Car News:  Oversteer

This Benin Car-Trading Site Is Where Your Old SUV Goes When You Trade It In

RELATED READING
See all Toyota Land Cruiser articles
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs AMC cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Bugatti cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Daewoo cars, trucks and SUVs Datsun cars, trucks and SUVs DeLorean cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Eagle cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Fisker cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs Genesis cars, trucks and SUVs Geo cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs HUMMER cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs INFINITI cars, trucks and SUVs Isuzu cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Maybach cars, trucks and SUVs Mazda cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Mercury cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Oldsmobile cars, trucks and SUVs Plymouth cars, trucks and SUVs Pontiac cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Rolls-Royce cars, trucks and SUVs Saab cars, trucks and SUVs Saturn cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Suzuki cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs Yugo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon
ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Doug DeMuro January 2017

I recently read this amazing article in the Wall Street Journal about what happens to old vehicles -- and specifically, old SUVs -- when car owners trade them in to dealers.

Of course, many of them end up on the dealer's lot, on Autotrader and on similar websites, or they're sold at auction and offered for sale by a different dealer. But many more end are sold at auction, purchased by exporters and then sent to Africa, where they live second lives as workhorse vehicles in places where new cars largely don't exist and therefore used cars aren't in high supply.

The article also goes on to mention ties to illegal companies, terrorism and money-laundering schemes once these cars start getting exported, but many also find their way across the ocean with legitimate businesses. Either way, these cars leave the United States, and they end up for sale on tremendously interesting automotive trading sites like this one, which is apparently sort of like the Autotrader of Benin.

I first discovered this was going on several years ago, when I ran a Carfax report on a 1995 Toyota Land Cruiser I had briefly owned and discovered it had been exported to Togo. Months later, I ran a Carfax report on a Land Rover Discovery a friend once owned, and I found it had been exported to Mozambique. Our old cars -- in neither case up to American standards, with many gauge-cluster warning lights on, numerous cosmetic issues and some mechanical problems -- were moving on to the automotive equivalent of retirement: Africa.

Although American-market cars seem to be finding their way to many African countries, the Wall Street Journal article specifically mentioned Benin, so I decided to peruse the Benin car trading sites. What I discovered there is tremendously interesting. Mixed in with Asian pickups and tiny European hatchbacks, sitting on dusty car lots with everything closely packed together, you'll find... a Toyota Matrix. A Venza. An Avalon. Cars never intended to see any market outside the United States, now sitting in a dirt parking lot, somewhere in Benin, waiting to go off to a new owner and a new life.

Hilariously, sometimes the cars still bear remnants of their life in America -- like a collegiate bumper sticker or a badge from some dealership in Ohio or Tennessee.

Not surprisingly, it's Asian cars that are the most common on this site: Toyota, Honda, Mazda and Nissan occupy the slots for most-listed cars, with Toyota far ahead of everything else. But it's hard not to chuckle when you're looking through a listing of used cars for sale in West Africa and you stumble across... a Ford Flex.

And so, if you've ever wondered what happened to your old car when you traded it in -- if you've ever been curious to find out where your old 4Runner or RAV4 headed after you were finished with it -- well, start browsing the Benin car-trading sites. You just might find it.

Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.

MORE FROM OVERSTEER:
I Bought the Cheapest Acura NSX in the U.S. With a Clean Title and a Manual Transmission
What Is This Weird Jeep Grand Cherokee?
Here's Why This Acura NSX Is Worth $125,000

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
This Benin Car-Trading Site Is Where Your Old SUV Goes When You Trade It In - Autotrader