Ayhan Serhan Atasoy, director of sales for an upscale car gallery, is interviewed by reporter of Xinhua News Agency in Istanbul, Turkey, on June 22, 2020. The automotive sector in Turkey is experiencing a boom in June with sales jumping by 120 percent when compared to the same period the previous year, according to sector representatives. (Photo by Osman Orsal/Xinhua)
by Zeynep Cermen
ISTANBUL, June 23 (Xinhua) -- Erdem Sulu arrived in an upscale car gallery in Turkey's biggest city Istanbul on Monday with plans to buy an off-the-shelf car over concerns of the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, he was told that no new car left in stock of the gallery in the Acibadem neighborhood on the Asian side of the city, and the closest delivery time was at least two and half months later.
The "sold out" notes were seen posted on most of the new and second-hand cars, with prices varying between 22,000 U.S. dollars and 73,000 dollars.
The automotive sector in Turkey is experiencing a boom in June with sales jumping by 120 percent when compared to the same period the previous year, according to sector representatives.
Ayhan Serhan Atasoy, director of sales for the gallery, told Xinhua that everyone wants to buy a car these days, as they do not want to use public transportation anymore over the concerns of getting infected.
"I have been working in the automotive sector for 20 years, and I haven't seen such a big increase in sales," Atasoy said.
During the quarantine period between March and June, however, the sales in the gallery decreased by 50 percent, according to the director.
But, when the government eased COVID-19 restrictions on June 1, people taking advantage of low-interest rates of the banks flocked into car galleries, he continued.
As a result, second-hand cars were sold out in almost 15 days at his gallery, and his teams started having difficulties in meeting the demands of their customers for new cars.
"Now those who purchased a brand-new car, have to wait for at least two and half months to get their vehicles, as we are submitting the orders to the factories abroad and wait for their deliveries to the country," Atasoy said.
"The process was simpler and faster, but due to the pandemic, everything is slowed down," he added.
Sulu, meanwhile, told Xinhua that he wanted to buy a car to go to his hometown in southern Turkey with his family to spend the summer. They do not want to take a plane over fears of coronavirus.
"I have visited many car galleries so far. The result was always the same. I couldn't find any with immediate delivery," he said.
He also followed online ads for second-hand cars, noting that most of the time they are sold instantly. "You don't even have a chance to think twice."
The prices of second-hand cars have been continuously increasing as the demand remains too high and new cars are out of stock, according to Semih Eryukseldi, a salesperson for the gallery.
"The values of some of the second-hand cars have already surpassed those of the new ones," Eryukseldi told Xinhua.
According to Turkey's Automotive Industry Association, automotive exports are the largest contributor to national exports of the country with a 14.2 percent share during the first five months of this year, despite the pandemic. The industry accomplished 1.2 billion dollars of export in May alone. Enditem