The UK and Iranian automotive industries have struck an accord that will see UK companies working as advisers to help Iranian automotive components companies develop further ‘to the mutual benefit of both parties’. The agreement has been reached between the UK’s automotive industry trade body, The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), and the Iran Industrial Estates Corporation, a government body under the Ministry of Industry and Mines, writes just-auto managing editor David Leggett in Tehran.

The agreement was sealed on Thursday at a presentation at the Tehran International Automotive Fair attended by the British ambassador and representatives from the Tabriz region, as well as officials from SMMT and the Iran Industrial Estates Corporation.

As part of the industry-to-industry cooperation, the SMMT has already undertaken a pilot study on the capability of a sample of components companies in the city of Tabriz. The next step will be a seminar highlighting areas of assistance to improve the efficiency of auto components companies in the Tabriz region. It is envisaged that this assistance will cover areas such as quality control systems, business management and innovation and development. Practical workshops will follow on from the seminar. There will also be an automotive ‘centre of excellence’ office in Tabriz. The project will be partially funded by the UK government’s Trade Partners UK (TPUK) department. It is hoped that the initiative will eventually spawn joint ventures between UK and Iranian companies.

The agreement is the first of its type between the automotive industries of the UK and Iran. SMMT manager international trade, Les Parfitt, told just-auto: “I am delighted with this agreement which will further promote ties between the auto industries of the UK and Iran. I believe Iran has the potential – in automotive industry terms – to become the powerhouse of the region.”

Analysts note that Iran is seen as an emerging market with considerable growth potential, but its industry is viewed as in need of modernisation and a more international outlook.