EDITOR'S NOTE: Because of the speed of developments in Egypt, this article has been updated and is different from its original print version.
BMW, General Motors and Toyota had to temporarily shut down all or parts of their operations in Egypt because of political unrest in the country. Each expects a return to normalcy this week.
BMW and GM closed their sales and production units in the country Thursday, July 4, following the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi on July 3.
BMW expected "a full return to normal business and production in Egypt by Sunday," a spokeswoman in Europe said in an e-mail. BMW's local operations normally close on Friday and Saturday, which are the regular weekend days in the country, with the workweek starting on Sunday.
An e-mail to GM Egypt marketing and export manager Karim Tinawi resulted in an auto reply saying the automaker would shut down July 4-6 "as a precautionary measure" and resume work on July 7.
GM, which sells the Opel and Chevrolet brands in Egypt, has a complete knockdown plant in Cairo, as does Toyota, which maintained production throughout the period of unrest. Since last year Toyota has been building the Hilux-based Fortuner mid-sized SUV at the plant, which employs 700 people, according to the company's Web site.
While production never stopped, Toyota did shut down all of its dealerships from June 29 to July 1. It reopened them on July 2.
"This was a precautionary measure taken by Toyota Egypt based on reports of upcoming large-scale demonstrations," a Toyota spokesman in Europe said in an e-mail, adding that Toyota has had no damage to its 25 dealerships in the country and that its overall car sales had not been affected.
A Renault spokeswoman said the company's business in the country, where it has 38 dealerships but no vehicle production, had not been affected.
Egypt is the third largest car-producing market in Africa after South Africa and Morocco. Automakers built 36,800 units in Egypt last year, down 31 percent from 2011, according to the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers.
Through April, Egypt's car sales were up 14 percent to 68,106 units, according to market researcher Focus2Move. Chevrolet was the country's top-selling brand with a four-month volume of 16,124, followed by Hyundai (10,510) with Toyota (6,798), Kia (5,435) and Renault (3,155) rounding out the top five, according to Focus2Move.