Economy, Auto

Chinese Carmakers Hold Strong in Iran

Chinese Carmakers Hold Strong in Iran
Chinese Carmakers Hold Strong in Iran

With about 48,600 cars assembled this year through June, Chinese cars accounted for 9.75% of Iran’s total car output, a sixfold increase from just 1.6% in 2011.

Chinese automakers improved their position in Iran under international sanctions, during which many imported cars were too expensive and some foreign brands were not available.

With the lifting of sanctions against Iran in exchange for limiting its nuclear program, Chinese automakers will face more competition as other foreign companies are expected to step in, Wards Auto wrote.

Potential car buyers in Iran are waiting to see the European cars and rates offered to the Iranian market before making a decision.

Chinese manufacturers and their Iranian partners are also making efforts to improve their position by presenting new models at lower prices. The largest player doing business with Chinese automakers is Kerman Automotive Industries, which includes the companies Kerman, Modiran Vehicles Mfg. (MVM) and Rayen Vehicle Mfg.

Kerman assembled 25,815 JAC and Lifan cars this year through June, while MVM built 18,404 Chery vehicles sold under the MVM brand in Iran. In addition, Rayen assembled 782 Great Wall small sedans.

Earlier this year, MVM outsourced two models to contract assembler Zagros Khodro.

To reduce its dependence on Chinese cars, companies of the Kerman group, which assembled Daewoo, Hyundai and Volkswagen cars in the past, have entered into talks with automakers from a variety of countries.

In a meeting with officials from the city of Bam, Hamid Zamani, Rayen’s vice president, confirmed negotiations with South Korean, Japanese and German partners were underway.

However, Iran’s largest automakers are also playing the China card. Saipa Auto Group launched the production of two Brilliance models under Saipa and Pars Khodro brands earlier this year. It also builds the Saipa Ario sedan, a rebadged Zotye Z300, and plans to assemble Changan cars.

Zamyad, another subsidiary of Saipa, is launching the assembly of Chinese-made Dongfeng Yuan Xiaokang minivans, panel vans and pickups badged as Zamyad. The vehicles are known as DFSK or Sokon in export markets.

The assembly of our vehicles at Zamyad starts this year,” Pang Hai, general manager of Chongqing Sokon Motor Group’s export company, said. Iran Khodro recently launched the assembly of China’s Haima S7 SUV at its Khorasan plant and plans for an annual production of about 20,000 units.

Other assemblers of Chinese cars include Bahman Group, which offers FAW sedans and Zhongxing SUVs under its own brand, and Morattab, which has Gonow SUVs in its portfolio.

Another assembler, Diar, builds BAIC and Great Wall models. The company is making preparations to produce the BAIC Sabrina Electro hatchback electric car, known as the Beijing E150 EV in China.

In addition to Chinese cars made in Iran, other Chinese brands, including Changan, MG and Geely, are also sold in the country as completely built-up imports.