Economy, Auto

Hybrid Camrys Will Join Tehran Taxi Fleet

Hybrid Camrys Will Join Tehran Taxi Fleet Hybrid Camrys Will Join Tehran Taxi Fleet

Hybrid cars have gradually become more popular over the past decade globally, but the Iranian market is only beginning to learn of the advantages of the part-battery-part gasoline powertrain.

In an interview with local car news website, Persian Khodro, the general manager of IrToya—Toyota’s local subsidiary, said hybrid cars are to gain a significant share of the car market in the coming years.

Abdolreza Fahimi added that hybrid vehicles may be able to garner at least 45% of the car market share and “this could be easily achieved.”

He added that the general confusion about what defines a hybrid is dissipating and the sales of such cars will likely increase in the coming years.

Fahimi noted that with their new deal with Tehran Municipality to provide hybrid Camrys as part of the capital’s taxi fleet, IrToya expects sales to remain steady.

“Recent qualms about the reliability of the cars stemming from cold days in Canada [reported in the local press] are nothing to worry about, considering Iran does not have the same weather as the northern country,” he said.

The manager added that the sale of hybrids will significantly help reduce air pollution, which blights many Iranian cities, and that they are “35 times less” polluting than gasoline-fueled cars.

Fahimi also said with the continuation of government support for reducing import tariffs, which is currently 4%, on such vehicles, its growth rate will rise further.

The push for “going green” comes from the President Hassan Rouhani administration’s backing for more environmentally friendly forms of transport.

In August last year, the government’s Infrastructure Commission approved guidelines for the production of hybrids and electric vehicles.

“The implementation of the guidelines is waiting the Cabinet’s approval,” the ministry’s director general of the Vehicle Department, Amir Hossein Qanati said.

“Loans will be given to those who plan to buy EVs or hybrids.”

So far, taxi drivers buying Toyotas are the first to be give these loans and as of December 2015, three banks offered the vehicles, including Parsian, Mellat and Tejarat.

Loans worth 200 million rials ($5,400) are offered to cabbies at 16% interest rate (2% above the base rate), to be paid back in 48 months, to help taxi drivers upgrade their old, polluting vehicles.

The price of the Toyota taxis is priced at 1.5 billion rials (under $30,000 at market exchange rate).

One taxi driver told Financial Tribune about the purchase of his new car, “I know it’s expensive but the quality of the car will see it in service long enough to pay the vehicle off.”