While China is still the big dog when it comes to growth markets for automakers, Iraq looks to be heating up. As the country slowly stabilizes, the country's 30 million citizens find themselves with a growing income and a need for more reliable transportation.
But, according to Automotive News, the biggest factor in the resurgence of Iraqi car-buying is a decrease in violence by insurgents. Last year only (?!) about 1,500 Iraqis were killed by roadside bombs, snipers or other violence. That's compared to more than 34,000 in 2006. As you might imagine, safer streets lead to much greater satisfaction derived from Sunday drives.
Ready to cash in on the auto-buying-boom are Volkswagen, Ford and GM. All three see huge potential in a country still driving thousands of VW Passats procured via an oil trade with Brazil in the 1980s.
Apparently, one popular car in Iraq is the Dodge Charger – nicknamed "Obama" by Iraqis. Then again, the LA Times said last year that the Chrysler 300 was known as "the Obama," so maybe the term goes for any large American sedan.