By on February 20, 2012

In the last couple of weeks, we have been to Czech RepublicOmanIsrael and Belarus. This week I have decided to take you to one of the most obscure part of the world: Eritrea.

I know.

That’s why you have a map above, to help you locate this country of 6 million inhabitants located in the Horn of Africa. Eritrea declared its independence in 1993 but no national elections have been held since… In the 2010 Press Freedom Index, Eritrea ranked #178 out of 178, yes that is last, below North Korea at #177. Independent media being banned since 2001 didn’t help…

Obscure I told you.

But I wasn’t going to let that deter me to find out what cars sell best there…

The Eritrean car market is actually pretty easy to decipher because a handful of cars clearly dominate the streets.

In all likeliness and judging by the number of old gen models filling the streets, the Toyota Hilux should be the best selling vehicle in Eritrea.

The Toyota Corolla should follow.

Indeed around 60% of the cars in circulation in the streets of the capital Asmara are Toyotas: old gen Hilux, Corolla and Land Cruiser.

There is also a significant amount of old gen VW Beetles…

Picture by Eric Lafforgue. All rights reserved.

The taxis swarming the streets are either 2003 Kia Rio sedans…

…or 1992 Opel Vectra sedans.

And that’s pretty much all there is to say about Eritrean cars!

Come on, surely this entire article is a giant golden nugget that will make you shine during posh dinners!

And why don’t you tell me which country you’d like me to cover next week?

Thanks for listening.

Info for this article is based on recent YouTube videos of the streets of Eritrea’s capital Asmara.

Matt Gasnier, based in Sydney, Australia, runs a blog named Best Selling Cars, dedicated to counting cars all over the world.

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21 Comments on “Best Selling Cars Around The Globe: What Sells Best In Eritrea?...”


  • avatar

    This is “Best Selling Cars Around The Globe” #52, and this means:

    One year of “Best Selling Cars Around The Globe” at TTAC. Happy birthday!

    Matt could have picked a more desirable location for his birthday bash than Eritrea, but what the heck.

    • 0 avatar
      ...m...

      …actually, unless matt started with “Best Setting Cars Around The Globe” #0, *next* week will be one year, with all the opportunity that affords for a more auspicious destination…

      …that said, thanks for the geography lesson!..i’d never even heard of eritrea before this morning: clearly my twenty-five-year-old reference materials aren’t doing me any favors…by the way, when are you doing the soviet union?..

  • avatar

    I didn’t know about this country until JUST NOW. Thanks TTAC!

  • avatar
    wstarvingteacher

    I’m retired after a considerably long tour in the military. One of the things I enjoy about this series is that you cover places I have been (and a whole lot more). I was fortunate enough to never visit this little garden spot but it’s about what I would have expected.

    While we fuss about seat cusions, most of the world is happy to have something that starts, runs, and that you can afford to stuff gas through. A welcome break.

    Congrats on your year.

  • avatar
    marjanmm

    I vote for Chile. I was very surprised to see an incredible mix of American, Euro and Chinese market cars on the streets of Santiago. An F150, a new Mustang, a Citroen C4 coupé, a Peugeot 206 and a Great Wall Wingle all waiting at the same traffic light is an everyday sight.

  • avatar
    Toad

    Interesting article. BTW, why/how did you end up in Eritrea?

  • avatar

    Georgia? The country. Or Burma. Dunno if you’ve done either.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    I have a friend in Djibouti right now; how about going there and reporting?

  • avatar

    Erithrea is weird. It’s kind of a fake country — not very dissimilar to the “Palestinian State”, which declared independency in 1948 and first thing first tried to destroy its neighbour. Erithrea’s aggression against the former country, Ethiopia, equally ended poorly. Erithrea exists because partitioning is the only tool remaining in the toolbox of the international bureaucracy. A problem? Partition the heck of it, problem solved. That’s how we’ve got Kosovo, Southern Sudan, etc. The resulting car market usually shows enormous volatility, because cars follow the bureacracy whims, which manifest as block purchases or huge “reconstruction” tranches. Once those KIA taxies run out, there’s going to be a new block.

    The most interesting Cars Arounud the Globe articles for me were those that dealt with real countries, which have genuine market trends, reflecting local conditions. For example, who thought that 2104 and 2108 continued to be the best-selling cars in Russia (despite Mr. Putin stumping for a yellow Kalina)? Or that the Toyota MPV is so loved in Indonesia?

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      To me, partitioning is a mystifying tool. It exchanges close-contact disputes for cross-border disputes. India-Pakistan comes to mind, in addition to the other examples you cite.

      However, countries born of partitioning are still ‘real’. What makes them seem less real is when they lack market, personal, or civil freedoms, and thus their car markets will be similarly distorted.

      • 0 avatar
        Spike_in_Brisbane

        It looks like Eritreans drive on the right, yeah?

        By the way, partition is just a modern way of defining borders. It has been going on forever. Check out Hadrian’s Wall or the counties of England or Italy or the ever changing Slavic borders or North/South Ireland. Even the example of Texas/California/Mexico. People’s long memories and bitterness over border changes seem to take up more of their effort than working to get along with their neighbours. It’s a pity.

    • 0 avatar
      mesg

      Dear Pete/puppet need to comment related the topic……to which fake country you are belonging…..you are fake too……

  • avatar
    Joss

    The only way that beats this control-the-population-border-of-walls-thingy is getting a leg over them figuratively or literally…

    Next up: I vote the Isle of Man. Not a country but a separate legislative where Clarkson hangs for tax relief. Let’s see how many Cadillacs he gets to drive and trounce over there. Make sure you trespass on his estate by following all heritage paths.

  • avatar
    niky

    So, the conclusion is: Rio?

    Fantastic!

  • avatar
    lilpoindexter

    Bolivia or Paraguay

  • avatar
    Lokki

    I vote Paraguary an interesting climate in an interesting locaction with an interesting population. My first guess is tha Mercedes is the popular car there with VW second. My third guess would be old French cars – after all it is Tierra del Feugo.


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