Blog: Mercs for Iran
Dave Leggett | 1 March 2005
Just as US President Bush turns the heat up on the Iranians on the nuclear issue, the Europeans are seemingly pretty keen to do business with Tehran, irrespective of what the Bush administration thinks. The French are well in there with Renault's Logan project and PSA Peugeot Citroen has its 206 assembled there also (seeing the Paykan - 1960s Hillman Hunter - coming down the same Iran Khodro assembly line as the 206 was some sight).
DaimlerChrysler also has a presence, with market leader Iran Khodro making Benz trucks and buses under license for many years.
Now plans for Iran Khodro to make the E-class in Iran have surfaced. I'm not surprised. When I was in Tehran the summer before last (and I still enjoy trumping friends with that 'when I was last in Tehran' line) I recall being told that the E-class was coming and the volumes stacked up with what is being reported currently. This has been planned for a while, it was just a case of getting the economic parameters - like tariffs on imported kits - right. And will there be a market for these cars? You betcha. First-off, the E-class will be first into the luxury segment (BU imports are still, effectively, banned from Iran).
And what does a relatively well-off person in the Islamic Republic (and Iran has immense energy reserves remember, oil and gas revenues pretty healthy lately) do with their money? The options are limited perhaps, but driving a luxury car probably won't incur the wrath of religious conservatives.
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