Tunisia - Country Commercial Guide
Automotive Parts, Services & Equipment
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Automotive sales and services represent one of Tunisia’s major economic sectors.  Vehicles are not fully manufactured locally, but Tunisia does have a small car-assembly industry.  The GOT utilizes a strict quota system that caps the number of vehicles allowed into the country annually.  The quota thresholds take into consideration Tunisia’s trade deficit, market demand for new vehicles, and investment arrangements among foreign carmakers and domestic parts manufacturers.  As of 2012, all vehicles older than five years, including heavy trucks, have been prohibited entry.  Tunisian customs applies a graduated tax on all vehicle imports that rises with vehicle age up to the five-year limit.

The total number of passenger cars in circulation is around two million.  In 2022, sales of new passenger cars and pick-up trucks totaled 55,455 vehicles, a 9% decrease compared to 2021, but the number of vehicles sold in the market is much higher, due to imports by private individuals.  The Tunisian automobile market has been historically dominated by European brands, however, the total market share of the 20 Asian brands represented in Tunisia, such as Toyota, Kia, Hyundai, Suzuki, Haval, and Geely, reached 62.9% in 2022.  Both GM and Ford are present, though market share for U.S. cars remains under 5%.  The market for hybrid powertrain vehicles is still undeveloped; however, many brands such as Toyota, Kia, Mercedes, Honda, BMW, Audi, and Hyundai started offering hybrid car models in Tunisia.  In January 2020, the GOT started authorizing the marketing of 100% electric vehicles in the country but thus far the domestic market is still undeveloped and only five brands are offering 100% electric car models in the local market.  French multinational Total Energies launched the first public charging station for electric vehicles in Tunis and intends to install them at all its filling stations in the capital and surrounding suburbs.  National Petroleum Distribution Company (Agil) and Tunisian power utility STEG agreed to establish a pilot of 10 charging stations for electric cars located in the country’s six largest cities.  So far, there are 60 charging station for electric vehicles in Tunisia.

Effective January 2022, the GOT implemented a 50% customs duty reduction on hybrid cars and a full duty exemption on electric vehicles to encourage the expansion of the sector.  However, the lack of charging station infrastructure, little after-sales service know-how, and the relatively higher prices of the vehicles compared to combustion-engine still hamper the segment’s growth.

Automobiles with large-capacity engines carry a higher consumption tax, with rates up to 277% for gasoline engines and 360% for diesel-fueled engines.  The government reduces these rates to 67% and 88%, respectively, if imported via authorized distributors.  The reduced tax scale is intended to allow the price of automobiles sold through authorized dealerships to be competitive with vehicles purchased privately overseas and shipped back to Tunisia. 

The pump price for diesel and gasoline is controlled by the government but comparable to fuel costs in the United States.  Tunisian drivers pay more than their counterparts in neighboring Libya and Algeria but substantially less than European drivers.  Two grades of diesel and unleaded fuel are available. 

More than 260 automotive component companies, of which 65% are fully exporting, operate in Tunisia through the entire value chain of automotive spare parts, electrical cables and wires, electronics, engine components, design, plastic and rubber, and textile and leather.  The automotive industry in Tunisia employs about 90,000 direct jobs as of 2022.   The Tunisian Automotive Association, a leading Tunisian automotive component industry trade organization, has 40 member companies.

Leading Sub-Sectors

The Tunisian market presents opportunities for mid-sized U.S. vehicles, including pickups and SUVs.  Tunisian dealers express interest in representing U.S. auto manufacturers.  There is local demand for larger vehicle assembly plants, mainly for heavy trucks (3.5+ tons), pickup trucks, and minibus vans, which could attract foreign investors.  Some Asian brands such as Geely (China), Hyundai (South Korea), Kinglong (China), Mahindra (India), and SsangYong (South Korea) are already investing in local assembly projects.  Expansion of the market for U.S.-brand vehicles will contribute to higher demand for U.S. automotive parts and components.  Dealer service departments will remain a potential profit center as well, despite the widespread availability of mechanic shops.


Post-revolution restructuring of the automotive sector has allowed for a more open market with more foreign brands.  U.S. manufacturers should be sensitive to the current Asian and European dominated market structure.  The motorization rate in Tunisia is very low, with only 187 vehicles per 1,000 inhabitants in 2021 (a quarter of the rate in Europe).

Attracting investment in the manufacture of automobile components for export is a priority for the GOT, especially during the current economic situation marked by the exit of several investors from Ukraine.  Operations dedicated for export of automotive parts to European markets offer promise, and several U.S. companies have successfully invested in this sector.  For domestic sales, Tunisians can be very price sensitive, and the price of spare parts often exceeds quality.