Otokar began business in 1963 as Turkey's first intercity bus manufacturing company under the license of Magirus Deutz of Istanbul. Otokar was noted for manufacturing the most modern buses and modern intercity vehicles for that period. During the 1970s, Otokar launched air-cooled minibuses with Deutz AG engines. During this period, Turkey's largest conglomerate Koç Holding purchased the majority of Otokar shares. Within its mass transportation strategies, in the early 1980s, Otokar added the inner-city bus to its product line.
In the early 1980s, Otokar began inner-city bus production and in the mid-1980s, Otokar manufactured the first Turkish armored vehicle as an armored car. In 1987, the Turkish Armed Forces had Otokar manufacture military Land Rover Defenders in Turkey in agreement with Land Rover.
In the early 1990s, Otokar developed the Otokar Armored Personnel Carrier, Otokar Akrep, and Otokar Cobra; Turkey's first 4x4 light-armored tactical wheeled vehicles by combining its armor technology with its experience in military vehicles. In 1997, Otokar moved to its new plant in Sakarya, Arifiye.
In 2002, Otokar acquired a trailer and semi-trailer production company from Koç Group Company of Istanbul Fruehauf A.S. Later in 2002, with its experience in public transportation Otokar developed the small bus called the Navigo which is marketed in Turkey with Sultan brand. In 2003, Otokar initiated a cooperation with Singapore Technologies Kinetics (STK) for the new 8x8 tactical armored vehicle Otokar Yavuz. In 2005 Otokar widened its line of armored vehicles.
In 2007, The Subsecretary for Defence Industries of Turkey launched negotiations with Otokar on the eventual contractual agreement to develop and produce Turkey's first indigenous tank.
In 2011, Otokar achieved 890,000,000 TL turnover, 72% higher than 2010. Mostly due to civil products, the sales were extended to European countries leading to the establishment of the Otokar Europe office. The company introduced Arma 8x8 ACV, Arma 6x6 EOD, Mizrak RCT and exhibited Altay MBT's early prototype in 2011.
Otokar produces the famous M-series minibuses, which have had the largest percentage by far among all dolmus's in Istanbul and Ankara since its introduction in 70s. These 14-seat minibuses are particularly known for their cubic shape, durability, long life expectancy and low operation costs. M-2000, M-3000, and M-2010 are the most current vehicles from this series, which actually started long time ago under a different coding system. Initially the vehicles were named after their engines as Magirus, but as the company built confidence among its customers, they started using their own brand. The last member of the series, M-2010 has an Iveco engine and this marks the first time in this series where they abandoned Deutz engines.
Otokar manufactures several buses for civilian mass transit use. Its line of Navigo buses range from the Navigo 125L with 25 seats and 6.3 m in length to the Navigo 160SE with 31 seats at 7.1 m in length. The smaller buses use a Deutz engine and the larger models use a Cummins 180 HP Euro VI diesel engine. However the Turkish version of Navigo which name is Sultan has Euro V emission standards. The Navigo is marketed as the "Sultan" in Turkey. The larger more luxurious models have a 45-litre refrigerator, hostess seat, announcement system, optional additional heater and optional double layer glass, DVD, VCD, MP3 player and LCD TV systems.
Since April 2007, Otokar has also started to manufacture a new 9 meter, rear engined bus called Doruk in Turkey and Vectio in other markets.
Otokar is the bus supplier for Inter Trust of Bulgaria.
Otokar, under Land Rover license, produces several Land Rover variants and models. These include the Land Rover Defender 90, Defender 110, and Defender 130 for use as utility, ambulances, and rescue vehicles.
Otokar produces wheeled military vehicles for the Turkish Armed Forces as well as other countries.
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