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Transition to Industry

​​Vehbi Koç had already developed his business in Istanbul and Ankara, and improved his knowledge of the market. He had also traveled to Europe and the United States after he obtained representation rights from some companies.

His travels to the more developed parts of the world helped him acquire a broader business vision and foresight for him to create new enterprises and make new investments for future development. He realized that existing local know-how and technology for the production of certain goods fell short of meeting the needs of the Turkish population and understood the necessity of establishing foreign relations.

He undertook license agreements to make up for the existing shortcomings in know-how and technology. By the end of the 1940s, the Group realized another significant milestone leading to its further development by becoming active in the manufacturing sector in line with the industrialization policies adopted by the Turkish state.

Vehbi Koç established the first light bulb factory in cooperation with General Electric in 1948. At that time, it simply was not possible to establish a light bulb factory with local means only. This industrial enterprise became successful in satisfying the real needs of the Turkish people.

Vehbi Koç's relations with foreign countries may be interpreted as an effort to make up for the lack of sufficient local information while it may also be interpreted as a manifestation of the need and demand for foreign relations and internationalization of the economy. In the 1950s, Koç Group began its local manufacturing investments to replace imported goods in line with the rapidly developing manufacturing efforts in Turkey.

The Group started establishing production companies with the aim of saving from foreign currency and established a network of trading companies covering many parts of the country for the distribution of the finished products. In fact, the growth of Koç Group and its contributions to the national economy become even more significant when evaluated within the overall efforts of industrialization and development in Turkey.

The realization of various industrial enterprises was made possible by these preceding efforts. The first locally manufactured car, the first locally manufactured tractor, the first locally manufactured truck, the first locally manufactured light bulb, the first locally manufactured refrigerator, the first locally manufactured washing machine...

The transfer of know-how and technology received through license agreements also translated itself into joint ventures. The foundation of Tofaş, in partnership with Fiat, Türk Siemens,in partnership with Siemens, Mako, in partnership with Magneti Marelli and the transformation of Ford-Otosan cooperation into a joint venture are all products of this corporate philosophy.

The joint venture is the form of cooperation that extends the span of technology and know-how transfer foreseen in licensing agreements. The Group developed a network of such ventures while trying to make up for the technological shortcomings with more licensing agreements. As a matter of fact, once discredited as "assembly industries", such cooperation helped the companies in the Group improve their technologies, know-how and experience to enable them to generate their own technologies.

​In the 1960s, the innovation and diversification of product groups substantially expanded the product range of Koç Group companies. The Group was involved in a broad range of activities varying from agricultural equipment to textiles, various office supplies to heating equipment, radio and TV sets to household goods such as refrigerators, washing machines and vacuum cleaners, from furnaces, ovens, fiber glass, boilers, radiators and liquid petroleum gas to two, three and four wheel vehicle production and parts and components manufacturing, from food processing to retail chain stores, from tourism to finance and insurance services. As the economic development of Turkey gained pace after the creation of Turkey's first domestic car brand, Anadol, Koç Group produced Murat, Tempra, Ford Taunus and Ford Escort.