24 January 2022

Otokar maintains leadership of the bus market for the 13th time

Otokar maintains leadership of the bus market for the 13th time
The leader of the bus market remained the same in 2021, with Otokar, a Koç Group company, continuing to be the choice of public transportation, personnel and tourism transportation operators and fleets. Despite another year marked by the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, Otokar maintained its market leadership for the 13th time.
Basri Akgül, Assistant General Manager, Otokar said: “In commercial vehicles, we left behind another successful and productive year. In addition to maintaining our leadership in the Turkish bus market in the total of our segments for the 13th time, we were also the most preferred bus brand of 2021. We are proud to note that nearly one out of every two vehicles sold in the entire bus market was Otokar. Furthermore, Otokar was the choice of major metropolises such as Ankara, Istanbul, and Izmir for public transportation. In tourism buses and personnel shuttles, one out of every two small buses that hit the roads in 2021 was Otokar’s Sultan model. On the other hand, Kent Electra traveled Europe, giving potential clients at every stop on the tour an opportunity to test our electric bus. Meanwhile, our Atlas trucks remained a top choice of fleets, outperforming market growth. Our key goals for 2022 are to maintain our leadership in the Turkish bus market and increase our exports, particularly to our primary market, Europe. 2022 will be a year of innovations and newness for Otokar.”
Otokar, Turkey's leading automotive company, once again confirmed its leadership in the Turkish bus market with the widest range of buses from 7 meters to 21 meters. H. Basri Akgül, Deputy General Manager, Domestic Sales & Marketing, and other Otokar executives provided an overview of 2021 at an online meeting. As the pioneer of the industry with vehicles produced with 59 years of experience, and many firsts in R&D, digital transformation, alternative fuel buses, and sustainability efforts, Otokar became the most preferred bus brand in Turkey for the 13th consecutive year.
“Despite the prolonged effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, Otokar was the top choice of Turkey for the 13th time in the total of its segments with buses designed and produced to meet client expectations, and seamless sales and after-sales services,” said Basri Akgül, Assistant General Manager, Otokar. “We developed our product range, highly popular in Turkey and across the world, to meet future needs, and expanded the areas where we lead. Despite the pandemic situation, we continued to promote our vehicles, share our competencies, and stand by our customers both in the domestic and international markets.
Basri Akgül, Assistant General Manager, Otokar, noted that the Turkish bus market grew by 8% by units last year, “Even though the intercity bus market shrank in 2021, total bus sales in Turkey increased by 8%. With a broad product range, after-sales services, high second-hand value of our vehicles, and the trust in our brand, we became the first choice of the industry again. As a result, we increased our market share by four points year on year in the total of our segments, meaning that one out of every two buses sold in Turkey was Otokar branded. We want to thank all our colleagues, business partners, and clients who prefer Otokar for making us the leader for the 13th time.”
Akgül added that the sales in the tourism bus and personnel shuttle segment increased significantly starting in June with the return to normal as Otokar’s small- and medium-size buses saw higher demand in the market. “Once again, Otokar was the top choice in the small- and medium-size bus market, which grew by nearly 5 percent year on year. In this segment, we sold around 700 buses, meaning that nearly one out of every two vehicles sold was Otokar branded, with Navigo becoming the most preferred vehicle in the market.”
Basri Akgül mentioned that the pandemic drove a major transformation in public transportation preferences. “The pandemic created a need to increase the capacity of public transportation vehicles. Therefore, many cities procured new buses last year, both to meet the needs that the pandemic created and also to upgrade their fleets. As a result, the market grew by approximately 75% year on year. The experience we gain from the vehicles operating across Turkey and in some of the largest metropolises worldwide guide us in further enhancing our buses, which rank among the most preferred models. For instance, one out of every two public transportation buses that municipalities purchased in 2021 was Otokar KENT. Furthermore, Otokar increased its share the most in the market. We were awarded public transportation tenders by Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir municipalities, becoming the bus supplier of the three largest cities in Turkey. In addition to completing the orders we received from ESHOT, an Izmir Metropolitan Municipality company, the previous year in 2021, we also delivered the buses ordered by EGO, an Ankara Metropolitan Municipality company, before the year ended. Moreover, we were awarded the tender for 100 metrobuses by IETT, an Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality company. We will deliver the metrobuses designed specifically for Istanbul in lots throughout the year.”
Referring to the 8.5-tonne Atlas, Otokar’s light truck that eases the workload of businesses in different sectors and highly acclaimed in the market with its refreshed makeup and features the previous year, Akgül said, “The 8.5-tonne truck market grew nearly 50 percent year on year. With the rising demand in the transportation market, our Atlas truck stood out with its high torque, powerful engine, and superior features, enabling us to outperform the market growth rate. With 64 percent increase in sales compared to 2020, Atlas became a top choice for fleets.”
Akgül added, “Otokar is a major driver of automotive exports in Turkey with public transportation vehicles providing comfortable and safe journeys for millions of passengers every day in our country and more than 50 countries worldwide. We maintained our growth trend in our target market Europe, from Italy and Germany to Spain, France and more. Seeing our buses designed and manufactured in Turkey used in major cities across the world makes us proud. We started delivering the 40-bus order to Bratislava, Slovakia. We will also complete the deliveries of the high volume orders received from Europe and the Middle East. As an important player in the global competition for alternative fuel vehicles and electric buses, Otokar received high volumes of natural gas-powered KENT CNG orders from Ukraine, Romania, and Azerbaijan, which we will deliver within the year. As you may remember, we had signed a major agreement with IVECO last year. As part of this agreement, work on manufacturing IVECO BUS buses in Turkey is currently ongoing.”
Basri Akgül, Assistant General Manager, Otokar, said: “As Turkey’s first electric bus manufacturer, Otokar started promoting its next-generation electric bus, e-KENT C, in Turkey and across Europe. The bus is received with great interest in the countries it visits. At IAA Mobility 2021, the first European exhibition that took place physically post-pandemic, our electric KENT bus carried more than 2,000 visitors. With a dynamic, elegant and modern design and low operating costs, KENT Electra draws attention wherever it goes. With a range of +300 kilometers, the bus received high acclaim in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Romania, and the Benelux countries.”
Akgül also provided some details about Otokar’s pioneering work. “We operate with a plant spread on 552 thousand square meters in Arifiye, Sakarya, and with more than 500 R&D engineers, our R&D spending in the last decade reached TL 1.3 billion. Otokar is a pioneer in Turkey with alternative fuel vehicles, smart, electric, and autonomous buses. Last year, our collaboration with Okan University continued on autonomous bus project. On the other hand, our R&D and design excellence was crowned with awards again. The innovative design of our highly acclaimed bus, Territo U, created specifically for the European market to meet intercity, personnel shuttle and school transportation needs, was recognized at the BIG SEE Awards 2021 and European Product Design Award.
For the last six years, Otokar has been included among the 61 companies on the Borsa Istanbul Sustainability Index (BIST), confirming its environmental, social and governance performance. In addition to following Koç Holding's 2050 Carbon Neutral Program regarding climate change and managing emissions, Otokar also works on alternative fuels, energy efficiency, and green sourcing. Furthermore, Otokar also adopts United Nations Global Compact and UN Women's Empowerment Principles, which are signed by Koç Holding.

In reference to Otokar’s 2022 goals, which include global expansion plans, Basri Akgül said, “This year, we aim to maintain our leadership in the domestic market and continue to invest in new areas to expand our reach. The latest European regulations require manufacturers to accelerate their efforts to transition to alternative fuel, eco-friendly, and electric buses. We see this as a great opportunity for Otokar. The activities to promote our vehicles will continue to drive exports to our target markets, particularly Europe. In addition, we intend to maintain the successful growth trend we captured in the truck market in the last two years. Another target for 2022 is to expand our pioneering electric vehicle product range. Both the domestic and international markets have long awaited our minibus. This year, the anticipation will be over as we launch a new minibus for public transportation with unrivalled design and features. 2022 will be the year of innovations and newness for Otokar.”