By on March 26, 2011

Alright so let’s keep these ‘round the world’ updates as relevant to world news as possible: After Libya, I decided to go to troubled Yemen to give you an idea of what cars the Yemeni consumer prefers.

Now if you don’t really care about Yemeni car sales but would like to know all about the best selling models in 153 other countries around the planet, simply go here. It’s my blog and I swear you will love it. Yes I do.

The best pupils in the TTAC class room will have noticed that I alternate countries with official car sales data (Argentina,  Brazil, Spain), and countries without (Libya, North Korea and now Yemen) just to keep things interesting…

So no prizes here for you guys if you guessed that there are no official car sales figures coming from Yemen. But as you should know by now that doesn’t mean we can’t find out which cars sell the most. Not sure how they spell You Tube in Yemen, but it was again very useful to observe the streets of the country’s biggest cities and count the cars…

As it happens, Yemen is very similar to a lot of its middle-east neighbors in the fact that Toyota has established a seemingly unassailable domination of the market.

The valiant Toyota Hilux should be the best selling vehicle in Yemen, as it is in 27 other countries in the world. Especially in those where one looks for a near bullet-proof base for a light (or even heavy) machinegun.

Yes the Hilux (not the Corolla) should be the vehicle that reaches the #1 spot in the highest amount of countries around the planet. If that kind of data pushes your buttons, you should check this out. It’s the (estimated) list of the 57 cars that are #1 somewhere in the world.

Below the dominating Hilux, the 2nd best selling vehicle and best selling passenger car in Yemen should be the Toyota Yaris Sedan, sometimes also called Vios, Vitz or Belta is other parts of the world (mainly Asia).

As far as I could see, Toyota should place two other regional best-sellers in the following positions: the huge Toyota Land Cruiser should be 3rd and the Toyota Camry should be 4th.

Yes Toyota in all likelihood delivers an impressive 1-2-3-4 in Yemen. The only brand that seems to somehow ‘compete’ with Toyota in Yemen is Hyundai. The Hyundai Getz, Sonata, and Tucson should find their way into the Yemeni Top 10 best selling cars.

There you go, that’s the Yemeni best selling cars ticked off…

So what country do you want me to cover next? Go on, let me know…

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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23 Comments on “Best Selling Cars Around The Globe: Yemen Hearts Hilux...”

  • avatar

    Hi Matt!

    Wonder how much they retail for? In Brazil Hilux is strictly for better off people. Companies also avoid them due to high initial price and maintenance costs. The heavy hitter down here is the Mitsubishi L200. It’s way cheaper and as tough as nails. BTW, it’s the old model…

    Now as to country I’d like to see..I’ve always had a hankering to find out what Mongolians are buying nowadays. Just kidding (though it could be interesting). top seller there…some Lada? A Chinese car?

    Maybe you could do Colombia. I lived there in the 80s. Seemed like Reanult ruled the roost, together with Chevrolet and Suzuki. Though all kinds of cars were there. From Citrroen 2CV, to Dacia, to Fiat. Wonder how it looks like today?

    Another interesting country would be Mexico. Latin like us but very different from Brazil. “Almost” night and day. Nissan is still king there? An American company? Perhaps some of the new comers like Renault are having success. Or is it VW country?

    Hope to hear from you soon.

    • 0 avatar

      From my Mongolian contacts here in Beijing (they congregate in a certain bar that earned the nickname “Mongolian Embassy”) I hear that second hand Japanese cars are big in the land of yurte & yak. I really should go there – to check out the cars, of course.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s a topic, too. What countries used cars sell more than new ones. I’ve heard this is big in Russia, too. In fact, all over SE Asia. Even Peru and Ecuador seem to suffer from this. Interestingly it’s always JDM cars. Seen vans specially with steering on wrong side a couple of times in Peru.

    • 0 avatar

      Marcelo, a friend of mine that travels around Latam for work reasons, told me that in Peru JDM cars have the cambio de timon made in the port. IIRC someone took him to one of the shops where it is done befoere selling the car.
      Cambio de timon = putting the steering in the CORRECT side of the car.

    • 0 avatar

      I understood. However, or my eyes fooled me, or some infact don’t get that treatment (or maybe it was just a long time ago). Maybe grey or illegal imports.

      Talking of illegals. Matt the Paraguay market must be crazy. Reputation is most cars sold there are almost brand new Brazilian and Argentinian cars that are robbed and taken and sold there. Apparently the registration process is very easy to get around (legally or not)

    • 0 avatar

      The favorite vehicle in Mexico is a stolen U.S. truck– either full-size Chevy or a Toyota 4Runner

    • 0 avatar

      “I’ve heard this is big in Russia, too.”
      In Russia it depend in which part on country. In Far East used JDM is almost 100% of all cars, because JDMs are few years old, in good condition and not that expensive. In European part of Russia German and Swedish cars are most popular, – BMW, Ford, Opel, VW, Audi, Volvo – imported used from Germany or Switzerland, but not from other parts of Europe, because  used cars from Germany or Switzerland are better maintained and are in better condition (no harsh winter e.g.). German cars are easy to maintain and repair, parts are widely available and cheap. German cars like BMW can last like 300K – 400K km with some repairs. The problem with Japanese cars is that they do not drive and handle as well as German cars, parts are expensive and difficult to find and after certain mileage they fall apart – everything breaks down at once. German (or American) cars have problems coming one at the time so you are not overwhelmed with fixing them, and are more durable in general, less disposable if you want.  Asian car has a reputation of disposable cars – after say 200K km you have to replace the whole car because everything starts to break down. Nobody seriously considers French or Italian used cars they have reputation of being junk. American cars are not practical in Russia and considered as a luxury.

  • avatar

    I cannot speak for Yemen, but I do know that in the 1970s and 1980s individual governments in the Middle East had agreements with various foreign governments – oil for cars or something of the sort. So, there would be an influx of tens of thousands or cars (usually all in one or two colours) from one manufacturer, usually Toyota (given that the Japanese are politically neutral).  By the same token, if France were seen as a hostile nation, there would be no trade dealings at all, meaning that Peugeots, Citroens, and Renaults would not be imported at all. It was hardly an open market where Toyota would “conquer” imports. The playing field was not level.
    Things may be different now, no doubt.
    Interestingly, Japanese makes have dominated North America and the Middle East, but remain a small player in Europe.

    • 0 avatar

      Very true. Back in the 70s and maybe early 80s, VW do Brasil exported Passat to Iraq (before the war). Most (if not all ) beige. I remember how the engineers went on and on about the high capacity of the AC. That at a time when ACs in Brazilian cars was almost science fiction. How envious I was.

      BTW, you can still see the cars puttering around Baghdad anytime you turn on CNN. Most seem to have a combination of orange and beige parts for some reason.

    • 0 avatar

      I remember how the engineers went on and on about the high capacity of the AC. That at a time when ACs in Brazilian cars was almost science fiction.
      LOL, It seems like they never had the chance to drive or be in a 80’s Malibu or Caprice. Nice cool A/C. Also Celebrity, Century.
      Still, Brazilian cars A/C could be better.

  • avatar

    Matt: suggestion for coverage, another closed-off nation: Iran?

    • 0 avatar

      Easy mate:
      Saipa SABA and Nasim. Kia Pride sedan and 5 door hatch. Cheapest car over there.
      IKCo Samand. Iran’s national car.
      Peugeot 405, Pars
      Peugeot 206
      Kia Rio
      Less amount
      Citröen Xantia (with the fancy hydraulic suspension, saw the assembly and had nightmares for 3 days after seeing the 5565584554654653213215484898 pipes)
      Xsara, C5
      Toyota HiAce
      Old Nissan Patrol
      Benz (bastante) and BMW (poquito)
      No American cars, new at least. They like them however.
      One of the biggest CNG fleet in the world too.

    • 0 avatar

      Hey mhadi, funny you mention Iran as it is one of the most popular posts in my blog…. And Stingray yes you are very close to the mark with your list. IKCO has released a couple of new cars since the Samand, very interesting to follow.
      So for the moment we’re looking at Colombia, Mexico, Mongolia or Iran… but no country comes up more than once, guys keep on voting!

    • 0 avatar

      I change my vote: Mongolia. Now, that would be interesting.

  • avatar

    Yumpin’ yiminy!!!!!!!

  • avatar

    “tens of thousands or cars (usually all in one or two colours) from one manufacturer,”
    Officer, the car caroming off my camel was a cream Corolla.

  • avatar

    Still loving one of the last Hilux based rigs sold in the US here.

  • avatar

    from personal experience, i can tell you that the koreans dominate in Ghana. while I was there I started seeing the effects of oil investment, with lots of new hyundais and kias (mostly the CUVs, flooding during monsoon season is horrible), as well as chevrolet aveos on the road. I also remember seeing quite a few Ssangyong pickups in Accra. foreigners also tended to buy Korean; while its a safe country, being white and driving a nice car tended to lead to carjackings.

    most of the taxis were used Kia Prides or Daewoos (dont remember the model). That said, I used to hope for a Micra taxi, as those were the only ones that had working air conditioning.

    the large NGOs tended to buy Toyota Landcruisers and Nissan Patrols by the boatload for staff, smaller NGOs loved the Nissan Navarra.  

    the odd car sights? a purple and black two-tone Citroen 2CV, a mid-90’s Dodge Viper, and a completely molested BMW X6.

  • avatar
    M 1

    The Hilux is the gun-truck platform of choice, bar none. We sold a few hundred of these into the African continent a few years ago, and between the north-coast cluster f*cks and the messes further south, I keep wondering how many of our imports are now sporting hardpoints.

  • avatar

    Please do a piece on a small Pacific island next, say Samoa who recently went from LHD to RHD.

  • avatar

    Guys this is great. I was planning to visit Mongolia in the near future (this year or next) so I suggest I do a full-on video report when I’m there. How does that sound? So you can discover the Mongolian car market at the same time as i do…
    How about Nigeria? Anyone?

    • 0 avatar

      I’ll take you. According to our Mongolian contacts, the time to go is July. Even end of August it will be frigid in Ulan Bataar. I have some good looking tour guides who have a brother with a slightly used Land Cruiser. I’ll follow in a Chinese knock-off of the Russian UAZ-469.
      Nigeria you can go alone.

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