TOGG Turkish National Car started its humble beginning with the “More than an automobile” philosophy on June 25, 2018. They are on a brand journey that creates its own mobility ecosystem and rules. Presently, M. Gürcan Karakaş is the CEO at TOGG who held critical senior management roles in one of the world’s leading technology companies for 27 years.
The company is established by Turkish industry giants and the largest non-governmental organization in Turkey, namely Anadolu Grubu, BMC, Kök Grubu, Turkcell, Zorlu Holding and The Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB), who combined their forces to establish Turkey’s Automobile Joint Venture Group Inc. (TOGG), in the pursuit of creating a brand that it will have national intellectual property rights and compete in the global arena. TOGG develops electric, autonomous capable and connected vehicles with a mobility ecosystem that encompasses these technologies.
All because of this ecosystem, they aim to contribute to a clean future and facilitate the lives of large masses by not producing any harmful emissions. They are starting this journey with native electric, connected and autonomous capable series production C-segment SUVs (sport utility vehicles) in 4 Q 2022. New services, user experiences and business models will be developed within the peripheral of their smart and connected vehicle ecosystem.
The firm will facilitate the creation of novel ideas and technologies with its business partners and start-ups. Their production facility, which began construction in July 2019, is located in the Gemlik district of Turkey’s Bursa province. The capacity is 175 thousand units annually and the team is planning to produce over 1 million vehicles by 2032.
The company will produce five models -all are all-battery electric vehicles -a C-SUV, C-Sedan, C-HB, B SUV and a C-MPV. TOGG will go to market in 2023.
TOGG promises more than an automobile connected with all services that is called TOGG Smart Life. Working as a team with your smart home devices, smart network, and all other internet-connected devices; your car will also act as an assistant for you in many different areas of your life. It will produce scenarios that help you in many issues from the voltage drop in your home’s electricity to the iron left on the plug, from the delay of your child’s school service to the delivery of your internet shopping.
In the near future, as the car becomes the third living space, some of TOGG’s key concepts will be defining the mobility experience.
The underlying concepts of mobility for TOGG are:
- And Electrified,
This brings the concept of USE-CASE Mobility, which is a registered trademark of TOGG.
TOGG envisions becoming a global USE-CASE Mobility Provider, deep in the core of the company and the brand. And the mission is to be Mobility USE-CASE of Turkey.
Another key string of TOGG’s DNA is their brand where they aim at transforming mobility in flow with their users.
HURDLES ON THE WAY
The biggest challenge is to create a global mobility brand that is inherently electric, connected and to build its own ecosystem, and starting a business by producing Europe’s first native-born electric C-SUV.
THE DRIVING FORCE BEHIND THE SUCCESS
Turkey has huge potential with its young and dynamic population. The tendency towards new technology is high and surprising for those people who are not familiar with Turkey. For instance, Turkey is among the countries with the highest rate of social media and smartphone usage. The team believes this will be a critical factor for a technology company like TOGG. Along with this, Turkey has a strong supplier base for the automotive, feeding the majority of OEM’s across Europe and the globe. Therefore, this highly capable supplier base will also be a significant strength and opportunity for TOGG. Another aspect to mention would be the nourishing start-up environment. As a native company/brand taking all the decisions in Turkey, TOGG will be a platform and provide use-case scenarios for the start-ups that are emerging (currently it is not easy for local start-ups to get in close contact and take place in global OEM’s future plans).
TOGG is not only a car manufacturer and that is how they differentiate in the first place. TOGG is a mobility service provider technology company whose first hero product is going to be a BEV SUV. The purpose is to establish the core of the mobility ecosystem in Turkey and then expand this across borders. What also differentiates TOGG along with this purpose/goal is the unique partnership model of their shareholders. TOGG is a company with 6 shareholders. The focus & influence of these shareholders expands over a vast array of industries which adds to TOGG’s capabilities.
- TOBB: The largest NGO in Turkey
- Anadolu Group: Vast conglomerate which owns Turkey’s largest retail operation and also a significant player in automotive as both a manufacturer of commercial vehicles and a distributor for the Kia brand.
- Zorlu Group: Owner of leading consumer electronics brand (Vestel) and manufacturer
- Turkcell: The leading telco & technology company in Turkey
- BMC: Manufacturer of vehicles for the defence industry in Turkey
- Kök Group: Founded by the automotive doyen of Turkey, manufacturer of EV commercial vehicles for people transport under Karsan brand name.
EXCELLENT TEAM & WORKSPACE
- To achieve their vision and goals, the management team at TOGG forms a great team of successful professionals with never-ending learning ambition, emotional stability, interpersonal impact and intellectual capacity. Their team members are the ones who are driven by purpose, mastery, and autonomy, who always act with an attitude. These are the main strings that form their DNA. Here is about workspace:
- The TOGG team is living in a VUCA world. (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous). This is the nature of their business. Neither technology nor the customer expectations are mature enough. They are by nature prepared for situations like this.
- They are not working based on standards, because there is no base for standards. They do not have silos and functional excellence centres because there is no product and there is no time to have excellence.
- They do not have an organization chart since there is no one single organization yet having succeeded in what they plan to do. This does not mean they are not organized! They are organized differently, and this difference lies in full trust in the expertise of their people: they are organized in work streams and these workstreams are cross-functional, self-organized teams, empowered for de-centralized decision making for their purpose; what others call “agile collaboration”. They are born into that.
- The same is valid for the impact of digitalization, in the same manner; they are born into a digital world. Is it a challenge for us? No, just the opposite. They are creating the synergies of digital, remote, agile collaboration.
BUILDING LONG TERM CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP
In the heart of everything, TOGG places their users. For them, the user-centricity concept should overtake the customer-focus concept which the team believes is a key mental shift for a brand that claims a user-driven transformation. They are developing a smart device as the third living space (after home and office) that offers technological solutions in the fields of comfort, safety, health and entertainment for users. They are establishing their mobility ecosystem based on a digital platform where they want to integrate all their products, their services as well as services in their ecosystem. The smart home is a part of the smart living concept that they want to construct for their users within their ecosystem. The digital platform will allow the team to smart living solutions within the ecosystem.
THE ROAD AHEAD
TOGG does not use expressions like they are producing a car or developing a car. Because the TOGG defines itself as a technology company whose first product is a car (maybe even a car can be a second product). It immediately means the following: “Building a car is not enough to be successful in the medium and long term. It is not possible to achieve a transformation. Because if they manufacture automobiles, they will only produce a device that provides transportation from A to B. However, if they produce a smart device in the big puzzle that is defined as a mobilized ecosystem, they will create a new world where smart everything can be in communication with smart cities, thus creating very different business opportunities.
TOGG has a 15-year business plan. It puts this planning into practice with a team of a competent and dedicated team. In the current automotive industry, traditional companies that have been producing vehicles for 150 years are focused on a digital transformation by creating very important and costly projects. But TOGG does not need a transformation, because it was born into that transformation, and the company even calls itself born-digital in hashtags. Today, the world does not need transformation; traditional producers are working to achieve this transformation. When they see that they cannot succeed in this transformation alone in the short term, they choose to merge. But these mergers do not make them faster either. More agile, creative, collaborative, user-oriented organizations will be successful in the future.