The Story of Audi: Who's Fooling Who

The Story of Audi: Who's Fooling Who
The Story of Audi: Who's Fooling Who

Audi is not opening a dealership in Iran according to a new email from the company's headquarters in Germany.

Last week Financial Tribune reported that Audi had teamed up with a local car dealership to sell their Q5 sports utility vehicle in Iran. Audi has since contacted the newspaper to deny they have begun cooperation with any local company.

In their response, Audi stated, "We hereby would like to inform you that an entry into the market of Iran is not executable for AUDI AG. Therefore we have no official dealerships or other kind of representation in this area."

  Local Response

Financial Tribune contacted the CEO of Bahar Khodro Kia Hosseinshahi who said, "Due to sanctions, an unofficial deal currently remains between Audi and Bahar Khodro", adding that he is "officially permitted" by the customs administration to import the cars. Hosseinshahi stressed that they are "offering sales and after-sales" services which claim is supported by the customs office.

Previously on July 7, Bahar Khodro, the company in the spotlight, announced that 25 Audi Q5s would take to the streets of Iran in 40 days.

Established in 2011, Bahar Khodro began as a car sales and repair company and stated it was now the official retailer of Audi in Iran.

The company previously confirmed that 25 Audi Q5s were waiting for license plates at Shahriar Customs Office, southwest of Tehran.

  Other Wild Claims

Another 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 customs, which said the ministry had not received an official request for Chevrolet imports, Fars News Agency reported.

At the time, Chevrolet had been included in an official list of national car licensees, released on Sobhane Online.

  German Auto Entry

Audi's albeit questionable entry to the Iranian market follows other German automakers' official 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.

Hence Audi's denial adds credence to the idea that in fact they are preparing themselves for market entry, albeit under the radar. There is also the question if the customs administration lists a dealer as an official representative, does this make them official?

This situation has also occurred in other industries. Last year one local computer company said it was the "official dealer" of Apple computers in Iran.

When Apple heard of this, they also denied having any third-party dealings with Iranian companies. It was later discovered that they were given a license by the customs office to import the electronics.