Iran phases outs low quality cars amid concerns over killer smog

Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 26

By Farhad Daneshvar – Trend:

There are various factors identified as the causes of the serious air pollution in Iranian large cities among them substandard passenger vehicles and heavy duty trucks are singled out as the biggest contributors.

Heavy air pollution shrouded capital Tehran’s sky over the almost past two weeks, shutting down schools at the megacity for a couple of days.

The air quality index of Tehran in this period hit 178, far beyond the acceptable threshold of 50.

Isa Kalantari, the head of head of Department of Environment, earlier said that the incomplete combustion of fuels in aged cars cause the 70 percent of air pollution in the capital city.

This is while the Iranian national standards organization has decided to stop the production of 25 sub-standard vehicles in the country.

SAIPA 131, SAIPA 132, SAIPA 141, ARIO 1500 are among the banned vehicles produced by SAIPA, the second largest carmaker of the country,

However, the leading car manufacturer says that it will continue producing one of its banned brands over the next year.

SAIPA officials argue that the company had already stopped producing SAIPA 141, SAIPA 131 and SAIPA 132 but the company is still producing ARIO 1500 as it had received permission for obtaining license plates until the next winter.

Iran Standard and Quality Inspection Company last year criticized SAIPA over the company’s failure to meet quality standards.

Saipa manufactured about 345,210 cars during the first seven months of the current fiscal year starting March 20, indicating a rise of 20.6 percent compared to the same period of the preceding year.

This is while the watchdog body has also called for halting the production of a group of Chinese car including MVM 315, MVM 550, TIGGO and LIFAN in Iran.

The representative of the China’s Cherry has announced that it has stopped manufacturing the above mentioned cars.

In the meantime, IranKhodro as well as Bahman group have also announced that they had earlier stopped producing the banned brands.

IranKhodro is known as the largest vehicle manufacturer of the country and SAIPA stands in the second place. Bahman group and Kerman Khodro are also among the main players of the industry.

The organization has also banned manufacturing at least a brand of bus and six brands of TIR trucks.

It appears that shortcomings in the safety of the cars as well as their role in air pollution are among the main reasons to ban them.

Iranian government has taken the control of the automotive industry over the past decades and efforts to privatize the industry have produced no tangible result, so far.

A group of critics of the state-owned car producers claim that manufacturers enjoy “enormous benefits” from producing polluting cars that is why they oppose decisions aimed at phasing out these vehicles under the pretext of protecting workers.

Iranian automakers in total manufactured more than 817,000 passenger cars over the first eight months of the current fiscal year, 16.7 percent more year-on-year.

President Hassan Rouhani’s government following the implementation of the country’s nuclear deal with the world powers in January 2016 encouraged joint ventures for producing cars between Iranian and international manufacturers, in a move aimed at renewing the aged industry.

A recent study by Tehran University of Medical Sciences suggests that air pollution leads to one in 10 deaths in the country.

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