By on June 25, 2014

This is the final Mongolian post in our Trans-Siberian Series, exploring a very unique and surprising list of the best-selling models in the country. Next stop will be China! But first, a slice of modern Mongolian culture for you. As you will see below the Mercedes G-Class is at world-best levels in the Mongolian sales charts and has reached cult-level in the country. Proof: above is the music video for Mongolian R’n’b artist Tselmuun’s latest hit “Setgel”. From 2min49 in the video you can see a line of Mercedes G-Class behind the dancers, not one but 4 of them – so hot right now…

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.

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By on June 20, 2014

This is the next step in our Trans-Siberian adventure. After reporting on the impressive number of Hummers in Mongolia’s capital city Ulaanbaatar, today we have a look at one of the most peculiar characteristics of the car landscape of Ulaanbaatar (and the country): used right-hand drive Japanese imports. Hope you enjoy, and stay tuned for the last Mongolian update in this long-term Photo Report, detailing the official best-selling cars in Mongolia in 2013…

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.

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By on June 16, 2014

Hummer 2One of the many Hummers I saw in Ulaanbaatar

This is the next step in our Trans-Siberian adventure. We stay in Mongolia, and after one week in the Gobi desert, saying that getting back to the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar (nicknamed UB here) is a total shock is an understatement. You would assume that civilisation progressively creeps back to culminate in UB, but it’s not so. Anything outside of UB is desert steppe, and when you arrive in the city it’s like turning a huge switch on: you instantly are in traffic jams going for kilometres! I saw in 10 seconds the amount of cars it took one week to spot outside the capital…

I couldn’t go on without pausing on one of the most surprising particularities of the UB car landscape: the astounding frequency of Hummers…

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.

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By on June 13, 2014

Silver MustangMake no mistake: our van is a Silver Mustang.

Today we continue on our Trans-Siberian adventure, with the last report dedicated to the Gobi region in Mongolia. We have seen in the previous Gobi post that the UAZ vans and jeeps were by far the most popular in the Gobi desert. It’s no surprise then that we did this whole trip in one of them, the UAZ Bukhanka. In Russia, this off-road van (real name: UAZ 452) has earned a few nicknames – Bukhanka: (loaf of bread), Tabletka (pill) or Golovastik (tadpole) – in Mongolia our driver has baptised its own Silver Mustang, because of its grey colour and its ability to gallop to the most isolated stretches of the Gobi.

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.

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By on June 2, 2014

Ghost motorbike rider Gobi desertLike a ghost riding the desert… Forget cars, motorbikes are the preferred motorised means of transportation in the Gobi.

Today we continue on our Trans-Siberian adventure. The last update was just an introduction to the Gobi desert region, now we are getting serious. Traversing the harshest terrain in the Gobi desert took us 4 days on an often disappearing track, only rarely flat. Needless to say only the sturdiest four wheel drives are allowed here.

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.

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By on May 28, 2014

1-Hyundai-Porter-Gobi-600x416

Nomadic life in action: Proud Mongolian woman in front of her family’s Hyundai pick-up with her ger all packed-up in the back.

After a little pause we are back on track for our Trans-Siberian Railway series.  After a tiny hop to Terelj National Park we are now entering ‘real’ Mongolia and getting lost in the Gobi desert for a week. This region is bigger than France (612,000 sq km) and home to just 313,000 inhabitants, and I will try and relate this amazing experience with 3 posts on here. One of the big questions I will ask (and try and answer) is: which cars survived this environment, one of the most inhospitable in the world – yes, which cars did survive the Gobi desert?

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.

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By on March 11, 2014

1 Toyota Prius IIToyota 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.

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By on March 1, 2014

3 Toyota Prius I x3

Three first generation Toyota Prius at a traffic light: a common sight in Ulaanbaatar…

We now continue on our Trans-Siberian railway adventure and after going through Siberia and crossing the Lake Baikal up to Ulan Ude in Buryatia, we are now travelling South to Mongolia. In this post I will describe my first impressions about the unique Mongolian car landscape, but we will start with a bit of introduction on Mongolia as a country, because knowing overall facts about this country goes a long way in explaining its car park.

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.

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By on December 12, 2013

1 FAW V5 UAZ BukhankaFAW V5 and UAZ Bukhanka

We continue on our Trans-Siberian railway adventure: the last stop was Irkutsk in Siberia, this time we are doing a tiny little hop 80 km South East to the shores of Lake Baikal, more precisely in the Litsvyanka village. Granted, there are not many cars here and the vehicle landscape is surely not representative of the region as Litsvyanka is mostly visited by Russian tourists, but the mix of cars I saw was so striking once again than I thought it should warrant an update on its own. Jump in for the full report!

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.

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By on December 1, 2013

1 Honda AirwaveHonda Airwave

We continue on our Trans-Siberian railway adventure: the last stop was Krasnoyarsk in Siberia, we are now moving 855km East to Irkutsk, which is 80km off Lake Baikal. And here again a fascinating car landscape awaits… From roughly 30% of the traffic in Omsk and Tomsk to half in Krasnoyarsk, we are now faced with a proper invasion of used Japanese imports! Jump in for the full report!

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.

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By on November 22, 2013

1 Toyota IstThe Toyota Ist is by far the most popular used Japanese import in Krasnoyarsk.

Over the next few weeks I will be taking you on a trip through the Trans-Siberian railway, stopping along the way in various Russia, Mongolian and Chinese cities to observe the vastly different car landscapes each time. The last stop was Tomsk in Siberia, we are now moving 450km East to Krasnoyarsk in the midst of Siberia. And this is it: used right-hand drive Japanese imports have taken over. Although I only stayed in Krasnoyarsk 4 hours it is enough to establish the simple fact that roughly every second car in the city is a used Japanese import, therefore being driven with the steering wheel on the wrong side! Jump in for the full report!

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.

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By on November 15, 2013

1 GAZ logo

Over the next few weeks I will be taking you on a trip through the Trans-Siberian railway, stopping along the way in various Russia, Mongolian and Chinese cities to observe the vastly different car landscapes each time. The last stop was Omsk in Siberia, we are now moving 940km North East to… Tomsk (hard to not confuse the two but I will do my best). And I am happy to report that at last, the Tomsk car landscape is looking pretty much like what one would expect from Russia… Jump in for the full report!

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.

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By on November 5, 2013

1 Toyota ProboxThe Toyota Probox is the most popular used Japanese import in Omsk.

Over the next few weeks I will be taking you on a trip through Trans-Siberian railway, stopping along the way in various Russia, Mongolian and Chinese cities to observe the vastly different car landscapes each time. The last stop was Yekaterinburg, and we are now travelling almost 1000 km South East to Omsk, the start of Siberia and the place where Dostoyevsky was imprisoned… I have alluded to the strange phenomenon of used right-hand drive Japanese imports in Russia in my last photo report as I started seeing a stream of these in Yekaterinburg… Well it gets better in Omsk… Jump in for the full report!

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

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By on October 30, 2013

1 Opel AstraThe Opel Astra is extremely popular in Yekaterinburg.

Over the next few weeks I will be taking you on a trip through Trans-Siberian railway, stopping along the way in various Russia, Mongolian and Chinese cities to observe the vastly different car landscapes each time. The last stop was Kazan in Tatarstan, and we are now travelling a further 940 km East to Yekaterinburg in the Ural region.

The Yekaterinburg car landscape is once again very different from the cities I’ve explored before. It’s a mix of less Ladas, more sedans, some brand new models I had not seen yet in the country (not even in Moscow) and the big novelty: used right-hand drive Japanese imports… Jump in for the full report!

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

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By on October 22, 2013

2 Lada SamaraLada Samara in Kazan, Tatarstan Russia – September 2013

Over the next few weeks I will be taking you on a trip through Trans-Siberian railway, stopping along the way in various Russia, Mongolian and Chinese cities to observe the vastly different car landscapes each time. The last stop was Moscow in Russia, we are now off to Kazan, 800 km East of Moscow in the Republic of Tatarstan, Russia.

Russia, Mongolia and China not your thing? That’s fine, you can check out 174 other car markets on my blog.

Now that Russia’s biggest cities and their twisted car parks are out of the way, I figured Ladaland would start. And judging by the car landscape of the countryside I saw from the train approaching Kazan, it is definitely the case, with around 75% of vehicles being Ladas… To know more, jump in!

If you can’t wait for the next report, you can follow my trip in real time here.

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