Call for Launching Bus Production Line

Call for Launching Bus Production LineCall for Launching Bus Production Line

Minister of Industries, Mines and Trade Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh recently demanded that the country’s leading automaker Iran Khodro Company and its commercial arm, IKCO Diesel, start a production line for buses.

Iran's public bus fleet needs 17,000 new vehicles, an official with the Ministry of Interior announced.

During the last Iranian year (ended March 20), the budget for procuring buses was supposed to be allocated from revenues generated through conservation of energy. However, "the money has not been provided to this day," Deputy Interior Minister Houshang Khandandel said, Mehr News Agency reported.

According to an urban planning expert, Shahram Jabbarizadegan, Tehran's bus fleet currently has 6,500 vehicles, 40% of which are dilapidated and need to be replaced.  

"During the past five years, 95,859 luxury cars were imported and the number of those cars in Tehran is now 10 times that of buses," TINN news website quoted him as saying.

Tehran's public bus fleet transports 4.5 million passengers daily and buses are overloaded during peak times.

Nearly $2.5 billion exited the country for the import of luxury cars like Porsches, Maseratis and Lexus during the past five years.

"With that amount of money, 9,340 buses could have been added to the bus fleet," Jabbarizadegan said.

Official data released indicate that the overall number of coaches produced during a monthlong period ending May 21 in the country was 86, up 32.3% from last year's 65.

During the period, two companies, Oghab Afshan and Akia Duich, produced 55 and 30 buses respectively, indicating an 83.3% and 50% increase compared to the similar period of last year, ISNA reported.

During the same period, however, the production of buses in three major coachbuilders slipped 100% compared to last year, meaning they had no orders.

The three companies, Pishro Diesel Asia, Shahab Khodro and Yavaran Khodro Shargh, had only produced 15 buses during the same period of last year.

Iran's coachbuilders, like the car counterparts, have been hit hard in recent years from a slowing demand for new buses and luxury coaches. Iran's coachbuilders have also had to contend with new competition from external players. Chinese coachbuilders have begun to encroach in the market, the most notable of which, can be seen on Tehran's BRT service, which traverses the capital's main boulevard, Valiasr Street.

Other notable examples of foreign players beginning to get a foothold in the market can be seen in the country's growing VIP coach tour service, where formally joint contracts with Scania were major sources of income inside the country. Chinese companies are looking to get a piece of the action.