Fiat's Coop. With IKCO Mired in Ambiguity

Fiat's Coop. With IKCO  Mired in AmbiguityFiat's Coop. With IKCO  Mired in Ambiguity

Iran Khodro's Communications and International Relations Director Ali Mesrian rejected reports by Iranian news agencies that Fiat-Chrysler has bought shares in the local car manufacturing company.

The company official further said, "Any unofficial speculation or comment on his company's cooperation with global carmakers will interfere with the process of negotiations."

However, the company representative did not clarify whether negotiations are being held with Fiat-Chrysler or other foreign carmakers.  Emphasizing that any news regarding IKCO's operations is only released by his company's official website, Mesrian said, "Over the past few days, some comments on the cooperation of IKCO and global carmakers have been published while none of these is based in reality."

The company representative, however, noted that the CEO had mentioned serious negotiations were underway between IKCO and international carmakers.

"The details would be published through the company's official website," he said, which refers to Iran Khodro's website Mesrian further said he was interested in hearing about comments regarding possible joint operations.

It's clear that commenting on such issues requires detailed information and those who are not involved in the talks lack those details.

Mesrian also requested the media to remember that such negotiations and international agreements were important and sensitive, and any related press releases should be authorized by IKCO officials, including CEO Hashem Yekezare.

Fiat has not commented on this issue. When Financial Tribune contacted the company's Italian PR department for confirmation, if any, the company official responded by saying, "They had no information on this issue."

The topic of Fiat's entry into the Iranian market has been cropping up in the local press intermittently over the past year. On previous occasions, the company's representatives from Rome denied having any dealings by saying, "We not to believe in rumors from Tehran".

If Fiat is to enter the market, which they have tentatively done on previous occasions with previous limited runs of Fiat models coming via their Turkish assembly line, they have a market currently saturated by French vehicles.


  Chambers' Take

In response to Iran Khodro's denial of any deal being signed, the head of Italy-Iran Chamber of Commerce, Ahmad Pourfallah, said negotiations between the two sides are at a critical juncture with both sides mulling plans for setting up a joint venture, or a new company.

Any announcement of the deal, the official said, would be announced possibly when Italian Premier Matteo Renzi announces contracts between Iranian and Italian companies on April 12.

Pourfallah added, "We hope that with the financial banking services becoming better, we can have an agreement between Fiat and Iran Khodro."

Renzi will head a 120-strong delegation covering several trade sectors, including automobiles. However, Fiat has not been named. In January, Renzi noted that a new chapter of cooperation has opened between the two states in a wide range of areas and Italy is well-informed of Iran's strong sense of collaboration and key role in the Middle East.

Describing Italy as an active business partner, President Hassan Rouhani said at the time, "We hope Italy can start constructive economic cooperation with Iran as a pioneer, ahead of other European states in the post-sanctions era."