by Bill Watson
In 1962, Chrysler established a joint venture with a group of Turkish investors, putting up 60% of the capital in a new Turkish company, Chrysler Sanaya A.S., which started making Chrysler trucks in 1964.
In 1978, Chrysler sold its interest to the Turkish investors Tatko, Ciftciler, and Rusensad; the firm, renamed Chrysler Kamyon Imalat ve Ticaret A.S., kept building Dodge, Fargo and DeSoto trucks in Turkey. Starting in 1991, they also made Hino (part-owned by Toyota) trucks; they also imported Chrysler passenger car and sport utility vehicles for sale in Turkey, and began exporting trucks to Egypt. Chrysler continued to provide components and technical assistance.
After the 1998 Daimler takeover, Chrysler restarted the sale of cars in Turkey under their own name, buying or taking the Turkish firm’s rights to market Chrysler and Dodge vehicles in Turkey in 2002. The local group changed its name to Askam Kamyon Imalat ve Ticaret A.S., and sold trucks under the Fargo, DeSoto, and Hino names; Chrysler sold all its Chrysler- and Jeep-branded vehicles in Turkey.
In 2003, 30%-owner Ciftciler Group purchased the stock of the other two stockholders, Tatko and Rusensad. The firm continues to sell trucks badged as Fargos and DeSotos. The truck styling is modern and up to date, and the trucks themselves have a variety of sources, including Hino, Daewoo, and LDV.
2015 staff update. In passenger cars, the sole Chrysler Corporation brand to survive is an adopted one — Jeep, which sold just about 2,300 cars for the first eight months of 2015. In contrast, BMW sold 19,316 cars, Hyundai sold 31,176, and Renault sold 60,093. Fiat registered 28,473 cars and 35,061 commercial vehicles and could claim the best selling car (Linea) for the first eight months of the year.
Mike Sealey wrote: Turkey's 1972 DeSoto truck line looked like pre-Wagoneer Jeep pickups and wagons, though the 4wd models were called "Power Wagon" just like back home, and they had Slant Sixes.
According to Ozcan Akengin, there are many 1950s-1960s American vehicles in the big cities, but few elsewhere. Adana has many American cars because American officers tend to leave them behind on their way back home, through the air base. There are little garages, spread all over Istanbul, specializing in American car locating and selling. People running these shops are called "Americaners." Most of these people, car owner or seller, have little technical and historical knowledge about the cars. There are some serious people running this business also but they are asking very high prices and they are serving the rich elite, not the average enthusiast.
There aren't many sources if you need parts. In Istanbul you either go to Taksim square where most American aftermarket stores are located, or go to two junkyards — collections of small garages dismantling what is available. There are two or four garages specializing in American cars. There are also some industrial complexes built for car rebuilders and garages; some specialize in American cars. I think that the situation is the same for other big cities.
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