmmm, If my math is right and it usually isn’t, they are expecting a “contribution to the Turkish economy” of roughly $3,700 per vehicle.

    Can anybody educate me as to what “contribution to the Turkish economy” might mean? It’s not profit obviously, but beyond that I can’t puzzle it out.

    Of course, all this assumes that the company builds, and the Turks buy some 875,000 EV’s over 5 years, but hey! Who am I to say “that’ll never happen!!!” ?

    • 0 avatar

      I think, this is more complex than this. Lets say you have 1000 workers that produce cars. But producing something else is more profitable. So, you ship production of cars to China and release workers to produce something more profitable. I’ve heard, Turkey wants to produce airplanes now

      • 0 avatar

        I’ll believe Turkey can produce a competitive airplane when I see China, with vastly more resources and experience, doing so.

        I can’t think of another sector where the West retains as much of a knowledge and technology advantage as it has in commercial aviation. The only global South country that has made a real dent is Brazil. China, Russia, Japan, and Iran have all failed abjectly to compete with the Western airframers, despite all four having quite a lot of local knowledge in the area.

        • 0 avatar

          China does produce plenty of planes. COMAC now is working on 300 and 400 passenger models. Yes, breaking into international sales is harder, for sure. Russia was, as you know, one of the main producers of airplanes. But their economy was no match to market economies of the west and their client were poor countries. So, in whole they produced less planes. But they had first continuous passenger jet routes. When USSR broke apart, in the west they invoked some noise rules, etc and Russian planes were not qualified to fly outside Russia. So they started to buy western models. Recently, however, they started to produce couple of new jets. But it will be long way into competing with the Airbus and Co. China has no issues building planes – they can use all they build domestically. For Russia would be hard. Even if there is a new plane, they need to fly it to the west. There, someone needs to maintain it. All facilities and mechanics are oriented for existing planes. So, I don’t expect any big Russian advances in passenger jets until they have big piece of domestic pie.

          • 0 avatar

            No COMAC plane has yet entered service. The first one (a narrowbody) is expected to enter service 14 years after launch, about double what a Western maker requires, and will be competitive only with the generation of Western planes that entered service in the late 1990s. They are so uncompetitive that the domestic Chinese airlines are fighting to avoid being allocated any by CAAC.

            Their widebody proposal remains pie-in-the-sky for the moment, and even as conceived would struggle to compete with the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350, both of which entered service in the first half of the decade that’s now ending.

    • 0 avatar

      Contribution to the economy usually includes workers salaries which they spend locally on food, housing, recreation, and dealership markup on Tata Nanos.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    First things first:
    Change the vehicle’s name to something that does not resemble a Neanderthal’s mating growl.

    • 0 avatar
      ========Read all comments========

      The sedan will be the Turkey Vulture, and the SUV will be the Turkey Roulade.

      A TOGG broken down in the desert will be a Turkey Fryer.

      A leaking coolant hose will qualify it to be a Turkey Baster.

      Limp-home mode, of course, will be the Turkey Trot.

      Patriotic Turks can purchase one if they can manage to get through the salesman’s fowl play. If their credit rating isn’t good enough, he’ll tell
      them to get stuffed.

      TOGGs will be available in five colors: Bronze, Albino, Black, Buff and Jersey Red.

  • avatar

    The thinking here is if Musk was able to start making EV from nothing – why Turkey cannot do the same considering that they were making FIATs and Renaults under Turkish brands for decades.

  • avatar

    I wonder what the start-up screen inside will look like…maybe a video of Erdogan’s thugs beating American demonstrators on US soil while protesting his authoritarian rule. All while our administration chuckles about it. Too bad our Secret Service didn’t execute Erdogan’s thugs on the spot.

  • avatar

    Ashtrays are standard equipment.

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