Economy, Auto

Kia, Hyundai Expanding Iran Market Base

Kia, Hyundai Expanding Iran Market Base
Kia, Hyundai Expanding Iran Market Base

South Korea's biggest carmakers are seeking to expand business in Iran.

The country's top carmakers are busy strengthening their foothold in Iran’s alluring automobile market, especially after the lifting of sanctions on Jan. 16, KBS World Radio reports.

With many economic barriers removed on the Middle Eastern country, Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors are now seeking to reinforce local partnerships and expand business in Iran.

Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group PR team's General Manager Sohn Yong noted that Iran’s population of 80 million and lack of cars have created business opportunities for automobile manufacturers.

"Iran is also very attractive for automobile companies, as it is the largest such market in the Middle East. Currently, only one out of 10 Iranians own vehicles, which is far less than the six out of 10 people who own cars in Europe," he said.

"So, we see huge growth potential. We are sure the competition will be fierce but we remain confident that we can be very successful. We are in the process of carefully reviewing our strategies to ensure sustainable business with Iran."

For Hyundai and Kia, the Middle East has been a very important and successful market in recent years.

Hyundai Motor had exported over 20,000 cars to Iran annually from 2009 to 2011, before sanctions against Iran in 2012 halted the sales.

The carmaker had sold semi knocked-down vehicles to Iran in partnership with the local firm RVMCO. Kia also has had a partnership with Iranian firm SAIPA, which assembles semi knocked-down Kia models.

South Korea’s Trade Ministry, Finance Ministry and Transport Ministry last week agreed to pursue more partnerships with Iranian firms, including plans to create joint ventures.

The competition, however, is expected to intensify for grabbing a big chunk of the massive market.

Alongside Hyundai and Kia from South Korea, Daimler, Renault, Peugeot Citroen, Nissan and Suzuki are also vying for business in Iran.