In Germany or the USA you are labeled as scrap in Iraq, you are part of a billion-business: used car parts, mostly from an accident. Judit Neurink has looked back in Erbil “Auto-quarter”.
In his workshop in Erbil Karhi Bakr repaired many German cars
“This is a money-printing machine,” says Karhi Bakr on the Import of used car parts to Erbil. The 59-Year-old owns a small car workshop in the capital of Kurdistan.
The city is a hub for trade with a used car, the have been written off in Western countries, after an accident, become. Some of the approximately 200 involved in the Kurdish traders have become very rich, says Bakr. “Their profits are huge. If I had a Partner who would be willing to invest money, I would travel to Europe to get car parts.”
Currently, he is limited in his workshop in Erbil “Auto-repair district of” German cars, with Parts that others have imported. Bakr lived for 17 years in Denmark, where he was specialized in Mercedes repairs.
‘Better than the Chinese spare parts’
Here in Erbil, most of his customers want used parts from the West. Only those who can’t afford this, buy the Chinese copies are cheap, but are considered of inferior quality. “Used parts are usually just as good as new, but cost half as much. Chinese parts cost about a quarter as much as a genuine, new parts.”
The Iraqis love cars; in many families, two stand in front of the house. But regular maintenance are not the Norm; most of the car owners are not willing to pay a lot of money for a repair. Therefore, the relatively cheap and high-quality used spare parts enjoy great popularity.
In the “Auto-quarter” can be found as well as all used car parts: “engine, transmission, refrigeration compressors, ABS parts, radiator, and front suspension systems – because our roads are so bad, but also the bumpers, doors and hoods,” says Bakr.
Complete older cars to import? Banned!
The parts come in containers, on Trucks into the country. At the border there are no quality controls, says Bakr. “They have no knowledge.” Therefore, you would never know how long a part lasts, “but it is certain that the used parts will last longer than the Chinese,” says the mechanic. Border agents would only verify that no viable all the cars are hidden under the Parts – for vehicles that are older than a year, may not be introduced.
Around the corner from Bakr workshop of the Load of Umed Abdelaziz. He sold mainly Toyota parts. The Japanese auto brand is one of the most popular in Iraq.
The customer want to most parts of the West: Umed Abdelaziz needed in his Shop in the “Auto-quarter” of Erbil
Once or twice a year, Abdelaziz travels to Dubai to buy parts of used cars from the USA or Canada. “We have to find the parts and then the cars will be disassembled,” he explains. “If we find a car where everything is good, then we leave it behind the front tires cut into two parts; then we can bring it fully here and here…”
There are two main routes for second-hand Western car parts in Iraq: from Dubai via the port of Bandar Abbas in Iran to Iraqi Kurdistan or Turkey. By the duties, the European auto parts that come from Turkey are more expensive.
A large business for a few
Abdelaziz is, like many of his colleagues, just a small fish in this big business. “Two-thirds of the business is in the hands of a few large dealers, the huge Container full in the country,” he says. “We all buy from you.”
One of these influential wholesaler Omar Said Ahmed. His office is in the “Auto district” is unexpectedly insignificant. He has just finished his midday prayer, and stowed his prayer carpet in a chest of drawers. “How likely is it that you have a new Mercedes, if he was written off after an accident, in parts here lands?”, Said asks, smiling. “I would say almost 100 percent!”
A Billion-Dollar Business
The trading volume is nearly 3.5 billion Euros, he estimates. And Erbil has become a key transit point – from here the car will be sold parts to Baghdad, Mosul and Basra. Reliable Figures on the extent of the business, there is little – after all, to be made in Iraq, almost all purchases with cash.
Every month brings Said two Container full of used car parts to Erbil. Each of them is an average of 900,000 euros. He even makes a Profit of about 27,000 euros. Before the war in Iraq damaged against the terrorists of the “Islamic state” the economy is difficult there were sometimes up to six containers per month, he says.
The warehouse under said’s office is today still almost empty. Why? “I sell almost everything immediately,” he explains. “Sometimes the delivery goes straight on to Baghdad.”
Omar Said Ahmed imported every month used auto parts in value of almost two million euros
From Europe or from the USA?
Said proudly tells, he would offer the “cleanest” car parts Erbil, which means that parts that are undamaged for the most part. He takes you from the USA and Canada. “In the past, I have imported the parts from Europe, but I’ve noticed that I couldn’t trust the dealers. Because of this, you have sent me engines without the electronics, so they were worthless.” In the United States, he has found a business partner he can trust. “We have never met in person, but he gets and sums of two to three million dollars from me in the Hand. I trust him totally.”
However, one drawback it has is that said’s parts come from North America: It will take longer. Container from Europe will need about 20 days to you in Erbil Container from the USA – at least 6 weeks.
The Growth Market Of Classic Cars
Said – the is also branches of private Cars – is always looking for new business. His latest idea: He wants to sell auto parts for classic cars. Even if it actually is banned, older cars in Iraq, have made some of the collectors to avoid the customs. And now you need replacement parts for their vehicles.
“Mazda, Opel, BMW, 1988 to 1992 – which, if you know a European company that would want to work with me,” ask Said. He handed over his business card and repeated what he said several times already: The business with the old cars and their Parts be damned profitable.