It’s Friday, but it’s also Veterans Day. North of the border, it’s Remembrance Day — something I was reminded of when a pair of CF-18s buzzed this writer’s home at 11:11 this morning.
Because of the solemn date, our weekly look at odd automotive news will take on a camo green tinge. Sure, we’d love to regale you with stories of Allied forces turning their jeeps and 6×6 trucks into mobile gun platforms in the mud of western Europe, but that’s in the past.
Today, we look at a Syrian mystery vehicle, militants with wood, and a city terrorized by a bland color. (Read More…)
The long-awaited battle to retake the northern Iraq city of Mosul — an ISIS stronghold for the past two years — began this morning, with Allied forces supporting the Iraqi Army troops and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in their quest against the Islamic State.
One player has a heavy presence on both sides of the battle, and it isn’t a person or organization. It’s the Toyota Hilux, the go-to vehicle for terrorists and allies in the war-torn region. So numerous is the do-anything pickup, that the Iraqi ambassador to the U.S. questions how so many Toyotas could find their way into ISIS hands. (Read More…)
Mosul is the largest population center in northern Iraq, but it has been in ISIS hands since extremist militants overran the city of 2.5 million in June of 2014.
Taking the city back has proven a challenge, but the Iraqi Army, backed by Allied forces, plans to deploy a new tool to make it happen. It’s no longer than a Mazda MX-5, and not nearly as sexy, but Iraq thinks this four-wheeled robotic death car gives them a big advantage. (Read More…)
We’ve all dealt with a car salesman who wanted us to sign our life away on an overpriced import, but there’s a good chance that’s literally happening in Iraq right now.
Reuters reports that Islamic State fighters have taken to running car dealerships as a way of making money, now that allied airstrikes have cut off much of their oil-generated income. (Read More…)
Despite their psychopathic barbarity, ISIS fighters fear many things — women, music, culture, bathing, and now a lone tank dubbed “The Beast.”
According to U.S. military official Col. Steve Warren, an American-trained Iraqi tank crew has become a one-vehicle Dirty Dozen in the aptly named Iraqi city of Hit, the Associated Press has reported.
As part of ongoing efforts to retake the city from ISIS militants, the lone crew is “tearing it up” with its distinctively midwestern machine, obliterating every unfriendly target of opportunity with its General Dynamics M1A1 Abrams.
China may be a hotbed for automakers to bring in their latest and greatest, but exports of its automotive wares aren’t as hot these days.
Global oil prices are on the rise as the crisis in Iraq contributes to market instability. Large chunks of Iraq’s oil production infrastructure have fallen under militant control, leading to a sharp drop in output. Meanwhile, Canadian officials are upset with the Obama administration’s handling of the Keystone pipeline. They contend that the inaction on Keystone is keeping millions of barrels of Alberta crude from reaching more profitable markets.
While Russia, Indonesia, Brazil and even Burma get the majority of the car industry’s attention when it comes to emerging markets, Iraq is also considered to be an up-and-coming place to sell cars. Iraqis have a funny habit of enjoying cars that are linked to foreign armies; American cars are fairly popular in the country, and so are Iranian machines too.
Iraqis call the Dodge Charger ‘Obama’. And why not.
After taking you to Japan, Puerto Rico, Poland and Australia, today we’re flying to Iraq. Well figuratively.
Not too keen on Baghdad? That’s ok. You can travel to 170 other countries and territories in my blog. Or today I can offer you the 264 best-selling models in the USA in October 2012. Every single one of them.
Where were we?
The kingdom of General Motors and Chrysler… Yes sir.
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.
Japan’s auto industry is slowly putting its toes back into the Iraqi quicksand. Their stalking horse is Sumitomo, which established the first office of a Japanese company in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion of 2003, The Nikkei [sub] reports. The office is in the business center at Baghdad’s international airport, surrounded by American military facilities. They’ll build the world’s most heavily guarded workshop. (Read More…)