Turkey reports slump in registered motor vehicles during lira sell-off

Turkey’s official statistics agency said the number of motor vehicles registered in December dropped by an annual 23.1 percent from a year ago.

The number of vehicles entering Turkey’s traffic fell to 65,562 units last month from 85,300 in December 2020, the agency said on Wednesday. The number declined by 26.1 percent compared with November.

Car registrations led the decrease, shrinking by an annual 45.8 percent to 29,558 units.

The Turkish lira slumped by 44 percent against the dollar last year, reaching a record low of 18.32 per dollar on Dec. 20. The slump in the currency’s value has rendered imported cars more expensive to purchase.   

The cost of borrowing for consumers has increased over the past year, crimping demand for cars. Costs have risen even after the central bank cut interest rates to help stimulate demand. The weighted average interest rate on consumer loans, including car loans, stood at 26.1 percent at the end of December compared with 22 percent 12 months earlier, according to central bank data.

Registrations for motorcycles rose by an annual 32 percent to 14,004 units in December, the agency said. Registrations of trucks, small trucks and tractors also increased on an annual basis, but fell compared with November. Small truck registrations dropped by 22.2 percent monthly to 11,707 units.   

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