Economy, Auto

Japan Automakers to Restart Iran Exports

Japan Automakers to Restart Iran ExportsJapan Automakers to Restart Iran Exports

Nissan Motor and other Japanese automakers are looking to restart exports to Iran, as the prospect of sanctions relief grows stronger.

Nissan has informed parts suppliers that it may resume shipments to the Middle Eastern nation for the first time since 2013 sometime next spring. It would send knocked-down kits, to be assembled locally, rather than finished autos, according to Nikkei.

The automaker appears to be looking to export enough of these kits for several thousand vehicles a year.

Suzuki Motor is also getting ready to ramp up exports of auto components for assembly in Iran. The company began producing around 4,000 sport-utility vehicles a year in 2005, but the sanctions reduced this output to a trickle since 2012.

The company is considering introducing new models to the Iranian market once the sanctions are lifted.

Isuzu Motors plans to resume the export of light trucks and other models here once that happens.

Toyota Motor also said it will consider a restart of exports to Iran in earnest after the sanctions end. Japan's biggest automaker halted shipments of passenger cars in 2010. It had sold a few hundred vehicles there a year, including the Land Cruiser, through local dealers.

New auto sales in Iran totaled about 1.1 million last year and are expected to reach 1.6 million in 2020 after the sanctions are lifted, according to IHS Automotive, a US research company.

Mazda Motor resumed exports of auto parts to Iran this past April in response to an easing of US and European sanctions. The company had halted shipments in 2013.

It is now supplying knocked-down kits for the Mazda3 compact car and pickup trucks as well as replacement parts. About 1,000 Mazda3s were sold in Iran last year. Mazda will consider expanding exports to the country.