We have been to Africa already in our Round the World whirlwind adventure, in Libya, Yemen and Ivory Coast, but this weekend it is time to visit Egypt, where the ‘middle-eastern revolution’ movement has started.
Alas. the data revolution is delayed. In Egypt, we are again faced with the now familiar issue of having no official sales data. By now you would all know that this was not going to discourage me, however, this time I didn’t even need the help of my old mate YouTube because I have actually BEEN to Egypt, lucky me!
Now if you have been to Egypt too and already know all there is to know about which cars the pharaohs drive everyday, that’s ok, there are 154 more countries to explore in my blog, so either run to your mummy, or go, check out the blog. OK and now I will stop with random Egypt/pyramid/Cleopatra-related wordplays. I promise.
And as usual I will cut to the chase and tell you that if you were to remember just 3 words about the Egyptian car market they would be:
Chevrolet, Hyundai and Speranza.
Speran-what? I know.
But before I get to that, a bit of background. My trip to Egypt dates back to December 2008/January 2009, but the Egyptian car landscape most probably only marginally changed since then as most of the best selling models of that time are still in dealerships today in their current generation, making my little 2009 study – very conveniently – still relevant in 2011.
I visited Cairo, Luxor and Aswan so this study is the result of a good mix of big cities and touristic hubs. However there is nothing official in this speculation so if you have any more info about the Egyptian market please make sure to get in touch!
At the top of the ranking, the Chevrolet Aveo and the Hyundai Elantra are fighting it out for the 1st place. There is no foolproof way to figure out which of these two models is actually the best seller in Egypt but one thing is certain: they are head and shoulders above the competition.
Based on my observations, the model that should climb on the lowest step of the podium is the Speranza A516. “The what?” I can hear you say all the way from Sydney, Australia where I’m quietly writing this post …
Well. One of the most interesting characteristics of the Egyptian car market is the prevalence of Chinese models. I would even go as far as saying that Egypt is one of the few countries in the world outside China where Chinese models have managed to make a significant mark. The others would probably include Iraq, Laos, Madagascar, Ivory Coast, Cuba and Ethiopia. But you already knew this because you have been exploring my blog in detail. Ha!
In Egypt, the Chinese have proceeded differently. After General Motors bought Daewoo, Chery made an agreement with the owners of the Daewoo plant in Cairo in 2006 to assemble its models in the country under the brand Speranza, exclusive to Egypt.
So under the bizarrely-exotic-but-also-incomprehensibly-numbered Speranza A516 name is hidden a (slightly) more familiar Chery A5. And my estimations place the A516 in 3rd position in Egypt. Not bad at all and perhaps the highest position achieved by a Chinese model in an export market – 100% Chinese models already struggle to make it to the podium in their own country so figuring out how to do so overseas is probably something they haven’t sat down to think about yet. So there. This is what a Speranza A516 looks like:
And from behind:
Now while we’re at it with the Chinese, I can tell you that the Speranza A620 (a Chery Easter) and A113 (or Chery A1) should also find a place in the Top 20, based on the Cairo traffic landscape I got to see a couple of years ago. The Speranza A216 (or Chery QQ6) is a bit more discreet but I thought I’d still show one to you:
The other Chinese brand that seems to have had a good start in Egypt is Brilliance: the Galena is very likely to be in the Top 15, and the FRV was just starting a promising Egyptian career by the time I was there. To give you some perspective, a Brilliance in the Top 15 is something the brand is dreaming about achieving in China, and it hasn’t happened in a very long time…
Coming back to our models ranking: As I said earlier, Hyundai and Chevrolet seem to be dominating the streets. On top of the Elantra, Hyundai should also place the Matrix, the Verna (aka Accent) and the i10 in the Top 20.
As for Chevrolet, the Optra (the best seller in neighbor Libya) was likely to rank within the Top 5 when I was there, but in the meantime the Cruze launched in the country, so it is probably safe to assume the Optra, still on sale, has gone down a few steps whereas the Cruze would have entered the Top 20.
Toyota is also relatively strong in Egypt with Yaris Sedan ranking 4th in my estimated Top 20 and the Corolla ranked 7th, as well as Mitsubishi, placing the previous generation Lancer in 6th place and the current generation, called Lancer EX, in 9th.
You will also see a lot of 1970’s-1980’s Ladas in the streets of Cairo as taxis, as they used to be assembled in the country. Now the only reminder of good relationships with the Eastern Bloc is the Skoda Octavia ranking 11th.
Egyptian drivers haven’t yet fallen for the charms of / decided to waste large sums of money on imposing 4WD’s and as such the Daihatsu Terios is likely to be the best-selling 4WD in the country, in 12th place.
Estimated Top 20 in Egypt for 2008:
|4||Toyota Yaris Sedan|
|9||Mitsubishi Lancer EX|
This is it for Egypt! Now you know what to expect when you decide to fly there to explore pyramids, tombs and other diving spots (it is worth it by the way).
Note: I took all pictures featured in this article.
Matt Gasnier, based in Sydney, Australia, runs a blog named Best Selling Cars, dedicated to counting cars all over the world.