Fresh data on Iranian car production showed a 21.8% year on year growth during the first five months of the current fiscal year that started in March, a local report said.

According to numbers released by the Ministry of Industries, Mining, and Trade to the English language Financial Tribune, 545,936 cars were produced during the period.

Iran Khodro topped the list with 273,441 vehicles - a 16.8% increase year on year. The company has a 50% share of the domestic market.

Highest production volume was of the Peugeot 405, a late 1980s design which Financial Tribune described "as a substandard sedan notorious for excessive fuel consumption... often singled out by the Iran Standard and Quality Inspection Company (ISQI) for poor quality".

IKCO produced 107,283 405s in the five-month period - down 5.5%.

The 405 was followed by the Peugeot 206 (69,357), Samand (40,053) and Renault Logan (L90) (18,964).

SAIPA remained Iran's second largest automaker with a 41% share and reported a 24.1% increase to 223,392 units.

It sold 94,644 [Kia] Prides and 48,434 of the Tiba, both are the cheapest cars on sale in Iran.

Pride volume fell 7% while output of the locally designed Tiba, proposed as a replacement for the Pride, rose 61% to 57,340.

Tiba accounts for a 25% share of SAIPA output, just behind the Pride's 26%.

Kia's Cerato is the third best selling vehicle made by SAIPA. Ministry data showed 10,392 units were produced and 8,360 sold.

The locally made Cerato is the 2010 design but the 2017 model, fully imported, is also sold for 1.5 bn rials (US$38,900) compared with the 970m rials ($25,000) asked for the Iranian made older model.

According to SAIPA chief Mahdi Jamali, the company is negotiating with Kia to start production of a newer version of the model.

"SAIPA is trying to sign a production deal with Kia through which several other models would be sold in the local market," he told Financial Tribune.

SAIPA has ended production of China's Brilliance models, the report said. This is despite production of 3,307 units during the same five month period last year.

The company's plant in East Azerbaijan Province built nothing this fiscal year to date.

The third largest carmaker in Iran, Pars Khodro, produces models also made by IKCO and SAIPA - 88,708 during the five month period, a 29.3% YoY rise.

Pars Khodro built 34,190 units of the Pride, down 3.8%.

It also produces two Renault models - the Logan (locally known as L90 or Tondar90) and Sandero. Logan output of 19,842 units was up 85% YoY while newly introduced Sandero volume was 19,116 units. The company also doubled production of Brilliance models with 16,874 units.

The two largest private carmakers in Iran, Chery and Kerman Motor automotive group, still have a meagre share of the market.

Chery increased output by 36.3% to 26,485 vehicles for a 4% slice of the market.

Its most popular products are crossovers and SUVs which account for 37% of output.

Kerman Motor, which has a production agreement with Hyundai, built 18,947 units during the period, including Chinese Lifan and JAC models.