Saipa Holds Firm in Iraq

Saipa Holds Firm in Iraq
Saipa Holds Firm in Iraq

Saipa, Iran's second largest vehicle manufacturer, has exported 135,000 vehicles to Iraq, during 2010-15, selling the most number of cars in the Iraqi market.  

Extensive sales networks and after-sales services, competitive prices and fuel efficiency are the main reasons for Saipa's strong foothold in the Iraqi market, ILNA wrote on Monday.

The availability of spare parts is especially appreciated by drivers who must ply the often worn-out roads in Iraq.

According to the report, if and when a car owner is short of cash, there will always be a buyer for a Saipa vehicle almost instantly after it is put up for sale. The cars also hold their value with little depreciation.   

Saipa started operations in Iraq as early as 2010. As the infrastructures were not in place, it started assembling cars from complete knock-down kits. Later in 2013, a production line was inaugurated, which currently produces 120 vehicles in two working shifts daily. Iraq is also set to locally produce spare parts.   

Although highly deprecated in Iran, Saipa's products are a must-have for Iraqis. The 131, better known as Saba in Iraq, is specifically a favorite with Baghdad's cab drivers who refer to it as "The Breadwinner."

Iran's Standards and Quality Inspection Company assessed 28 locally produced cars in a monthlong period, ending May 21. Some categories included technical, assembly and body; Saipa's vehicles came in last place in all three.  

Of the 17 vehicles assessed in the 250-500 million-rial ($7,600 -$15,200) range, Saipa's Tiba 2 with a score of -54 emerged as the worst.

Below the 250 million rials price range, Saipa's Pride (131) also ranked worst. The testing company did not include the score for Pride in their chart.  

Several Iranians criticize Saipa on the grounds that the same cars are being sold for higher prices in Iran compared to the Iraqi market.  Although sinking oil prices, regional tensions and civil war have taken their toll on Iraq's economy, Saipa does not need to fret. It plans to expand production capacity and also start to roll out its new model Saina.

Saina, which has not yet been released in the Iranian market, is a facelifted version of Saipa's Tiba, and is slated to be sold at 300 million rials ($9,000 at market exchange rate) in Iran.

The five-gear vehicle, with a 1.5 liter, 80 horsepower engine, is expected to come to the Iranian market by the end of the current Iranian year (March 19, 2016).