Where old Peugeots go to die

Updated: 


On a recent trip to Cairo, I could not help noticing that every second car was either a Peugeot or a Fiat. Good for them, you might say, but there was just one problem. All of the designs were over 20 years old, and many of them went back 40 years.
In a strange inversion of the normal practice, the older the model, the more of them you saw. Every third car was a Peugeot 504 (introduced 1968), with the next most popular Peugeot being the 1979 505. There were no modern Peugeots at all and it was the same with Fiat. There were thousands of 1970s-era 128s, 131s and 132s, but no Unos, let alone Puntos. Imagine if you never saw a Ford Mondeo in the UK, but thousands of Cortinas instead.

So Egyptians never buy new cars? Er, yes they do, but not European new cars. Anything 10 years old was likely to be Japanese and anything under five years old was probably either Korean or Chinese (even the tourist coaches are increasingly Chinese). The only exception is Renault's low-cost Dacia Logan, just starting to appear on local roads.

Now Egypt is not the most important market in the world, although with 80 million people, it is not the least important either. However, it demonstrates a pattern seen across many developing countries, as European brands were swept aside by Asians. If the Chinese brands ever make it in Europe (still a big if), it will be after they have cut their teeth in markets like Egypt.