Business Field & History

Motorcar Industry

 

 

Mr. Faik Obayda
started a General Trading Company in the early part of the 20th century and went on to specialise in the Motorcar Industry. He became the sole agent for Daimler Benz in 1932 and continued to expand and organise that field till his sad death in 1995.

 

Originally the Mercedes Benz agency was granted to Mr. Faik Obayda covering Iraq, Kuwait and the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. The Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia was neglected as it was uninhabitable at the time. As to Kuwait, in the late 1940, a delegate was sent to the desert town of Kuwait where water was scare and no hotels existed. The delegate stayed at the residence of a prominent business man. After few days of evaluation, he returned to Baghdad to advise that there was not much prospects in this desert town and that it would be better if a subagent is appointed. The subagent was then persuaded to travel to Germany so as to be convinced to import at least one vehicle. Few years later, this subagent persuaded Mercedes to appoint him as a direct agent. Little was known, at the time, how fatal this was to prove when Iraqi business was Nationalised and Kuwaiti business flourished !

 

In 1964, Iraq adopted socialism and most businesses were nationalised. Unfortunately the Obayda business organisation suffered heavily because there was no provision for compensation. The government became the sole importer and distributor of motor vehicles, however they allowed independent imports of spare parts and the servicing of vehicles. This enabled the Obayda organization to maintain itís links to Benz and continued to service their cars, trucks and other vehicles, for which Benz were very grateful as it enabled them to flourish and maintain their reputation. As everyone knows, a product that does not have any servicing on the ground cannot succeed.

 

 

 
  The Obayda Building 1957(with the Mercedes Benz Star), was acquired in 1947. It is situated in Rashid Street, one of the oldest shopping streets of Baghdad. The building housed the Daimler Benz offices, BOAC (British Overseas Airways), the Baghdad Times Newspaper and many other Tenants. It was hit by a missile during the Iran-Iraq war but was repaired quickly.
  Mr. Faik Obayda, at the Mercedes Benz garage staff mess, 1958
  Mr. Faik Obayda, at the Mercedes Benz garage staff mess, 1958

 


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