Car cultures around the world: Morocco, Africa

This is the first installment of our series of car cultures around the world/international street scenes.The kind of cars the people of Morocco drive can be described very simply: all types of Renault with a number instead of a name, Peugeots from the -04 and -05 series, and increasingly so from the -06 series, and Mercedes-Benz from the same era (1970’s, 80’s and 90’s), preferably with a Diesel engine. Of the modern cars, by far the most are either French or Dacia, most notably in the bodystyle what the French call “Fourgonette”, the archetypical Boulangerie-van like the Citroën Berlingo and Renault Kangoo, both in passenger and cargo versions. Add a handful of South-Korean and Chinese models to the mix and you’ll have a pretty accurate picture of what the streets of Casablanca, Marrakech or Agadir look like.

3x-Renault_18-Citroen_Berlingo-Morocco-Africa-street_scene-20153x Renault 18, of which one “Break”, and a Citroën Berlingo parked in Sidi Ifni, Morocco

These older cars are mostly imported as used cars from Europe and are kept going with cheap but clever engineering and thanks to widespread availability of spare parts. In their home countries, these cars used to be omnipresent workhorses, discarded to cross the Mediterranean after an exhausting life, but the few remaining are lovingly restored and cherished by collectors. Those collectors will cringe when they see those same cars still being treated as workhorses in Morocco. As you may have read in my report of the taxis in Morocco, the Mercedes-Benz 240d and Peugeot 504 Break with sometimes over 1 million kilometers on their odometer are still in heavy use for transporting people from one city to the other.

Peugeot_504_pick_up-Hyundai_H100-Morocco-Africa-street_scene-2015Peugeot 504 pick-up still in daily use at the Sidi Ifni fruit & vegetable market

The best selling new car in Morocco by far is the Dacia Logan sedan, which is produced locally in Tangier and is the only new car for sale below 75.000 Dirhams (+/- € 7.000,-). For comparison, a Citroën C1 minicar costs almost 110.000 Dirhams. The Logan is therefore also the cheapest rental car in Morocco. Other Dacia models, like the Duster, Dokker, Sandero and Lodgy are extremely popular as well, just like the Renault Kangoo. Morocco has a free trade agreement with the European Union, but levies a 17,5% import duty on vehicles from other parts of the world, and because of this, you’ll see fewer Asian cars on the roads than you’d expect. However, I did spot quite a few Chinese models from several brands, but most notably from Chery.

Chery_A1-Morocco-Africa-street_scene-2015Chery A1 parked in Agadir. Peugeot 407, Hyundai i10 and Dacia Logan in the background

Also check our Moroccan car sales data page to see how many cars were sold in the North African country from 2005 to present.

  1. Renault 18, my first car 🙂
    Bought by my father at the beginning fo the 80’s. Was still good driving at the the end of the 90’s.
    Perhaps now in Morocco ? 🙂

    1. Hi Damien,

      yes, there’s a good chance that your Renault 18 is still driving in Morocco today, especially if it was a diesel. It was a very reliable car and easy to maintain, and I’ve literally seen hundreds of them during my two weeks in the country. The same goes for the even older Renault 12. You can still find these two on every street corner, even though they’re more than 25 years old now. I’ve even seen a few Renault 18 GTD still in use as a taxi!

  2. Dear Bart,

    Thank you for this impression of the Moroccan car landscape. Please note that all the cars you refer to in your captions as Renault 11’s, are in fact Renault 9’s. Both are essentially the same, but the 9 is the saloon variant that was introduced first and the 11 is the hatchback that arrived slightly later to the market (both in the beginning of the eighties). The Renault 9 even managed to grab the European Car of the Year title.

    Regards, Stefan Wilms

    1. Hi Stefan,

      you’re absolutely right and I can’t believe I made that mistake, because I absolutely know the difference. My parents even had a Renault 11 (the hatchback, as you correctly point out) when I was a kid….

  3. I never knew about these things before reading your article. I’m glad that you shared this article

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