RUSSIA: IKCO looks to fellow sanctions-hit market for export

By Simon Warburton | 19 November 2014

Iran and Russia are both labouring under sanctions

Iran and Russia are both labouring under sanctions

IKCO Iran Khodro says it is looking to restart exports to Russia as both sanctions-hit countries look to boost their beleaguered economies.

Tehran and Moscow are being battered by severe restrictions imposed by the European Union and the US, as the West vents its disapproval of supposed Iranian uranium enrichment and Russia's bellicose stance on Eastern Ukraine.

Iran maintains its energy policy is for peaceful purposes only, while Russian President, Vladimir Putin, reportedly commented at this week's G20 summit in Australia his country was not in Ukraine.

But IKCO, sensing a certain sympathy perhaps from Russian consumers, is looking to restart a relationship with Moscow that formerly ended when its local agent passed away.

"A long time ago we exported there [Russia] - now we are trying to restart it again," IKCO deputy CEO export and international affairs, Ali Elmi, told just-auto from Tehran. "We are now on the beginning of the road - our main activity will start next year

"I am going to travel to Azerbaijan - I will be in Baku and the [new] Russian agent will travel to Baku."

It is not yet clear what IKCO models could be exported to Russia, but the Soren, Runna and Samand are the company's top three overseas vehicles.

"A small portion of that market [Russia] is enough for IKCO," said Elmi. "It is difficult time for European companies, not Iranian companies. We are suffering from the same issues, we and Russia, because of the sanctions."

The deputy export CEO conceded European operators had already established a foothold in Russia, but added there was "an opportunity for us to enter the market."

IKCO is also looking to reactivate an assembly site in Senegal with work expected to start "soon," while export has also started of Peugeot 200, 100 and 308 sets to Azerbaijan, Iraq and Venezuela.

IKCO says it has exported 1,400 sets of vehicles from April to October, but adds: "International barriers have caused the company's export to slow down in this period."

Cruciual talks in Vienna next week surrounding sanctions on Iran could either extend existing restrictions or see them lifted to some extent.