Lawmaker Demands Curbs on Low-Quality Chinese Cars

Lawmaker Demands Curbs on Low-Quality Chinese Cars
Lawmaker Demands Curbs on Low-Quality Chinese Cars

An MP has slammed the excessive imports of Chinese cars in the local market.

Pressing the issue, Jalil Jafari Boneh Khalkhal threatened that lawmakers could summon the industry minister to parliament over the unhampered imports of Chinese cars, ISNA reported on Saturday.

He warned those who control Chinese imports.

"Substandard Chinese SUVs and sedans have flooded the local market," the MP rued while urging the ministry to impose strict curbs on the middlemen.  

"While local carmakers are concerned about surplus workforce, unrestrained imports have undermined the local auto manufacturing industry which in the long run will jeopardize several thousand jobs."

Jafari said third-rate vehicles are a serious threat to the safety of passengers. "What strikes as surprising is how and why the ministry of industry allows the import of Chinese cars," he said.

Over the past four years, the Iranian market has been saturated with over two dozen Chinese models, including Chery, Geely, JAC, Lifan, MVM and MG.

Newer Chinese models available in the local market are FAW, Great Wall and Hafei.  

In May, Saipa, Iran's second largest carmaker and Chinese auto group Brilliance officially started a joint production line in Karaj, west of Tehran. Insinuating that there are invisible hands behind Chinese imports, the lawmaker added that it is unclear how the money for these transactions is moved.

This is not the first official to berate the ministry of industry for its preference for Chinese vehicles.  Earlier this year, leading members of the Iranian auto parts association slammed Chinese car manufacturers for the number of vehicles coming in.

Earlier in May, local auto parts maker Arash Mohebbinejad said production costs of Chinese and European cars do not vastly differ and Iranian buyers obviously prefer European brands over Chinese.

He added "domestic auto manufacturers should recognize that long-term cooperation with Chinese companies is not sustainable, specifically when western imposed sanctions against Iran over its nuclear energy program are lifted.

Mohebbinejad was then followed by his partner in the auto-part makers association, Sassan Ghorbani who stated that Chinese auto manufacturers will need to reduce prices by 20 percent if they plan to continue selling in Iran. Chinese carmakers have been unperturbed by the show of aggression from the local monopolies.

Earlier this week, the CEO of Lifan exports said, "We've been in Iran for a number of years.The time is ripe for increased competition in the Iranian market."