Best Selling Cars Around The Globe: Trans Siberian Series Part 12: Terelj National Park, Mongolia

Matt Gasnier
by Matt Gasnier
best selling cars around the globe trans siberian series part 12 terelj national
Toyota Prius next to a traditional Mongol ger in Terelj National Park

After giving you my first impressions on the unique Mongolian car landscape, I now take you to Terelj National Park, 80 km East of the capital Ulaanbaatar and already complete countryside. What I first observed in Ulaanbaatar is still valid here, namely a huge part of the car landscape is composed of the first two generations Toyota Prius. I have also seen proportionally more Toyota Verossas in this part of the country. More after the jump…

If you can’t wait for the next report, you can follow my trip in real time here, or check out 174 other car markets on my blog.

Toyota Verossa near Nalaikh, Mongolia – September 2013

As far as new models are concerned, the large SUV trend I described in Ulaanbaatar is even more pronounced here, even though the road from Ulaanbaatar to Telej is sealed all the way and in perfect condition. Given the Terelj Hotel, the most luxurious hotel in the country, it’s a typical weekend destination for cashed-up inhabitants of Ulaanbaatar. I spotted many Toyota Land Cruiser on my way to Terelj and a few Lexus LX, Infiniti QX and Nissan Patrol.

Toyota Prius on the road to Terelj

This was for me the opportunity to discover the ‘real’ Mongolia, sleep in a traditional ger and check out the eagles, camels, yaks and horses that are emblematic of the country.I have had a few questions from you asking whether Mongolia was already too ‘commercialised’. While it is obvious that the country is probably a lot more developed and touristy than a decade ago, it is not a walk in the park and you have to ‘earn’ your Mongolian experience.

Good old me with my mate Attila the golden eagle

What is heart-warming is seeing a large part of the Mongolian people now actually living the life they had been dreaming about for decades and enjoying every minute of it. While they have embraced consumerism whole-heartedly, they are doing so very pragmatically, with caution and most importantly without losing themselves, in a typically Buddhist way. The Mongolian modern identity is unique and has a multitude of facets including modern ‘Mongol pop’ music which mixes traditional instruments with contemporary sounds, and very traditional costumes it is not rare to see worn in the street or around ger camps.

Foton Auman

Most of the heavy trucks doing road work are Chinese: the Foton Auman is the most popular with construction companies (some with an interesting and very prominent ‘Produced by Foton Daimler’ announcement on their side), as are the Sinotruck and Dongfeng brands. I also saw a Wuzheng truck which is a brand I didn’t know of before…

Toyota Prius just outside of Ulaanbaatar

That’s all for Terelj, and for once I can’t tell you what the next stop will be because I am not sure whether there actually are cars there! So it’ll be a surprise…

Lexus LX in Terelj
UAZ Bukhanka
Toyota Verossa
Wuzheng Truck in Terelj National Park
Dongfeng truck
Join the conversation
6 of 18 comments
  • RobertRyan RobertRyan on Mar 12, 2014

    @Matt Gasnier. Mongolia is becoming the new "Bali" for Australians like yourself.

    • See 3 previous
    • LALoser LALoser on Mar 13, 2014

      @Athos Nobile It's OK, interesting history and good surfing. For me, there are better places for an extended visit, most western visitors are there to party and get drunk, which can be done anywhere. Worked two projects on Bali and had the locals laughing at how the visitors conducted themselves.

  • FuzzyPlushroom FuzzyPlushroom on Mar 13, 2014

    You'd never heard of Wuzheng 'cause Wuzheng ain't nothin' to truck wit'.

  • Carlson Fan I think it is pretty cool & grew up with a '75 Ford window van so I can attest to their utility. $60K is a lot for any vehicle and I'm not convinced EV's are ready for prime time for a number of reasons. It would make an awesome 2nd or 3rd vehicle in a multi-car household but again the price would keep most from considering it.I agree with the other comments that those who have to have it will buy it and then sales will drop off. Offer a panel version for the commercial market, that could have possibilities.
  • Wjtinfwb Panther Black? or Black Panther? Shaped like a decade old Ford detectives sedan? Seems like an odd way to send out your marquee car...
  • Kwik_Shift Instead of blacked, how about chromed? Don't follow the herd.
  • Carlson Fan Nicest looking dash/gage cluster ever put in any PU truck. After all these years it still looks so good.
  • Wheatridger Correct me if I'm wrong, but has the widescreen digital dash usurped the space formerly occupied in every other car by an HVAC vent? I see one prominent vent well right of center, where there should be two. I rely on twin driver's side vents to warm my hands on cold mornings, and I wouldn't give that up for more screen area.