By on July 30, 2011

After Afghanistan and Norway, we fly over the Atlantic to land in Haiti so I can share with you where the car market is, 18 months after the devastating earthquake of February 2010.

If you were a tourist in Haiti or part of the emergency personnel flown to the island for the earthquake, then you may already know which cars are popular there (although it would have been the least of your worries!) so I suggest you go directly to my blog where I cover 154 other countries all around the planet. You will love it, I promise!

Right so the huge reconstruction effort the country has to go through means pick-ups, or work horses as they are sometimes called, are the favorite choice for anyone who has enough money to purchase a new vehicle. But which ones are the most successful?

Oh and for those who are not yet familiar with my methodology, here goes. When there is no official car sales data, as is the case for Haiti, I don’t despair. Far from it. I go and have a little chat with my old mate YouTube… It’s amazing the number of street videos of any random city people innocently upload on the internet! I focus on the most recent videos of the most important cities of any given country and after a couple of hours of research a pretty good picture of the best selling cars there starts to appear… Not perfect, but much better than nothing!

And the result of Haiti streets observation shows that as in neighboring Dominican Republic, Haitians seem to be fond of Nissan pick-ups, with the Nissan Frontier really really popular in its last few generations.

However it seems the Ford Ranger has taken the lead over the last 12 months in Haiti, with many of them roaming the streets of Port-au-Prince. Pick-ups are a great help in these troubled time as the main work tool for any reconstruction worker.

Aside from pick-ups, another Haitian car tradition seems to be buying lots of Suzuki/Chevrolet 4WD’s.  The Chevrolet Vitara and Grand Vitara, sold under the Suzuki brand outside of South America, can be seen very frequently in the streets of Port-au-Prince.

4WDs are the logical choice in a country where previously paved roads are left with little maintenance and off-roading is more a necessity than a leisurely past-time… At that game Japanese and Korean models win: the Daihatsu Terios, Mazda Bt-50, Toyota Hilux, Hyundai Tucson and Mitsubishi L200 all seem to do well in Haiti.

However when it comes to decorating prizes, Isuzu vans seem to be the best bet! Where else but in ever-happy Haiti…

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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3 Comments on “Best Selling Cars Around The Globe: Haiti Hangs On To Work Horses...”

  • avatar

    That drive from Port-au-Prince to Jeremie is a nice drive, at least to Les Cayes, (which is where I go south so don’t know the Jeremie/Les Cayes road too well). Nice, even, relatively nicely maintained road. Not counting the bridge that’s out. And the mudpits next to whatever the big, fenced in plant is. And that messy two level nonsense near Carrefour. And all the invisible speed humps. I’m not trying to be cynical. It’s genuinely a nice drive during the day. Shitty drive at night, though. A coworker was in a vehicle that hit a dog at night and drove the rest of the way by sticking a Surefire out the window for lighting. Went through half our supply of CR123 batteries that night.

    Haiti is a really funny country in terms of the vehicle mixes. Every other country that’s on Haiti’s level, Toyota pretty much owns the light utility market, from the UN to individuals. Not so in Haiti. Instead of Land Cruisers and Prados, you see Nissan Patrols.

    There’s also a difference in the north vs the south and most certainly PAP vs the boonies. First of all, I wouldn’t assume that just because a vehicle’s driving around with an NGO sticker that it belongs to that organization. A lot of organizations got caught in a frustrating situation with Haitian authorities where they tried to get their standard fleets in and in almost an unprecedented way, certain aspects of the Haitian customs service ran us in circles for MONTHS, all the while renting their own huge fleets at extortionary prices (these vehicles seemed to get in okay) out to the same orgs. This is one reason you see a crazy mix in Haiti, particularly PAP, where most organizations will keep their lightest duty vehicles while sending their heavier duty stuff into the central plateau or up north.

  • avatar

    Around the Petionville camp, when I was there 6 weeks after the quake far and away the most common were diesel Toyota pickups and other Hilux variants. The tap taps (the colorful things) that clogged the street seemed to be mainly Toyota pickups with welded cages in the bed. The larger ones were primarily Isuzu vans. I can tell you from experience that the Isuzu tap taps were bloody awful to ride in. There were not all the many Fords around at that point but quite of few Mitsubishis and Mazdas. Oddly enough the Porsche dealership seemed awfully quiet.

  • avatar

    Damn, even Haiti is getting new Ranger and Mazda BT-50! I guess Ford and Mazda takes Canada and US for developing countries, that’s the only reason we’re getting discontinued elsewhere ancient Ranger and its Mazda twin.

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