ECONOMY

Turkish car sales leap 172 percent in September

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkish car sales leapt 172 percent in September as the industry benefited from improved consumer demand amid a general economic revival, a sector official said yesterday. Car sales jumped to 23,772 units from 8,753 a year earlier, bringing sales in the first nine months of 2003 up to 119,183 units from 54,388 the previous year – a surge of 119 percent. The official said the growing demand was becoming more evident as concerns eased in the economic and political arenas. «Given this situation, total car sales this year are expected to exceed 160,000,» the official said on condition of anonymity. Car sales last year totaled 90,615. Turkey’s Constitutional Court on Tuesday struck down for the second time a key car tax measure that was part of the government’s plans to raise revenue as it works to meet an IMF-backed primary surplus target for this year. The government had pushed through Parliament a revised version of a supplementary motor-vehicle tax it said would raise 1,100 trillion lira (around $800 million) after the same court ruled in July the measure was unconstitutional. The sector official said yesterday he did not expect the car tax issue to have a significant impact on car sales.