New Audi Arrives in Iran

New Audi Arrives in Iran
New Audi Arrives in Iran

An Iranian auto company, Bahar Khodro, has announced that 25 Audi Q5s will take to the streets of Iran in 40 days.   

According to Donyaye Khodro, the company has been legally certified to import the vehicles by Amir Hossein Qanati, the automotive deputy of Iran's Ministry of Industries, Mining and Trade.

Established in 2011, Bahar Khodro started as a car sales and repair company and is now the official retailer of Audi in Iran.

Financial Tribune contacted the company's CEO, Kia Hosseinshahi, who confirmed that 25 Audi Q5s are currently waiting for license plates at Shahriar Customs Office, southwest of Tehran.

The Q5s have 2- liter engines, which means they will not violate the ban in place for imports of luxury cars with engines over 2.5 liters.

Bahar Khodro has not yet set a definite price for the vehicles. The CEO said "pricing will ultimately depend on the cars' options and the final ruling of customs."  

According to Hosseinshahi, sealing the deal has not been without challenges, as Mercedes Benz and BMW have a firm foothold in Asian markets and they continue to lead in Iran.

In future, Bahar Khodro will also be importing Audi's A4 and A6 models to compete with Mercedes C and E class cars.

Financial Tribune contacted Audi Germany but did not get confirmation on Bahar Khodro before going to print.

Hosseinshahi, however, said Bahar Khodro has been pursuing the Audi deal since March 10. The company has an official permit from the ministry, allowing it to import the German vehicles until the start of the next fiscal year (March 20, 2016). "Documents available at the ministry can prove this claim," he said.

In 2010, Audi was reportedly interested in a joint venture with an Iranian manufacturer.

The report by Khabar Online said, "Two European makers of luxury cars, Sweden's Volvo and Audi AG from Germany will reportedly launch production lines in Iran by next year."

As Khabar Online correspondent reports, representatives of the two companies were in Tehran negotiating with a team of directors of Iranian automaker companies and Iranian government representatives to reach an agreement on initiating production lines.

The production lines never happened due to problems like sanctions placed on the Iranian auto industry as of 2011 and banking restrictions that deterred foreign businesses working with local manufacturers like IKCO and Saipa.

  Competitors Moving In

Currently, sales of American and British vehicles are officially banned in Iran, though one company called Saham Pajoohan Mehr based in Tehran claimed that it had been officially licensed to sell Chevrolets in May.   

When Financial Tribune contacted SPM for a confirmation of the deal, one representative said, "Yes the deal is real. We have been given the license for the Chevrolet brand in mainland Iran."

Only days later, the news was rejected by Qanati who said the ministry had not received an official request for Chevrolet imports, Fars News Agency reported at the time.

Audi's interest in the Iranian market follows other German automakers' moves in recent months to begin production lines of certain models.

Iran Khodro Diesel announced in May it is likely to produce Mercedes-Benz sedans, IKCO official Reza Hosseini announced on Sunday.

"IKCO Diesel plans to manufacture C-class sedans in its division, and further models are anticipated in the near future," he said in a press conference held for the presentation of the first locally manufactured minibus by this group, ISNA reported.