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Egypt turmoil affect carmakers

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We don’t usually talk about massive social upheavals on this site, since it’s a car-focused one, but the political unrest in Egypt is a bit of a special case because it is taking its toll on several automakers.

The Japanese carmaker Toyota has previously shut down its subsidiary in the African country for a while because of the massive demonstrations against President Mohamed Morsi.

According to the Japanese company, operation restarted and none of its dealerships were damaged, a spokesman also mentioning that sales were not affected nor that he was aware of any damage or effects on Toyota’s CKD assembly plant in Cairo.

Toyota builds the Fortuner mid-sized SUV in Egypt – based on the Hilux pickup truck – in a plant with 700 employees.

General Motors as well has a complete knockdown plant in Cairo, however, the Detroit carmaker has not offered any information as to the impact of the unrest upon its operations in Egypt.

Renault, has 38 dealerships in Egypt, said that it was not affected by the uprising, but the French carmaker did add that it is monitoring the situation closely. Renault entered the Egyptian market back in 1979, but they don’t have production facilities in the country.

Egypt is important to the overall car-making industry being the third largest car-making country in Africa after South Africa and Morocco. Carmakers built 36,800 units in Egypt last year – 11 percent less than in 2011 – according to the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers.

On the other part of the industry, car sales were actually up for the first four months of the year, by 14 percent, the top selling brands being Chevrolet, Hyundai, Toyota, Kia and Renault.

According to a number of recent report, the Egyptian military has seized power – as per their ultimatum a couple of days ago – and have placed President Morsi under house arrest.

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