By on March 26, 2012

Iraq hasn’t had anything noteworthy in the automotive space since the Iraqi Taxi debacle of the 1980’s, but with a population larger than Saudi Arabia, substantial oil reserves and increasing stability, Iraq is becoming a new target for automakers eager to sell cars to a population that’s been barred from Western vehicles due to international sanctions.

General Motors, Volkswagen and Ford have all praised Iraq in Automotive News in various terms. One former Chrysler exec has recently set up two Chrysler showrooms in Iraq, despite having to endure collateral damage from terror attacks, in the belief that Iraq’s middle class represents a ripe market that will soon be ready to buy cars en masse. Some of the Iraqi Chrysler stores have the same problems as American stores – the lack of an entry-level, fuel efficient vehicle for example. Others, like being unable to visit the Baghdad flagship, aren’t the kind of thing that would occur in Peoria. Iraq is still fairly unstable, with unemployment rates approaching 40 percent according to some estimates. But with the Baghdad Chrysler store selling 400 cars last year, there may be room for future growth in such a marketplace.

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16 Comments on “Iraq May Be The Next Emerging Market...”


  • avatar
    28-cars-later

    Very interesting.

  • avatar
    european

    not going to happen. these ex-exec are just foolish misguided opportunists.
    btw Iraq population ~ SA population, but with 1/10 of the purchasing power. get ur facts together derek, before u post nonsense.

    • 0 avatar
      S2L2SC

      You might want to check the CIA world fact book – Iraq population is roughly 5,000,000 larger then Saudi Arabia.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        5 million can be a lot or a little.

        Here’s a more complete picture:
        Population of Saudi Arabia: 26,534,504
        Population of Iraq: 31,129,225
        Delta: 4,594,721 (+17%)

        Is that a big difference or not? Well, the USA has 311,591,917 people (>1000% difference), and China has 1,338,299,512 people (4300%), so I’d say that within the context of national populations, Iraq and Saudi Arabia are quite comparable.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Iraqis are dirt poor, and about to see their country descend into civil war.

    There won’t be any emerging market, except for Toyota Hilux trucks and RPGs.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Of course the American car companies will get a small share of the market, it’ll be the usual players Korea, Japan, Germany and we’ll most likely trail them all. After we put up all the money and lives.

    • 0 avatar
      CRConrad

      1) You’ve killed a lot more Iraqis than they have of you.

      2) Nobody asked you to go there and “put up lives”.

      • 0 avatar
        loader2000

        It is not a SIN to bemoan the fact that, like with the oil fields, we spilled so much blood and treasure when the Russians and Chinese are reaping the benefit. We are not evil and did not go in with evil intentions (or the Russians and Chinese would not be developing ANY oil fields in Iraq). This is way I don’t agree with the tone of your post.

      • 0 avatar
        CRConrad

        No, loader2K, it is perhaps not a sin, but not very relevant or smart either.

        And it is no more a sin to point out that bemoaning the blood, oil, and treasure you’ve spilled is rather hypocritical when A) only the latter is mostly yours; the two former mostly those of others; and B) you started spilling them all on your own; nobody asked you to, nobody held a gun (or any WMD) to your head, nobody (in the Iraq) attacked you before you attacked them.

        You write: “We are not evil and did not go in with evil intentions”. I was going to debunk this at great length, but the more I think about it, the more it seems that anything I could come up with boils down to two old sayings that say it all better than I ever could:

        1) Evil is as evil does.

        2) The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

        So, I’m sorry, but while I agree that the tone of your post was much nicer than mine, at least for me content trumps tone. And there I’ve got you beat hands down: You being nicer doesn’t help much when you’re also just plain in the wrong.

        Again, I’m sorry, but I suppose there just isn’t any nice way to wrap the unpalatable truth.

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    Whoever gets the contract to provide the refrigerator white paint will make a killing.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Oh but they had WMD’s

  • avatar

    The only thing Iraq is good for is producing natural resources for America to pilfer… I mean USE.

    We can only sell them our products if they have money. In order for them to have money, we have to give them money to build up their infrastructure. We have to invest in them. Problem is, how much money do Americans have to invest in Iraq when America is already bankrupt?

  • avatar
    Trabecular

    Of potential interest: somebody has a pretty spectacular corner on the market for Iraqi used cars, at least in the Kurdish region. When you buy a car, you have to get a license plate for it, and the government won’t give you one if the car is more than two years old. The result of this is that there is basically no used-car market. It’s all new cars. From what I can tell, used car dealerships basically don’t exist, and folks getting rid of their old cars sell them to exporters who take the vehicles out of country for resale.

    This probably ties in to efforts to reduce traffic. Car ownership was heavily restricted under Saddam, and so there was pent-up demand. When the US was in charge there everybody who could afford a car bought one. The roads weren’t built for that much traffic, though, so there are massive traffic jams all the time. The no-cars-over-two-years-old policy effectively drives prices up again, restricting car ownership to the wealthier folks. I’m sure it gives some well-connected people a nice, captive market of used-car sellers, too.

  • avatar
    vento97

    >Iraq May Be The Next Emerging Market

    For heavily-armored vehicles…


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