Iranian Automaker Seeking to Gain Bigger Share of World Market

AS23421410.jpgTEHRAN (FNA)- Iran-Khodro car manufacturing company said that its global capacity will soon reach 800,000 vehicles.

Iran-Khodro (IKCO) has revealed that the next stage of development of its forthcoming car production complex in Belarus is scheduled to commence in six weeks’ time. The state-controlled firm has recently signed an agreement pertaining to this with the country’s government.

“According to the contract, the (second) phase will begin in late September after the Export Development Bank of Iran (EDBI) gives the go-ahead to the commercial plan of the project,” Manouchehr Manteghi, the managing director of Iran-Khodro Industrial Group is quoted as saying in a company release.

IKCO notes that “construction of paint and body shops will kick off at this stage and the project needs a US$75mln investment”. Under the latest contract, the partners agree to work towards a joint goal of eventual high local content for vehicles and components produced at the plant.

Habibollah Mohammadi, the plenipotentiary representative of Iran-Khodro in Russia and Belarus, said TAM, a supplier partner, is currently designing equipment to be used at the plant, adding that the Iranian and Belarusian banking systems will finance the project.

Further, in a joint economic meeting, the two contracting parties agreed to be exempt from double taxation, adding that the countries’ governments should approve the decision.

Phase one of this car production project included the purchase of semi-knocked down (SKD) parts by Unison, another partner, and the assembly and sales of parts in Belarus, Mohammadi added.

By the end of this year, some 1,200 units of the Samand LX sedan will be exported to the Eastern European nation in SKD kit form, IKCO states. Following this, exports of 5,000 vehicles powered by the new TU5 engine are scheduled for 2009. Finally, the 60,000upa production plant is expected to be up and running some time after this. Neither partner has announced a firm date for this.

In related news, IKCO said assembly of its cars in countries outside its home market will reach 25,000 units in the current Iranian year, which ends on 20 March 2009.

Hossein Najjari, the manager of Iran Khodro’s Comprehensive System Project, made the statement, listing a site in Egypt that assembles the Peugeot Pars, along with others in the Republic of Azerbaijan, as well as Senegal, Venezuela, Belarus and Syria (Syrian-Iranian Automotive Manufacturing Company – SIAMCO) that assemble or will assemble the Samand.

The Iranian firm, which is forced to operate under foreign investment embargo, stressed that it will soon have annual global capacity of 800,000 vehicles. This, it says, has been reached without any funds from overseas investors.

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