No Entry for US Cars

No Entry for US CarsNo Entry for US Cars

Iran's Industries Minister Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh said an unnamed American car brand was granted permission two years ago to sell in the local market.

Speaking in a television interview on Thursday, Nematzadeh said, "Unbeknown to me, two years ago, a company had been granted permission to import an American car brand from a third country."

He explained that the car company intended to bring in the vehicles to the mainland this year.

Nematzadeh added that he did not know if some of these vehicles have already entered the Islamic Republic, but he has ordered an investigation into the issue.

He said ultimately he is going to ask the company not to import the American-derived vehicles further or either suspend its import license entirely.

This incident highlights a much wider problem for global car makers inside Iran. Ultimately, they have to grapple with the problem of Iran's anti-American sentiment while the global chain supply is entirely integrated.

American cars are not entirely US-made anymore and the brand being offered in the Iranian market at the time was believed to be South Korea-made Chevrolet that was, until 2011, called GM Daewoo.

  The Company in Question

There has only been one report of a local company getting a license for importing American brands, which was widely covered by the domestic media.

The company accredited with the official license is the Tehran-based Saham Pajoohan Mehr, according to the official list of national car licensees released in January on Sobhaneh Online.

Financial Tribune contacted SPM for confirmation of the landmark deal and a company representative on the phone, who did not give her name, said, "Yes, the deal is real. We have been given the license for the Chevrolet brand in mainland Iran."

The representative added that the company had not started importing the cars.

  The Car in Question

The company was reportedly authorized to bring in the Chevrolet Trax model, according to local car website Asre Khodro.  In October 2013, France's Le Figaro reported that General Motors had been in discussions with Iran's automakers to produce GM-branded models in Iranian auto plants.

Since then, Peugeot Renault and Citroen have all signed deals with local manufacturers to produce new models in the country from the current Iranian year (started March 20).

In fact, Sherkat-Sahami, the company that used to make complete knocked-down kits of American cars, signed a deal in 1972 with GM and formed General Motors Iran Ltd.