The managing director of Iran Khodro Industrial Group has announced that the company plans to start production of an automatic variant of its recently released Dena sedan, Persian Khodro reported on Monday.
Hashem Yekehzareh announced that “plans have been on the cards for a while” to produce the automatic version of its latest model, however, he said the company has only now got the production up to 100 vehicles a day.
He added the new car prices announced by the Competition Council peg the sedan at 42 million rials with the automatic version costing slightly more due to the more expensive equipment.
The chief said that IKCO has been forced to sell many of the new Dena to export markets, like Iraq and Azerbaijan as demand inside Iran has been lackluster in recent months. He added that so far 8,000 units of the car have been delivered to clients with another 3,000 waiting to be sold.
The Dena had been initially announced back in April 2011; however, due to sanctions being placed on Iran Khodro and their partner PSA Peugeot-Citroen pulling out in 2012, the project was mothballed due to lack of parts and funding.
Mass-production of the sedan did not begin until 2013, when criticism of IKCO for delays in bringing the car to market increased. The vehicle only arrived on the streets of Iran in autumn 2014 with the numbers in the low thousands. Consumer responses have so far been tepid, due to the cars design being watered down since its first design was shown in 2011.
The Dena, built on the early 2000 Samand platform — itself built on the 1980s Peugeot 405 platform — measures same in width and only 50 centimeter apart in length. Three different locally produced engines based on Peugeot designs are available; EF7 NA (dual-fuel), EF7 ELX and EF7 TC. Side airbags are optional while front airbags are included as standard, ABS will also be fitted on all models.
Iran Khodro’s main rival, Saipa, in recent months has taken a different tact to releasing new vehicles. In 2014 alone the second largest Iranian automaker released 7 new models in Iran with the help of Chinese automakers, with another half dozen on the way. It also released a hatchback version of its relatively popular small Tiba, aimed at owners of Peugeot 206’s as the price point is roughly half the French model.