Mitsubishi May Produce in Iran

Mitsubishi  May Produce  in IranMitsubishi  May Produce  in Iran

The Japanese automotive manufacturer Mitsubishi Motors Corporation might be the next foreign carmaker entering Iran, auto news website Donyaye Khodro reported on Friday, citing an official.

The remark was made by Hamed Ali Mobaraki, managing director of Chabahar Free Trade Zone, after a Japanese delegation comprising representatives of 10 major corporations visited the southeastern province on Wednesday.

Currently, Arian Motors is the only company having a contract for the import of Mitsubishi vehicles from Japan. They sell the ASX, Lancer, Outlander and the sub-compact Mirage.

The move by the Japanese carmaker comes as the Pacific Rim country seeks to boost its sales in new markets and increase its overall presence internationally.

Rival Japanese car companies Honda, Subaru and Toyota have all increased their presence in the Iranian market over the past 12 months, with Honda spending considerable money on marketing their cars via the Family Motors Auto Group.

The surprising move by the Japanese automaker has excited Iran's auto enthusiasts who had hoped many international manufacturers would open up production facilities in the southern free zone.

Chabahar Port has been touted as the country's newest manufacturing hub, according to administration officials.

In June last year, Akbar Torkan, presidential advisor and secretary of the High Council of Free and Special Economic Zone  said he hoped Chabahar would become a third "manufacturing axis" for the country's auto production to dismantle the duopoly of Saipa and Iran Khodro, which currently control about 80 percent of the country's auto sector.

India signed a memorandum of understanding last year to begin investment in the port, allowing the country direct access to the Central Asian markets.

Iran’s automotive industry, after the oil and gas sector, accounts for 10% of the country's gross domestic product . Iran produced 630,639 cars in 2013, which shows a 25.6% decline compared to 2012 due to sanctions imposed by the West on Tehran over its nuclear energy program.

The Chabahar Free Trade Zone lies near Chabahar Port. The strategic area is seen as the shortest and the most secure route connecting Central Asian independent states and Afghanistan to high seas. It also enjoys proximity to one of the largest oil, gas and mineral resources of the world and is the only ocean port of the country.