Russia Carmaker Seeking Iran Entry

Russia’s UAV is looking to take a slice out of the low-cost Chinese pie with its 4x4 offerings
Russia Carmaker Seeking Iran Entry
Russia Carmaker Seeking Iran Entry
The UAZ cargo and pickup sells for around 609,000 rubles ($10,487) and 809,000 rubles ($13,800) for the Patriot base model

During the Tehran Auto Show that was held last week several manufacturers showed their latest models to the large number of visitors wanting to offload their locally-produced Peugeots and Prides. 

With the end of sanctions, Renault, Peugeot, and a raft of Chinese companies showed their latest models to the car lovers who attended the flagship event. However, more surprising was the debut of Russia's UAZ 4x4 vehicles on display directly across from the Citroen spin-off DS Automobiles stand. 

The three Russian automobiles included the Patriot SUV, cargo and pickup models, the latter two being variants of the same pickup platform. The Cargo is a single cabin pickup able to carry a box on the rear (great for postal companies heading off-road), while the second variant was a double cabin version.

The Patriot SUV, however, had dozens of people prodding and sitting inside the white models on show. Unsurprisingly the dashboard was basic and quite utilitarian – not unsurprising for the Russian manufacturer which prides itself as making vehicles that can drive on tundra and in inhospitable terrain in that country. 

>Expensive For Local Market

Tavan Khodro, the local representative, more famous for importing a limited run of Opel models in recent years signed the deal with the Russians months back and will be the official importer. 

Financial Tribune contacted the firm to ask about the prices of the vehicles, a representative in their Esfahan office said the Patriot will be priced anywhere near 1.1 billion rials ($28,900), while the pickups are estimated to cost around 800-900 million each ($20,000 - $23,000). 

That sales price may fall in the coming months as the company is looking to produce the vehicles in Iran, according to the company representative who did not want to be identified by name. 

Meanwhile in Russia, the UAZ Cargo and Pickup sells for around 609,000 rubles ($10,487) and 809,000 rubles ($13,800)  for the Patriot base model. 

In the northern market the UAZ Pickup has 2.7 liter petrol-engine with the capacity of 134 horsepower and 2.2 liter diesel engine with the capacity of 113.5 horsepower, and a 5-speed manual gearbox. The Patriot SUV Patriot has a 2 liter petrol engine or 2.2 diesel-engine and a 5-speed manual gearbox. 

The petrol engine version of the Patriot is likely to be the only model to enter the country.

According to the company brochure, it intends to only sell the 2.7 liter petrol engine version, which currently breaks import rules, as cars over 2.5 liters are banned from being imported into Iran.

>First Russian Vehicle in a Decade

The UAZ will be the first Russian-designed vehicle to enter the Iranian market in over 10 years. The last vehicle to ply the Iranian asphalt was the GAZelle van over ten years ago. 

UAZ models are mostly associated with the Russian military, with the Kremlin deploying the Patriot and Cargo models in the ongoing conflict in Syria. 

Military grade version of the vehicles were first demonstrated to Russia's President Vladimir Putin in 2016 and have since been the backbone of that fighting force against the Daesh terrorists. 

Tavan Khodro and UAZ are likely to face an uphill struggle with their vehicles to win over increasingly picky Iranian car buyers who now have three times as many vehicles to choose from since President Hassan Rouhani too office four years ago. 

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