KARAJ, Iran ( Reuters ) – In the iranian summer estrus, portable fans cool workers stacking parts in the Middle East ’ mho biggest car factory. But the heavy lift is unaffected by the soaring temperatures as robots — from South Korea, Germany and Japan, — stamp sheets of steel into body panels, shaking the floors at a busy plant which shows no signs of being crippled by international sanctions. “ I think the sanctions make us stronger, ” said Amirshahab Yarian, one of the 25,000 workers at Iran Khodro ’ randomness main plant equitable outside Tehran, as sparks flew into the air from automaton welders on one production line producing 30 cable car bodies per hour. unusually for the Middle East, Iran has developed its domestic car industry for five decades and produced 1.6 million vehicles last year, about half of them made by Iran Khodro which aims to export around 10 percentage of its production this class.

tied with sanctions, which have scared off some suppliers from exporting to Iran, and a limp economy, Iran Khodro says sales rose 18 percentage in 2010 and plans a 13 percentage output increase this year to 860,000 vehicles. “ Iran Khodro international relations and security network ’ metric ton under sanctions, ” said Abdollah Babaei, Khodro ’ s international relations director. “ It ’ s the foreign companies that used to work with us that are under sanctions. ” It is a conversant abstain in Iran which insists that sanctions — aimed at pressuring Tehran to curb its nuclear ferment — have not only failed to hurt the economy but have actually made it more robust by forcing manufacturers to rely more on domestic product rather than imports. “ Our strategy to overcome sanctions was to reduce dependence on extraneous vehicle parts, ” Babaei told Reuters in his office from whose window the still snow-capped Alborz mountains provide a backdrop to the industrial production just outside. “ More than 90 percentage of our parts are domestically produced. ”

SANCTIONS AND INVESTMENTS

“ Over the past 10 years we have managed to reach a degree where we produce our own parts, ” he said. In 2000 Khodro was making its own cable car bodies, by 2005 its own motors and by 2015 it will have its own car platform, no longer relying on foreign-designed basics. “ In the last five or six years, we have produced as many cars as we did in the previous 40 years, ” he said. Cars and most of their components are not directly affected by the four rounds of United Nations sanctions which target items related to nuclear and military engineering or are considered of potential “ double use. ” Tighter sanctions imposed by the United States, the European Union and some other countries have hit extraneous investment in Iran ’ south oil and natural gas sectors and hampered access to international fiscal services but appear to have inflicted no send harm on the cable car industry. only a few minor foreign component suppliers have stopped doing business and it is their loss, Iran Khodro says. The bigger oversea players have not fled Iran where french and confederacy korean branded cars — made in Iran — are highly visible in a market where foreign-made vehicles are kept out by a 90 percentage meaning duty. Khodro ’ s main brand, the Samand, is a sedan based on the Peugeot 405 which retails, with ABS brakes and airbags, for fair under 150 million rials ( around $ 14,000 ). Khodro besides produces Peugeot branded cars and a translation of a Renault model under agreements with the french manufacturers, despite Paris ’ s digest for tighter U.N. and EU sanctions. respective other alien companies are show in Iran, most perceptibly South Korea ’ mho KIA Motors whose Pride model, built by the other big irani producer Saipa, is one of the most popular in Iran.

Like the EU, U.S. ally South Korea followed Washington ’ second lead and last year blacklisted 102 companies and banned investment and construction contracts to develop Iran ’ s anoint diligence .

CLOSED MARKET

The fresh family cars rolling off Iran Khodro ’ south production lines are a far cry from the rickety model it produced for years — the excellently polluting Paykan, based on Britain ’ s Hillman Hunter, a design from the 1960s which the company was hush making until eight years ago and which placid makes up a significant proportion of the cars choking Tehran ’ mho streets. “ It was an slowly car to repair. Everyone was his own or her own automobile mechanic, ” said Yarian, with a trace of nostalgia. Unlike the boxlike Paykan, Iran Khodro says its current models meet westerly befoulment and condom standards and are prized by consumers in 30 markets in the Middle East, Africa and the former soviet republics where it exports. It besides has five factories abroad, in Azerbaijan, Belarus, Senegal, Syria and Venezuela. But while foreign analysts are affect by Iran ’ s ability to keep producing cars in the face of sanctions, they say its oscilloscope to increase exports or more foreign expansion is limited. “ They keep producing cars, and that is storm, ” said analyst Pierluigi Bellini, Middle East and Africa director at IHS Automotive. Iran ’ s Khodro and Saipa share the iranian market of 78 million people with respective market shares of 49 and 48 percentage, Babaei said. Import tariffs make most foreign automobiles the reserve of the wealthiest Iranians. As function of a general denationalization drive, Iran Khodro is nowadays lone 20 percentage owned by the express, although shareholdings by government-related institutional investors such as pension and social security funds mean the stake is actually much higher. “ The iranian government … is quite acute on developing the car diligence and when you have a state behind you, you can direct resources to those industries, ” Bellini said. fiscal sanctions and Tehran ’ s policy to maintain a firm currentness both obstruct exports, analysts say, but Bellini said it was the cars themselves that placid had a long way to go to appeal to most foreign markets. “ The level of engineering of iranian made cars in not adequate for Europe, America or Japan, or even for China which are used to cars which are the best in the worldly concern, ” he said. “ They can not compete in that manner. “ What they can do is have some share in countries where there is a low buy exponent and compete with use cars. ”

Iran Khodro ’ randomness sights are higher. A new sedan called Dena, to be launched by August 2012, will offer higher specifications and continue the drive for a strictly iranian car, Babaei said. “ Whereas we used to have foreign help, the Dena is strictly iranian. ” editing by David Stamp Our Standards : The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles .

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