Best Selling Cars Around The Globe: Syria Is A Korean Carbecue!

Matt Gasnier
by Matt Gasnier

After Libya, Yemen and Iran, we are back in the Middle-East this weekend in Syria because let’s face it, this is where world news happens at the moment and the car expert that you are has to be aware of which cars are the best-sellers in the region so you can show off while watching the news: “That’s a Kia Cerrato Forte, right behind that cloud of teargas.”

Now if you are already Middle-Easted out, that’s ok, there are 154 other countries to explore in my blog. It’s the best blog in the world (after TTAC perhaps) yes it is!

Alright so there are no official car sales data that I know of for Syria so my old friend YouTube helped me figure out which models were the most successful in the country, spending a few hours going through recent videos of the streets of capital city Damascus.

And there is one word to summarize it all: Syria = Korea.

Yes, Syrian consumers have chosen: they are into Korean cars, and nothing else. That’s right.

Hyundai Elantras can be seen literally on every street corner, which means the model must have been securing at least 10 percent of the market since the launch of the current generation in 2006. It will be interesting to see how the 2011 model fares here.

Another Korean model which seems to have enjoyed an even more spectacular success is the Kia Cerato Forte, already omnipresent (if sometimes obscured by the omnipresent dust storms) in the streets of Damascus only 1 year after its original launch.

Here is one in better light. And with a little product placement.

The third extremely successful model in Syria is the Kia Rio, making it clear the type of cars Syrian consumers go for: just practical and reliable value for money compact sedans.

Here the close-up.

Other favorites include the Kia Picanto, Hyundai Accent, Tucson and Santa Fe.

And that’s it for Syria. See, now you can watch the news and say: “Looks like Syria is in deep kimchi.”

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 3 comments
  • Mazder3 Mazder3 on May 28, 2011

    So how did the Koreans become so popular in Syria? Where are the Americans, French, Germans and Japanese? Is it due to trade sanctions?

  • Ronman Ronman on Jun 01, 2011

    Trade Sanctions limit a lot of the cars that come into Syria. I'm no expert on the Syrian Market, but since a lot of their cars make it onto Lebanese Territory, i can easily say that Korea is doing well, and Matt has got it right with the Elantra and Cerato. The Sonata and Tuscon also do very well there and so does the RIO. but there are also a lot of Chinese cars that make it through to Lebanon with Syrian plates, Brilliance and Cherry seem to be well positioned there. GM made a move for it on the Korean built models because those bypass the previous sanctions, though i'm not sure what happens now for the Americans. in the past Syria had a 300% import tax on cars, now it's much much less but it's been supplemented with a heavy Luxury tax, and a car is a luxurious car to have. but the Syrians have plenty of money on average, i guess that comes with a state that is self sufficient on most commodities and doesn't import much other than cars.

  • Chuck Norton And guys are having wide spread issues with the 10 speed transmission with the HP numbers out of the factory......
  • Zerofoo "Hyundais just got better and better during the 1990s, though, and memories of those shoddy Excels faded."Never. A friend had an early 90s Hyundai Excel as his college beater. One day he decided that the last tank of gas he bought was worth more than the car. He drove it to empty and then he and his fraternity brothers pushed it into the woods and left it there.
  • Kwik_Shift There are no new Renegades for sale within my geographic circle of up to 85 kms. Looks like the artificial shortage game. They bring one in, 10 buyers line up for it, $10,000 over MSRP. Yeah. Like with a lot of new cars.
  • Ribbedroof In Oklahoma, no less!
  • Ribbedroof Have one in the shop for minor front collision repairs right now,I've seen more of these in the comments than in the 30 years I've been in collision repair.