Economy, Auto

Audi Reaffirms Non-Entry Status

Audi Reaffirms Non-Entry StatusAudi Reaffirms Non-Entry Status

Audi, the German luxury carmaker, has reaffirmed that it has not entered the Iranian market or signed up with a local distributor.

The new press release followed a report by a local automotive website Asre Khodro that a domestic car company, Ramak Khodro, hosted a high-profile event on Monday in Tehran's Milad Tower wherein nine Audi models were presented.

The models, including the A4, A6 and Q3, are expected to enter Iran's market soon. The statement said, "Audi AG Company, as the manufacturer of Audi cars and exclusive owner of the Audi Brand, has no official representative, distributor or importer in Iran."

The company goes on to clarify its position on market entry by saying, "Audi AG has not granted any real or juridical Iranian or foreign person the authorization to import its products". It added that it has not granted "representation to third parties for the import of Audi products to Iran".

The company stressed that no entity has the authorization to use their name in Iran.  "Audi AG will not guarantee the compliance of quality of products offered in the Iranian market without the authorization of Audi," it said. This means those who buy Audi vehicles in Iran are on their own when it comes to servicing and the German company holds no responsibility if something goes wrong with the cars.  Also on December 27, an article was published in the Financial Tribune quoting Eghtesad News that Audi had signed a contract with Ramak Khodro.

Earlier in July, Financial Tribune reported that another sales company, Bahar Khodro, announced it too had the official license for distributing Audi vehicles in the country. However, Audi quickly denied signing any contract with Bahar Khodro.

Financial Tribune contacted Bahar Khodro's CEO Kia Hosseinshahi who said, "Due to sanctions, an unofficial deal currently remains between Audi and Bahar Khodro", noting that he is "officially permitted" by the customs administration to import the cars. Hosseinshahi stressed that they are "offering sales and after-sales" services, which claim is supported by the customs office.

This latest Audi-related muddle comes after other international brands have begun legal proceedings against Iranian companies claiming to be their official representatives. However, in a majority of cases, it seems that the domestic companies believe they have the "official license", as they perceive a green light from local authorities to be sufficient to claim official status.