Turkey raised taxes on Chinese electric vehicles (EVs) to boost its national automotive program.
The country has imposed an additional 40 percent tariff on electric motor-only vehicles imported from China.
The decision was implemented as Turkey prepares to launch the country's first domestically produced EV, the Togg, which begins mass production starting in 2018, with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan inaugurating the mass manufacturing plant.
Togg will debut the SUV in the market in the first quarter of 2023, its first smart device in the C-segment, after completing the homologation test.
EV sales in Turkey nearly tripled to 7,733 units in 2022, driven by lower consumer tax rates than internal combustion engine vehicles. But they still account for just over 1 percent of the country's passenger car market.
The potential for growth has caught the attention of Chinese producers.
On March 1, Chinese new energy vehicle (NEV) giant BYD announced that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Turkish distributor ALJ Turkey to enter the country with its passenger cars and light commercial vehicles.
ALJ will establish a dealer network to provide sales and after-sales support for BYD's line of eco-friendly electric vehicles.
ALJ also plans to open several pioneering BYD retail stores in major cities in Turkey to showcase BYD's latest products and advances in EV technology, according to a press release from the Chinese NEV maker.
BYD sold 193,655 NEVs in February, up 27.96 percent from 151,341 units in January and up 119.36 percent from 88,283 units in the same month last year, according to figures it released on March 1.
In February, BYD sold 15,002 units of NEVs in overseas markets, up 44.13 percent from 10,409 units in January.