By Stephen Markley on March 3, 2009
While SUV sales flatline in the U.S., improved security in Iraq has led to a surge in the sale of large SUVs like the Hummer H3. There are no official numbers yet, and while cheap Korean and German cars continue to rank as best-sellers in Iraq, multiple dealerships are seeing American SUVs make large and growing inroads.
As if stability is the direct predecessor of irony, young Iraqis with disposable income have turned to the civilian version of the vehicle that the U.S. Army uses to patrol their streets — the Humvee — as an unmatched status symbol.
Meanwhile, government and security officials have taken to tooling around in gargantuan GMC Yukons, while middle-class families have shown interest in the Jeep Grand Cherokee.
What’s the attraction of opening a Hummer dealership in Baghdad? The streets of the capitol city and many others are still pock-marked and cratered, making for a rough ride for small cars. During the height of the war, owning a flashy car could get you kidnapped or killed, but now that sectarian conflict has settled, the middle- and upper-class members of Iraq society want to enjoy their disposable income.
It also doesn’t hurt that Iraq’s oil wealth keeps gas prices fixed at around $1.65.