No wonder, I've been around some in various states of disrepair and they always, always work.
I always used to notice that whenever you see pictures or videos from Afghanistan, just about every single car on the road (other than 4x4s) was some form of Toyota Corolla. Literally every car. And a lot of them looked to be North American spec models like the Corolla S, not Asian or European. It seems a lot of American and Canadian ones end up there somehow, complete with their US plates still attached in some cases .
I googled it and found a relatively old but interesting article. Say what you want about how dull and simple a Corolla is, they really are tanks of a car that just keep on kicking, even in a place where they don't have dealerships and jiffy lubes... or car carriers:
A long way from Utah:
Toyota's Corolla is the people's car in Afghanistan
A man washes a Toyota Corolla at a curbside carwash in Kabul. Some dealers say 90 percent of passenger vehicles in the capital are Corollas. (David Nakamura/the Washington Post)
By David Nakamura
Washington Post Foreign Service
Thursday, August 26, 2010; 7:20 PM
IN KABUL Afghanistan, graveyard of empires - and Toyota Corollas.
If this war-torn nation of 29 million is a magnet for foreign occupying forces that never seem to leave, it is also the land where old Corollas from across the globe come to die.
According to some car dealers in Kabul, 90 percent of passenger vehicles on the increasingly congested roads of the capital are Corollas, some more than 20 years old, with 200,000 miles on their odometers, still chugging along over rocky dirt roads.
"Here is the museum of old cars," snorted Abdul Qahar Nadi, managing director of Afghan Auto Limited, the country's only Toyota distributor authorized by the parent company in Japan to sell new models. Nadi has upped his sales from 64 vehicles in 2006 to 401 last year, but he says it is hard to persuade Afghans to pay more when used models are ubiquitous. "It's not good for the health. There's big pollution," he said.
Shipped from Japan, Germany, Canada and the United States, used Corollas pour through customs, mostly via Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, and wind up in used-car lots clustered in three hilly neighborhoods on Kabul's outskirts, having been banished from downtown during a rapid expansion of dealerships after the Taliban was driven from power in 2001.
Prospective buyers can choose from a surprisingly diverse selection of Corollas, including sedans, hatchbacks, and yellow station wagons once used as taxis in faraway lands.
Ahmad Murid, 30, a dealer in the northern Kabul neighborhood of Khairkana, said buyers generally prefer German-manufactured Corollas, which supposedly get the best gas mileage. White Corollas, which show less dirt than dark-colored ones, fetch up to $1,500 more than an identical model in black, he said.
Drivers usually don't care about odometer readings since they are likely to replace most of the parts, anyway. Murid was selling a 1990 model with a dingy interior and 292,213 kilometers on the dash for $4,000. How long could someone expect to drive the clunker?
"Ten years," Murid suggested.
And after that?
"You can sell it back to me," he said with a grin.
Murid's own car, a red 1993 Corolla, was parked next to his sale inventory. If the price were right, he said, he would sell it on the spot.
The story of the Corolla's rise in Afghanistan mirrors the country's modern history, said Najeeb "Amiri" Ullah, head of a union that represents 130 dealers in Kabul.
When cars were introduced to Afghanistan 40 years ago, there were American Chevrolets, German Mercedes-Benzes and Russian Volgas, along with the Japanese Toyotas, Ullah said. But during the Soviet occupation of the 1980s, Afghans did not want to be seen driving Western cars and mostly stuck with Volgas, Japanese cars being an acceptable alternative.
Over time, Toyota quality trumped Volga political expediency, Ullah said. A cottage industry emerged of mechanics versed in the art of keeping Corollas running and body shops that dismantled Japanese-manufactured Corollas - whose steering wheel was on the right side, which is illegal in Afghanistan - for spare parts.
From 1996 to 2001, when the Taliban was in power, it continued to import Corollas and earned revenue by smuggling them into Pakistan and selling them without having to pay customs fees or taxes, Ullah said.
In late 2001, the used-car industry multiplied from 75 dealers to more than 500 as Kabul's population swelled and more people began driving, creating daily gridlock in the city center. There are about 500,000 registered vehicles in the city, whose population is now 4.5 million, far higher than in the Taliban era. But there are just a handful of traffic signals, which most drivers ignore anyway, adhering instead to the rules of going as fast as possible and always assuming the right of way.
The automobile industry is so potentially lucrative that it has lured such dignitaries as Mahmoud Karzai, brother of President Hamid Karzai, who co-founded Afghan Auto Limited. (Nadi said that Karzai has since sold his shares to co-founder Habib Gulzar, owner of the country's Coca-Cola distributor.) Toyota also dominates Afghanistan's sport-utility vehicle market with Land Cruisers and 4Runners, many of which have been custom-made bulletproof. Only in big trucks does Mercedes break Toyota's dominance.
The final consideration for a Corolla buyer in Afghanistan is how to set oneself apart in a sea of similar-looking cars. Some have done it by adding rear-window stickers with curious English slogans:
"Dare to Wear Black!"
"No Time for Love."
And: "In God We Trust."
Special correspondent Quadratullah Andar contributed to this report.
Last edited by WhistlerYOW; 06-11-2012 at 07:37 PM.
I'm currently over in Afghanistan and I can DEFINITELY attest to the insane number of Corollas over here. And even with 4x4s, I'd say a good 60-70% are Hiluxes of some variety (pickup or SUVs). Toyota is, by far, the most common brand of automobile that you'll find in this country. And in connection with the last part of that article with customization, I see this one Corolla around all the time that has this in its rear window: "Love is blind. Don't fall in love."
Case in point:
Toyotas on Toyotas on a Toyota. (Pic from a friend of mine who was on patrol... in a Toyota Hilux truck.)
Last edited by Dix; 06-11-2012 at 10:16 PM.
My other 'car' is a 68,000lb Mine Resistant vehicle
Let's see... choose an affordable car to drive across the flocking desert and if you get stranded you probably won't vtec but will die.....Corolla sounds like a dang good idea to me.
|˙˙ʇǝuɹǝʇuı ǝɥʇ uo ʇxǝʇ uʍop ǝpısdn ɯopuɐɹ pɐǝɹ noʎ :ǝɯıʇ ǝǝɹɟ ɥɔnɯ ooʇ ʎɐʍ ǝʌɐɥ noʎ ןןǝʇ oʇ ʍoɥ˙˙˙|http://hotlinktest.com/
In Ontario Canada it was wild, people were buying ANY 1993-1997 Corolla for decent cash to export. Then recently the country began a "10 year rule" meaning the car cannot be any older than 10 years to be imported to Afghanistan, which really put a damper on thing as it's now competing with car's that are destined for Africa, other parts of the mid-east etc. Apparently they were growing tired of people importing junky older cars, which was the main reason for this rule. 1988-1992 models were also desirable but they didn't command the same price, 1998+ models weren't hugely popular but they had value here in Canada as well so they weren't as common to export.
Now the hype is mostly newer cars that are branded irrepairable after an accident, they're shipped off and fixed in Afghanistan where they return to duty.
I guess used car salesmen are the same everywhere...The only place in Europe Corollas have been manufactured is the UK.Ahmad Murid, 30, a dealer in the northern Kabul neighborhood of Khairkana, said buyers generally prefer German-manufactured Corollas, which supposedly get the best gas mileage.
Last edited by WhistlerYOW; 06-12-2012 at 01:16 AM.
Last edited by dfischer1; 06-12-2012 at 06:03 AM.
i don't know if it's just me , but i'd be terrified to visit any of the places that are in the photo's.
80 Camaro Z28 | 89 Scirocco 16v (VR6 soon!) | 37 Plymouth Coupe | 11 Equinox LT (soon to be 2013 Focus 5door)| 11 F150 FX4 | 11 Dutchmen 295BHGS | 11 John Deere 1023E
: the part of a flower that consists of the separate or fused petals and constitutes the inner whorl of the perianth
: a proposition inferred immediately from a proved proposition with little or no additional proof
: something that incidentally or naturally accompanies or parallels
3rd world countries usually see corollas as a top of the line car. When I lived in venezuela, my parents were debating on getting a new civic or a new corolla and decided to get the corolla. this was over 13 years ago.
Families with a little wealth will get some kind of a toyota. from a corolla to a land cruiser depending on the needs. Young guys ask their parents for a hilux 9 times out of 10.
Families with low income usually buy cars like daewoo matiz, or chinese brand imitations as they tend to be half of what a honda or toyota would be.
EDIT: Here is a picture of the common car in venezuela now.
this thread came up about a 1.5 yrs ago methinks. i'm still here... been in country since June 2010 and getting ready to celebrate my 2yr anniversary on Jun 20.
Corollas everywhere- though I've seen some unicorns-- Scion tc, 3-series, occasional Benz, a 300 Hemi. My driver just bought a 2003 White S for 10,000USD. Other driver bought a 2005 White LE for 11,000USD. Cash, which is a big deal when you realize average income is like 150USD/ mo. Fuel converts to about 4.50USD/ gal.
I see them everywhere, in all variants. And their stable mates, the Hilux, the Surf, the Hi-Ace and LandCruiser.
The best vehicle I want for security? A yellow 'rolla wagon so I can blend in Kabul traffic!
Stickers I've seen in back windows:
Can't Touch Me
Don't Follow Me
Get in, Sit Down, Hold on, Shut the F up
*generic GReddy stickers*
Toyota World Power Japan
This White Corolla Is Not On The BOLO List (my fave)
And come to think about it, we pay about 4.50USD/gal as well.
Oh well, I guess we don't have the IEDs so thats always a positive.
And the Scion TC was inevitable as soon as women were allowed to drive .