Economy, Auto

IKCO Targets Africa With Oman Plant

IKCO Targets Africa With Oman PlantIKCO Targets Africa With Oman Plant

Iran Khodro Industrial Group (IKCO) is considering a production line in Oman, targeting a market that stretches deep into West and North Africa, CEO Hashem Yekehzare said to IRNA on Tuesday.

"Oman has made a request for Iran Khodro to produce cars in the Arab country and the carmaker has welcomed the request," the company's CEO stated.

The proposal was made during Yekehzare’s meeting with Chief Executive Officer of Oman Investment Fund Hassan Ahmed al-Nabhani in Tehran, it added.

“If the plan proves to be economically viable and necessary investments are made, Iran Khodro would like to establish a production site in Oman and supply regional markets,” he said.

The plan is for semi-knocked-down (SKD) production of 20,000 cars, with 5,000 units intended for Oman and the remaining 15,000 for neighboring markets in Yemen, Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea and elsewhere, Yekehzare said.

“Iran Khodro would provide all engineering services and technology and instead expect financing by Oman,” he said.

Ali Alami, deputy head of Iran Khodro for exports, said the plan needed $100 million of investment.

The automaker, the Middle East’s biggest vehicle manufacture, is already producing 15,000 cars per year in Iraq.

Automotive industry is the second most active in Iran after oil and gas. The country has developed its domestic car industry for five decades.

It produced 1.6 million vehicles in 2011, about half of them by Iran Khodro, before sanctions were intensified by the West.

The company has been producing cars by Peugeot and Renault, with its own designed Samand sedan having a ubiquitous presence not only on the streets in Iran but those in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Azerbaijan.

The automaker used to supply 30 markets, with production lines set up in Venezuela, Belarus, Senegal, Azerbaijan and Syria.

Iran Khodro, along with their main rival Saipa controls over 80 percent of the auto sector in the Islamic Republic.