Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan. 19 / Trend, A.Yusifzade /
Ministry of Mines and Industries said on Monday that the country's automakers have produced 983,927 cars during the first nine months of the current Iranian year (March 21-December 21, 2010) showing a 15.7 percent growth compared to the same period last year.
Also, the ministry announced that the 14 carmakers active in the Iranian auto industry have manufactured 137,862 sets of cars during the last month (November 22 to December 21), Fars News Agency reported.
Meantime, the country has produced 11,164 four-wheel-drive cars during the first nine months of the current Iranian year, which shows a 91.67 growth in comparison with the same period last year.
Pars-Khodro, Saipa, and Iran-Khodro companies are the main car producers in Iran, with the latter being the largest carmaker in the Middle East, Central Asia and North Africa.
Iran-Khodro Company (IKCO) has an annual production of more than one million vehicles of various models, including cars, trucks, minibuses and buses and is also ramping up exports as it builds a global presence outside Iran.
The company's officials have said they want to boost annual production to more than a million vehicles and hike exports to more than 600,000 by 2016.
Agreement with Japan
Tokyo's ambassador in Tehran said an agreement has been reached to produce various models of Japanese automobiles at Iran's giant automaker company production facility near the capital.
"Japanese entrepreneurs are eager to do business with Iranian automakers," Kinichi Komano said, adding that "the Japanese embassy pays special interest in developing this cooperation," Presstv reported.
Komano, who is serving his third term as Japan's ambassador to Tehran, made the statements during a visit to Iran Khodro's (IKCO) production facility on Monday.
"Taking advantages from robots, 80 percent of IKCO production lines work automatically; this is very impressive and represents the company's high level of automation," the Japanese ambassador added.
During the visit, IKCO Vice President Javad Dehnadi offered a tour of the facility, and provided an account of the company's production, sales and exports.
In 2007, IKCO began the production of Japan's Suzuki Grand Vitara. According to a statement released by IKCO on Monday, the two companies have agreed to produce other Suzuki models in the future.
IKCO in the past two years has also begun kit assemblies in Azerbaijan, Belarus, Venezuela and Argentina, with plans to add assembly in Egypt, Vietnam and China in the next year or two.
The vehicle of choice for most of these local assembly operations is the Samand, a compact sedan based heavily on the Peugeot 405 platform and with the price starting at about $9,000. "Samand" is the Persian name for a local breed of horse.
Market observers believe that Samand could challenge future Chinese and Indian imports at the low end of the market.
Samand trade name is now registered at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
Iran-Khodro group, the Iranian car manufacturer and owner of Samand, is the first Iranian company whose product is registered at the WIPO.
The state will ensure against the fraudulent use of the name, industrial design, and copying of the product manufactured by the company worldwide.
Many other world countries, including Turkey, Bangladesh and Pakistan are considered as established importers of petrol and gas-powered Samand models with left and right-hand steering-wheels.
Earlier, the automaker said it had plans to incorporate micro-hybrid technology into vehicles at the manufacturing stage.
In August, a report by the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers placed Iran on the list of top-five global car producers with the most growth in 2009.
Iran's car production showed a 9.5-percent growth last year, ranking fifth on the OICA chart after China, Taiwan, Romania and India.
An IKCO statement said the company alone produced 688,000 passenger cars in 2009, pointing to a 13-percent growth in the manufacturer's turnout despite the crushing global economic crisis.
In 2008, Iran ranked 16th with the total production of 1,274,184 passenger and commercial cars.
Japan lost its ranking to China with a 31.5 percent fall in overall production, but maintained second place, followed by the United States and Germany according to the Paris-based organization's report.