Seven-Month Vehicle Import Data Released

Korea’s Hyundai and Kia and Japan’s Toyota top Iran’s import charts
A bulletproof Toyota Land Cruiser with a 4.7-liter engine was imported from Turkey for the country’s consulate in Tabriz. A bulletproof Toyota Land Cruiser with a 4.7-liter engine was imported from Turkey for the country’s consulate in Tabriz.
Most high-end cars, namely Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Lexus and Porsches, have been imported from Germany

Data published by the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration (IRICA) reveals that during the first seven months of the fiscal year, (March 20-October 21) 36,617 cars were imported for a total value of $941 million. Barely 17 of the vehicles have engines larger than 2.5 liters.

In September 2014 the government spokesperson Mohammad Bagher Nobakht said import of cars with engines larger than 2.5 liters had been banned. Despite the prohibition, the use of such vehicles is allowed for government organizations and foreign diplomatic missions.

 Imports From UAE 

A considerable portion of the imported automobiles entered from the United Arab Emirates; 27,197 of the total 36,617 cars. Of the vehicles imported from the neighboring emirate, reportedly nine units have engines larger than 2.5 liters. 

These include a 2.7-liter Toyota Prado, a six-cylinder Land Cruiser, a 3.5-liter Avalon, and a 4-liter Prado GRX. Also imported from the Persian Gulf country were a 3.3-liter Hyundai Santa Fe, a 3.3-liter Kia Carnival Sedona and two Mitsubishi Pajeros with 3.5 and 3.8-liter engines. The Foreign Ministry ordered the majority of these models, but for some deliveries the name of importers was not mentioned. 

Ordering from home, Turkey’s consulate in Tabriz, East Azarbaijan Province, bought an eight-cylinder silver 4.7-liter Toyota Land Cruiser. The listings state the car is bulletproof.

 Turning Japanese

During the seven months, six cars with engines larger than 2.5 liters came from Japan. The models include two Toyota Prados and a Prado VRX, all with 2.7-liter engines. In addition two 3.8-liter Mitsubishi Pajeros and a 3.5-liter GLX Pajero were also imported from Japan. The names of the buyers were also unknown according to the IRICA data. Large Japanese cars are seemingly popular with embassies. 

 German Procured

Most luxury cars came from Germany, these included BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus and Porsche. 

Accordingly, a 2016 Mercedes E-300 with a 3.5-liter engine worth $48,000 entered the country following an order from the Foreign Ministry and generally used for visiting dignitaries.

Also, eight Porsche Boxsters and 28 Porsche Macan arrived from Germany during the period. All Porsches had engines smaller than 2.5 liters. The total value of the Macans was more than $3 million dollars. 

 Ban on Large Engines

Cars with engines bigger than 2.5 liters are in the “luxury” class, according to government import regulations.  This classification has been criticized by several pundits who say there are several brands with smaller engines that fall in the high-end category yet are unaffected by the government ban which only factors in the size of the engine.

The ban on luxury cars is apparently meant to reduce the amount of foreign exchange spending, reduce fuel consumption and tackle the worsening air pollution.

A report from the Trade Promotion Organization of Iran in June 2015 showed that during the second term of former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad 1,000 luxury vehicles with engines over 2.5 liters were released from customs administrations overnight in March 2013—six months before the end of Ahmadinejad’s term.

The TPO report said “over $2.5 billion was paid during Ahmadinejad’s second and last term in office for the import of luxury cars alone.” His presidency ended in the summer of 2013.

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