Best Selling Cars Around The Globe: In North Korea, You Can Have Any Car, As Long As It Is A Pyeonghwa

Matt Gasnier
by Matt Gasnier
best selling cars around the globe in north korea you can have any car as long as

After Argentina, Brazil and Libya, I am keeping the surprises coming thick and fast, with our next stop in our ‘round the world travel being… wait for it… North Korea! This way, Dear Leader Kim Jong will feel a bit less “ronery, so ronery, so ronery and sadry arone.”)

If you can’t wait for the next update and want to know all about car sales in 154 countries around the planet, simply go here.

Let’s clear the air right from the start: There are no official car sales figures available for North Korea. Didn’t think so did you? This is where my ‘alternative’ methods come in… Little bit trickier than other countries but I managed to find a few long enough and recent YouTube videos of the streets of PyongYang to get a rather clear idea of what cars sell best in North Korea.

I also have to say the task was made simpler by the fact that the same models kept coming back on screen, and to be honest, the streets of Pyongyang are not that crowded so it doesn’t take long for a rough ranking to come up.

Another (rather essential) fact to know is that the only car manufacturer/assembler in North Korea is Pyeonghwa Motors. (Wikipedia says there is a second NK car brand, but I couldn’t find any trace of it anywhere.)

Pyeonghwa has the exclusive rights to car production, to new and used car sales in North Korea and is the only company in the country permitted to advertise.

So that should make the sales ranking pretty straight-forward…

And straight-forward it is.

The best selling car in the country should be by far the Pyeonghwa Samchunri. Never heard of it? I hadn’t either. The Samchunri is a rebadged Chinese Jinbei Haise van, itself based on the 1989 Toyota Hiace. It is assembled in North Korea under license from Brilliance China Auto (which owns the brand Jinbei).

Another rebadged Brilliance, the Pyeonghwa Hwiparam II (aka Brilliance BS4) should follow at #2. If you really want to know, the Hwiparam I was a rebadged 1996 Fiat Albea. Don’t ask…

The third best selling model should be the Pyeonghwa Premio CUV, a rebadged Huanghai Shuguan. Think Hyundai Santa Fe nose, and previous generation Kia Sorento back… some kind of Kiandai Santa Sorento, except it’s called Huanghai Shuguan.

Stop laughing, you in the back!

There do seem to be some imports, which came as a surprise to me thinking probably that as nothing came out of North Korea, nothing came in either. Well the best selling imports should be the BYD F3, #1 in China in 2010, and the Lada Priora, currently #2 in Russia.

So there you have it, the best selling cars in North Korea. Hands up who knew which was the best seller before reading this article? Right. You did learn something today!

Now if you think I’m making all this up and don’t believe a word I say, (Pyeongwhat?) that’s ok. I knew some of you would! That’s why I prepared a few links for your entertainment…

The Wikipedia page about Pyeonghwa Motors is here, and I have selected three YouTube videos of the streets of Pyongyang for you to travel through the city as if you were there:

Pyongyang streets video 1

Pyongyang streets video 2

Pyongyang streets video 3

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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2 of 9 comments
  • Matt Gasnier Matt Gasnier on Mar 18, 2011

    This is a great link tech98 thanks very much for sharing!

    You will notice the Fiat Palios in your video all have a boot - which makes them a Fiat Albea or Siena (crazy eh?) and it was produced and sold in NK under the Pyeonghwa Hwiparam I name from 2002 to 2006...

  • Invalidattitude Invalidattitude on Apr 25, 2011

    Too bad they don't try to make some "people's car" like the Trabant instead those hardly affordable imported Brilliant BS4U...

  • RHD I wonder if these will be as easy to steal as so many other Kias are...
  • Zerog Isn't this the car that the self anointed AutoExtremist said would finally shut down Tesla AND the Prius?Just like his father - that Detroit bubble does him no good
  • Zerog When will the media admit that Mary Barra has simply been a disaster of a CEO, and "Dan the Man" Akerson is to blame?
  • Tassos When the Volt was on sale, it cost twice as much as the (better looking!) Chevy Cruze on which it was based. The interior of the Volt did not match that lofty price either. I like plug-in vehicles with a good Electric only range and no range anxiety. People with a 40 mile commute each way, if they were allowed to free charge at the office especially, could save some $ with the Volt, but not as much as to justify its lofty price.The 2nd gen VOlt was less nerdy looking than the 1st, but also even more similar to the new Cruze and indeed the Civic, which cost almost HALF. Then the geniuses at GM made a 2-door Caddy out of the Volt, the ELR, which was much smaller inside than the already cramped Volt, and... asked for... 4 times the price of the CRUZE. Don't remember the failed Caddy Cimarron? Neither did those morons.So a good idea in principle was screwed beyond recognition. GM Bled billions despite the lofty price, sold a bunch of VOlts, and finally had to cry "UNCLE". The end.I am not at all attracted by the VOlt's lousy interior. Its gas only MPG is also lousy compared to the ICE competition. A prius was 50% cheaper and far more sophisticated mechanically and got a stellar 50 MPG overall, and could be had in plugin with 10-20 mile range (the current one will double that again).
  • Buickman GM marketing killed many a car.