Best Selling Cars Around The Globe: Iraq Is One Of The Top 10 'Emerging Engines Of Growth'

Matt Gasnier
by Matt Gasnier
best selling cars around the globe iraq is one of the top 10 emerging engines of
Iraqis call the Dodge Charger ‘Obama’. And why not.

After taking you to Japan, Puerto Rico, Poland and Australia, today we’re flying to Iraq. Well figuratively.

Not too keen on Baghdad? That’s ok. You can travel to 170 other countries and territories in my blog. Or today I can offer you the 264 best-selling models in the USA in October 2012. Every single one of them.

Where were we?


The kingdom of General Motors and Chrysler… Yes sir.

Business Monitor International recently picked Iraq as one of the Top 10 ‘Emerging engines of growth’ in the Automotive industry, a wonderful pun to say that, really, well car sales are increasing there. I wish I had come up with that pun myself. Maybe one day…

So last year General Motors was the #1 manufacturer in Iraq, up 68 percent year-on-year to 32,000 of the total 90,000 estimated new vehicle sales in the country that year. You can see the last Iraq article on my blog here.

In 2012 General Motors is doing well too, but Iraq Business News says ‘rising incomes and safer streets are fueling demand for new cars such as Chrysler‘s Dodge Charger, nicknamed “Obama” after the U.S. president by Iraqis’. Interesting…

Iran Khodro Samand

But another interesting successful manufacturer in Iraq given the two countries’ tumultuous history to say the least is Iran Khodro, one of two Iranian car manufacturers, which simply and squarely manufactures the Samand there. How it works with the US embargo imposed on business with Iranian companies is something I haven’t got my head around yet so if someone in the know could comment I would love to hear from you. Business Monitor International says 30,000 Samands will come out of the Iran Khodro Iraqi factory in 2012 which, if they are all sold in Iraq, could make the model the best-selling car in the country with 25% market share.

Saipa Tiba

For its part Saipa, Iran’s other car manufacturer, has announced in March this year it is investing in a local assembly plant with an annual capacity of 120,000 vehicles.

With a population of more than 30 million people and a growing economy, Iraq’s auto market has “huge potential,” said Stefan Mecha, VW’s managing director for the Middle East. Predictions for new cars sales in Iraq in the Full Year 2012 stand at 120,000 vehicles, a good 33% above 2011 sales. And demand could get much bigger over the next few years.

For example, IHS Automotive says ‘in neighboring Saudi Arabia, which has a population slightly smaller than Iraq’s, there are about 6.5 million registered cars’. That’s about five times the estimated 1.35 million vehicles in Iraq, according to Hamid Algharbawi, owner of a high-end car dealership in Baghdad.

Iraq holds “a lot of promise,” said Larry Prein, Ford’s managing director for the Middle East. Ford expects sales to double this year after tripling to 2,000 in 2011. GM plans to invest in new showrooms and service centers in Iraq after initially entering the market in 2003 by selling to the government, U.S. forces and aid organizations, said John Stadwick, head of GM’s Middle East operations.

The Chinese are also slowly but surely getting installed in Iraq, with Foton recently announcing the construction of a new assembly plant in the Iraqi city of Sulamaniyah, says Business Monitor International.

You can see the article about General Motors and 2011 Iraq car sales here.

Matt Gasnier, based in Sydney, Australia, runs a blog named Best Selling Cars, dedicated to counting cars all over the world.

Join the conversation
2 of 15 comments
  • Peter E. Puffington IV Peter E. Puffington IV on Nov 13, 2012

    I spent a lot of time driving the streets over there doing Route Clearance. I saw a bit of everything to include American stuff. Sajeev will hate me for it, but I absolutely tore apart a Lincoln Mark VII over with the interrogation arm of my Buffalo. The air suspension was obviously bad so it was sitting way low in the rear. Unfortunately for the Mark VII, this is one of the hallmarks of a vehicle borne IED and it was close to the Iraqi elections so it got torn to bits. I'm sure that's another car the American taxpayer purchased.

  • Alikhanz Alikhanz on Dec 06, 2012

    The truth about how Iran gets to grab a big chunk of market share, despite the sanctions imposed on doing business with Iran, is that basically Iran has as much power as US does in Iraq, if not more. Just look how Iranian officials visit Iraq, with minimum concern about security and compare that how US officials visit there. Companies in Europe and Korea or Japan might comply with the sanctions but at least Iraqi officials and people, I guess, don't give a damn about it.

  • Dusterdude @SCE to AUX , agree CEO pay would equate to a nominal amount if split amongst all UAW members . My point was optics are bad , both total compensation and % increases . IE for example if Mary Barra was paid $10 million including merit bonuses , is that really underpaid ?
  • ToolGuy "At risk of oversimplification, a heat pump takes ambient air, compresses it, and then uses the condenser’s heat to warm up the air it just grabbed from outside."• This description seems fairly dramatically wrong to me.
  • SCE to AUX The UAW may win the battle, but it will lose the war.The mfrs will never agree to job protections, and production outsourcing will match any pay increases won by the union.With most US market cars not produced by Detroit, how many people really care about this strike?
  • El scotto My iPhone gets too hot while using the wireless charging in my BMW. One more line on why someone is a dumbazz list?
  • Buickman yeah, get Ron Fellows each time I get a Vette. screw Caddy.