Fabius: Iran Easier for Renault Than Peugeot

Fabius: Iran Easier for Renault Than Peugeot
Fabius: Iran Easier for Renault Than Peugeot

PSA Peugeot Citroen, previously the market leader in Iran, could find it more difficult to return to the country than fellow French car group Renault, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said after talks with Iranian leaders this week.

Peugeot and Renault have both enjoyed a strong position in the Iranian market before international sanctions on Tehran were introduced in 2011, forcing them to exit by the end of 2013, Reuters wrote.

Fabius, just back from the first visit to Iran by a French foreign minister for 12 years, said the feedback from Iranian ministers on Renault was positive.

"As far as Peugeot is concerned, Iranian leaders criticize it for leaving a few years ago in a way they dispute. So it could be more difficult," Fabius told France's Info Radio.

Last week, PSA Pegueot Citroen said it plans to export cars it produces in Iran with local partner Iran Khodro, the automaker's boss for the Middle East and Africa region has said.

"We plan to establish local production in order to export cars from our joint venture factory,” PSA head of MEA region, Jean-Christophe Quemard, told Automotive News Europe in an email.

PSA stopped supplying complete knockdown versions of its aging Peugeot 206 and 405 models to Iran Khodro in 2012 under pressure from then shareholder General Motors, which has since sold its 7% stake in PSA.

PSA wants to now invest in a local factory to produce current-generation models that it will sell both inside and outside Iran. A PSA spokesman declined to reveal the names of the other countries.

Currently, Iran Khodro supplies Peugeot vehicles to Azerbaijan, Iraq, Armenia, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Syria and Afghanistan, according to a report by Press TV on Wednesday.

That report said PSA and Iran Khodro would establish a 50-50 joint factory that would export 30% of its output.

The prospect of the lifting of international sanctions against Iran after its breakthrough nuclear deal with world powers has made carmakers such as PSA Peugeot Citroen and Volkswagen keen to do business with the country.