By on March 3, 2011

After having covered Argentina, if you thought I would lazily go down the alphabet to finish on Zimbabwe you were WRONG! I like surprises, as I’m sure you do too, so given Libya is at the center of world news at the moment, why not have a look at the cars that sell best in that country – as long as it’s still there.

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

There is no official data about car sales in Libya*, but that wasn’t going to discourage me. When faced with this situation, I have two ways of finding out which are the best selling cars in any given country:

1. Go to that country and observe the streets, count (yes, this is my fetish) the new cars roaming around until there’s a pool of a few hundreds and see which ones appear most often. If done meticulously and in a few different cities, it can give a pretty accurate idea of the new car landscape of the country. I’ve done this in Egypt. But until I get a travel budget from TTAC (working on it….ha!) this is not going to happen too often.

2. Failing that, I go and talk to my old mate YouTube. It’s amazing the number of videos people upload of themselves driving in the streets of any given city in the world. Boring? Not so. I go through as many recent street videos of the selected country. As surprising as it may sound, a pretty good picture of that country’s best selling cars starts to appear. Not 100 percent accurate of course, but better than nothing.

Right. Now that we have the methodology out of the way, let’s get down to serious business.

Libya is easy because there are just a few models that keep popping up in the streets of Tripoli again and again. Namely the Chevrolet Optra, the previous generation Mitsubishi Lancer (still on sale in some countries) and Toyota Hilux.

They are by far the most frequent new cars in the streets, and by looking at the relative age of the cars it seems that this trio has been leading Libyan car sales for a few years already.

Other models that appear successful in Libya are the Toyota Corolla, Nissan Tiida, Mitsubishi L200 pick-up (aka Triton) and a bunch of Hyundais: the Santa Fe, Sonata and Accent.

On the Korean car subject, if you look a bit further at the older cars in the streets of Tripoli, there is a strikingly high occurrence of previous generations Hyundai Accent, but also Daewoo Cielo and Nubira.

My assumption is that the Daewoos were imported from Egypt where they were produced in the General Motors Egypt plant near Cairo. With the Daewoo plant being sold to Chery, which now produces Speranzas there (a whole different story I will touch on in a future post), the import flow has ceased, but the Daewoo brand stayed popular in Libya, making it easy for Chevrolet to take the relay when Daewoo became Chevrolet in the early 2000’s.

This is why Libyans love Chevrolet.

There you go, now you can be proud to be among the most knowledgeable people on the planet about car sales in Libya.

If you have visited this country recently, have some additional info that may be of relevance to this article, or better still, if you work for Colonel Gaddafi General Motors in Libya or anywhere else and are able to confirm/infirm my assumptions, please do speak up!

* None that I could find anyway, so if you have any Libyan car sales data please shout.

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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6 Comments on “Libya In Love With Chevy...”

  • avatar

    Libya loves Chevy. Kinda reminds me of a scene from a movie I watched almost 2 decades ago (Singles). The band’s lead singer (of a Seattle-based grunge-metal outfit) played by Matt Dillon had just finished reading a bunch of editorial venom about his band from the local rock critics. His response? “Well they like us in BELGIUM!”

  • avatar

    Hey! That’s the Chevrolet Lacetti, of Top Gear fame! (I didn’t say what kind of fame…)
    Really enjoyed knowing about your method. I wonder if Libya, like many other African countries, is a great importer of used cars from first world countries. From your description it doesn’t look like it, otherwise I would expect to see lots of Italian, French and German cars on the pictures.

    • 0 avatar

      Hey Autobraz,
      Glad you liked my method! And no Libya doesn’t look like it is a country that relies on imports from Europe. This is the case for countries in Africa further South like Mauritania (the kingdom of used Mercedes), I will make sure I touch on this in one of my next articles.

  • avatar

    I wonder what Moammar drives (and if it’s bulletproof).

  • avatar

    More-more Go-daffy is probably in the back of the second, third, or fourth (and never the same) SUV in the convoy if he ever is driven anywhere. I think he drives about as often as any head of state.

  • avatar

    Amazing how accurate this is, Chevy Optra is indeed the top selling car in Libya, second to follow is Nissan Tiida, Lancer is pretty common so is the new model (BTW the lancer in the picture has diplomatic plates – yellow plates are for cabs-) so are all the cars you mentioned… i might add Toyota Camry VW Golf VW Passat and Hyundai Tucson.
    For those of you asking about Daffy… he drives in a convoy of at least 15-20 Toyota Land Cruisers or Lexus LX.

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