Car imports into Iran down by 68%

A senior Iranian car industry official says auto imports into the country have fallen nearly 70 percent during the first two months of the current Iranian calendar year (Starting on March 21).

Amir-Hossein Ghanati, the head of Automobile Industry Department of the Ministry of Industries, Mine and Trade said according to the latest figures published by Iran’s Customs Administration, car imports into the country witnessed a 68% year-on-year decrease during the first two months of this year.

The plunge in car imports into Iran comes against the backdrop of Iranian officials’ plans to boost auto exports from the country.

The 2014 production statistics by the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (OICA) show Iran’s auto production increased by 46.7 percent in the 12-month period.

The figures indicate the Iranian automakers produced 1,090,846 cars and commercial vehicles last year.

Earlier this month, The CEO of Iran Khodro Industrial Group (IKCO), Iran’s leading car manufacturer, said IKCO is in final talks with four major foreign companies to set up joint ventures.

Hashem Yekeh Zareh said IKCO has finalized a new contract with its French partner, Peugeot, which will be inked soon.

Under the new agreement, IKCO will have access to Peugeot’s export market via setting up a joint venture, said the Iranian official.

“Iran Khodro has resumed cooperation with Renault. Ties will also be expanded with Japanese auto maker Suzuki. Also talks with a German automaker have already reached final stage,” said IKCO chairman.

Yekeh Zareh described Iran’s car market as “lucrative” for foreign companies. He predicted that more foreign automakers will request to enter Iranian market in coming months.

“Iran will have cooperation with companies which seek to set up joint ventures. We don’t want to simply produce cars… It is not in interest of our auto industry to manufacture cars under the license of French carmakers. We seek to develop production through partnership,” said IKCO managing director.

Iranian media have already speculated that the country’s auto industry could witness a major rise in production of cars in 2015.

According to a survey conducted by the Business Monitor International (BMI), the production of cars in Iran is expected to witness a 28% increase following the conclusion of nuclear talks between Tehran and the P5+1 group of countries.

BMI also predicted that Iran’s total auto output could rise to above 2 million cars within five years.

The car industry is considered as Iran’s largest non-oil sector, accounting for nearly 10% of the oil-rich country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

The Islamic Republic of Iran ranks 18th on the list of the world’s top auto manufacturers.

Iran Khodro and Saipa companies account for more than 90 percent of the total domestic production in Iran.

By Press TV