Tajik musicians, Lada Zhiguli and Daewoo Nexia. Picture by , all rights reserved.
After Armenia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan, it’s time to dust off another Central Asian car market: Tajikistan, the country in the region with the lowest car ownership rate at 35 per 1,000 inhabitants. The vehicle landscape in capital city Dushanbe has radically changed since Chinese microvans were abruptly banned over safety concerns in April 2010. It would seem that these vans have retired to secondary cities in Tajikistan based on the few pictures of these areas I could get my hands on.
Hyundai H1 in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Picture by , all rights reserved.
Chinese minivans have been replaced by one minivan: the first generation 1997 Hyundai H1. Dozens of them in the streets and literally hundreds of them in the Dushanbe car bozor… These can only be second-hand imported from Korea (?) or Europe as production of the first generation H1 stopped in 2004.
Street scene in Murghab, Tajikistan. Picture by , all rights reserved.
So it’s back to square one to try and guess the best-selling new cars in Tajikistan. Based on 2012 YouTube videos of the streets of the capital Dushanbe, I have picked a fair amount of Daewoo Nexia, however none was the latest generation, which seems weird. It could nevertheless find its way towards the podium in 2013.
Toyota Camry at the Asian Express Terminal, Dushanbe Tajikistan March 2013
Given how small the Tajik new car market must be, a big order from a Dushanbe company could be just enough to top the models ranking. And looking at a , you can notice dozens of new generation Toyota Camry. Add to this the very strong heritage of all generations of the models in the streets of the capital and we may very well have found our Tajik new car market leader…
Lada Zhiguli in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Picture by , all rights reserved.
The other rare new models that be noticed include the Toyota Corolla, Toyota Yaris sedan and Lexus RX. I also noticed a reasonable amount of Lada Zhiguli still in circulation, a few Lada Samara and a sea of 1991 and 1998 Opel Astra sedans and station wagons as well as a surprisingly high number of 2nd gen 1995 Opel Vectra.
Click on ‘Read more’ below to watch a video of the amazing Dushanbe car bazaar.