Turkish auto output seen at record level this year - Association

ISTANBUL, July 12 Sun Jul 13, 2014 3:00am EDT

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ISTANBUL, July 12 (Reuters) - Turkish automotive production is expected to hit a record this year as a recovery in European demand drives up exports from Europe's fifth-biggest producer, the Automotive Manufacturers Association (OSD) said on Sunday.

The association expects output to rise by 11 percent to 1.25 million units from 1.13 million units in 2013.

"I believe the production will break the record this year on rising exports. The increased capacity and exports will help us produce more than 1.19 million units. Exports will be at record levels, too, at around 910,000 units," OSD head Kudret Onen said.

Turkey's highest automotive production was in 2011 with 1.19 million units.

Global carmakers, such as Toyota and Ford, have shifted some of their production to the nation of 77 million to take advantage of its geographical position as a bridge between Asia and Europe and its relatively cheap labour costs.

Hyundai Assan and Toyota Turkey's new models and Ford Otosan's renewed Transit and Courier models helped increase exports, Onen said.

Toyota began producing a new version of its best-selling Corolla in Turkey last year, while manufacturers including Ford, Fiat Chrysler and Hyundai have new model launches in conjunction with local joint venture partners this year and next.

Automotive sales account for some 14 percent of Turkey's overall exports. The country exported 828,000 vehicles worth $21.5 billion last year, with European markets accounting for 70 percent of that total.

(Reporting by Evren Ballim, Writing by Ece Toksabay, Editing by Louise Heavens)

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