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Libya: ZX Auto GrandTiger replaces Toyota Hilux as rebels’ choice

ZhongXing/ZX Auto GrandTiger in Libyan Civil War outfit

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In 2011 the Arab Spring took Tunisia, Egypt and Libya by storm. But aside from overthrown governments, what really interests us car enthusiasts is to know how well Chinese manufacturers are doing in these countries. If you are a regular reader of BSCB you will know that Chery has been selling Speranza-branded, locally produced cars by the bucket in Egypt. The Libyan Civil War is giving us another piece of the puzzle in what could well be a significant event in the history of Chinese car manufacturing.

3 x ZX Auto GrandTiger in Libya

For decades, the Toyota Hilux has had a monopoly on the market for rebel groups and terrorists from Afghanistan to South America, thanks to its ability to be modified to fit any sort of heavy gun or basic missile systems. In Libya, it had become a key utensil in waging war when the ‘Toyota War’ between Libya and Chad in 1987 was largely undertaken by the Hilux from both sides, carrying armed men through thick and thin whilst armed to the teeth.

ZX Auto launched the 2nd generation GrandTiger at the 2012 Beijing Motor Auto 

However the current generation Hilux had become too complex to operate and fix, so when it came to choose a cheaper, simpler but reliable pick-up to fit their heavy artillery on, Libyan rebels picked the Zhongxing (or ZX Auto) GrandTiger, especially as 5,000 of them had recently been sent to the Libyan government. Based on the previous generation Hilux, the ZX Auto GrandTiger could help alter the perception that Chinese cars are unreliable. After all, if Libyan rebels could overthrow a government with it, surely it can handle any other type of task.

ZX Auto LED displays showing the Libyan war at the 2012 Beijing Auto Show

Completely overshadowing the Hilux, the GrandTiger was featured on worldwide TV screens reporting on the Libyan revolution for a solid 6 months. And if Toyota was concerned about the controversial success of the Hilux during the Libya-Chad war, ZX Auto is fully embracing the marketing opportunity the success of the GrandTiger in Libya offers. At the Beijing Auto Show earlier this year, ZX Auto’s stand featured giant LED screens showing scenes of the Libyian civil war on a loop…

Previous post: Libya: Chevrolet Optra possibly #1 -updated with more pictures

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Libya: Chevrolet Optra possibly #1- UPDATED with more pics

Mitsubishi L200 – picture by Al Hayat

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* Now updated with pictures from Emirati newspapers Al Khaleej and Al Hayat *

YouTube videos of the streets of Libya’s capital, Tripoli, show that in all likeliness, the Chevrolet Optra, old gen Mitsubishi Lancer, Toyota Hilux and Mitsubishi L200 should lead the models ranking in the country. It looks like they have been on top of the charts for a few years in Libya given the various generations present in the streets.

Libya street scene – August 2011 (picture by Al Khaleej)

Chevrolet Optra

Other successful models include the Toyota Corolla, Nissan Tiida and Hyundai Santa Fe, Sonata & Accent.

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