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Egypt’s auto rickshaw gets a new, home-grown challenger

By Reuters - May 11,2017 - Last updated at May 11,2017

A worker makes a test for new ‘Mini-Car-Egypt’ car in s workshop, near Egypt’s pyramids of Giza, in Kerdasa, Egypt, on Wednesday (Reuters photo)

CAIRO — In his workshop near Cairo’s pyramids, Ahmed Saeed Omar has manufactured a mini four-wheeled vehicle that he hopes will fill a gap in the market.

Omar’s “mini car”, a rectangular vehicle made of a solid steel body which seats up to six people, is cheaper than the widely-used imported auto rickshaw — not much more than a covered three-wheel scooter with a passenger bench — because it is almost entirely locally produced.

Prices of imported products have soared since Egypt devalued its currency in November as part of measures to stimulate the economy. 

A rickshaw can cost around 38,000 Egyptian pounds ($2,105) and has a 175cc engine, while Omar’s mini car costs 34,000 pounds and has 300cc engine.

“This is a better alternative to the [rickshaw], more cost-efficient and more spacious,” Omar, aged 35, told Reuters.

Three-wheeled rickshaws are widespread in many Egyptian cities, usually in neighbourhoods with narrow alleyways, and are mostly imported from India.

Since the cost of imports has soared, Omar thinks there may be market for his design.

 

“The cars are in some showrooms and people have bought them,” he said. “There is demand.” 

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