Recent data from Turkey’s Automotive Manufacturers’ Association (OSD) indicates a dramatic 47% drop in commercial vehicle (CV) production in the country for the month of January, with a similarly sharp drop in CV exports, something that is already hurting vehicle carriers handling transport out of the country. 

The reason for the sharp fall in production is because of the latest Euro 6 truck regulations and the fact that the majority of Turkey’s factories are not equipped to produce CVs higher than the Euro 5 standard. Since the beginning of January this year those vehicles can no longer be registered and manufacturers must be able to demonstrate that engines being used in the vehicles comply with the latest European Community approvals on a range of requirements from emissions to repair and maintenance information.

Vega International Car Transport & Logistic, which provides transport services for CVs out of Turkey as part of its Europe-wide network, said that its 30-strong fleet of special truck carriers has been idle since the beginning of the year because of the drop in exports. Vega’s general manager, Franz Blum, told Automotive Logistics the situation was affecting the company dramatically. “It is a big threat that we now have contracts without volume in them,” he said.

In January, total vehicle exports rates fell by 11% to 52,290 units, according to OSD figures. While passenger car exports rose by 28% compared to the same month last year, the OSD records a 48% fall in the export of commercial vehicles, a fact that pushed the overall figures lower in the first month of 2014. 

Commercial vehicle production, including minibuses, light and small trucks and buses, fell overall by 47%. More specifically the production of minibuses plummeted 53%, light trucks by 45%, pick ups by 51% and buses by 38%.

According to the Association of European Vehicle Logistics (ECG), another factor in January’s drop in numbers was the ‘pull forward’ in production ahead of the introduction of the Euro 6 legislation last year, which has consequently led to a quiet production month. 

“However, this frequently happens with new models and is only a temporary situation,” said ECG’s executive director Mike Sturgeon. “Normal demand soon reasserts itself and I suppose the same will happen with the trucks. There is no alternative after all.”

As well as the reported issues with the manufacture of Euro 6 trucks at Turkish plants they are also around €10,000 ($13,750) more expensive to make and, for vehicle hauliers, are 10cm higher, presenting difficulties when putting under car transporter units in some markets; factors that could influence the rate of takeup.

Additional reporting by Zoë Apostolides and Chris Ludwig