Iran Full Year 2015: Exclusive production and imports figures available

Tehran celebration April 2015. Picture courtesy hinudstantimes.comStreet celebrations after the April 2015 nuclear deal. Picture

* Click on the title to see the Top 10 most produced cars, pickups, imports & brands *

Thanks to a partnership with CE Auto newsletter, we can now share with you exclusive detail on the Iranian new car market, as at crossroads now that economic sanctions that were handicapping the country are progressively being lifted. First let’s start by noting that the period covered in this report is the one closest to the calendar year 2015, which is not how the Persian calendar works. The Persian year 1394 started on 21 March 2015 and ended on 20 March 2016, so to get closest to calendar year 2015 figures we have to take into account the last 3 months of the Persian year 1393 and the first 9 months of the Persian year 1394 (the period studied is, in Persian terms, 10/1393 to 09/1394). Also, this update combines production figures for local manufacturers with exclusive import sales data obtained with Iranian customs.

Peugeot Pars Iran 2015. Picture courtesy persiankhodro.comThe Iranian market is headed for years of growth after the lift of economic sanctions.

Overall, the Iranian new light vehicle market has gone back above the million annual units (1.024.708) with 962.737 locally produced units and 61.971 imports. Brand-wise, even though the company hasn’t launched any new models yet since it announced last August its intention to invest in full Iranian production of new models, Peugeot is once again the #1 brand in the country with 342.796 units, or one in three vehicles sold in Iran in 2015. This despite an ageing lineup composed of the 29 year-old Pars (#2) and 405 (#3) adding up to over 237.000 sales and the most popular design in the country for the 2nd consecutive year, and the 18-year old 206 ranking #4 overall with over 100.000 deliveries.

Saipa Pride Iran 2015Saipa Pride in Tehran. Picture courtesy Blondinrikard Fröberg

Local manufacturer Saipa follows in 2nd place with 28.7% share, mainly thanks to the Pride Nasim and Saba, itself a rebadged 1986 Kia Pride sold in hatch and sedan variants. The more recent Tiba follows at a distance in 6th place while the 151, a Pride pickup sold a little more than 15.000 units last year. Iran Khodro, the second main Iranian carmaker, ranks third overall with just under 15% market share. The Samand sedan continues to be its best-seller with close to 85.000 units, a far cry above the Dena (#9) and Runna (#10). All Iran Khodro passenger cars are based on Peugeot platforms.

JAC J5 Iran 2015. Picture courtesy afsaneh17.irThe JAC J5 is the most popular Chinese model in Iran at #8 overall.

Renault comes in 4th place with 4% share and 92% of its local sales come from a rebadged first generation Dacia Logan sold under the name Tondar 90. The next striking observation as far as local Iranian production is concerned is the fast gearing up of Chinese carmakers, all operating through local joint-ventures. JAC is the most prolific so far with 30.475 units in 2015, followed closely by Chery at 29.915, then Lifan (15.217), Brilliance (5.187), Great Wall (3.900), FAW (2.600), Dongfeng (2.000), Haima and Zotye (both under 200).

Saipa Zotye Z300 Ian 2015. Picture courtesy Khodrokade.irZotye Z300 sporting a Saipa logo for the Iranian market.

The JAC J5 is the most popular Chinese model in Iran, ranking at an outstanding 8th place overall with 17.139 sales, had of the JAC S5 at #11 (13.316) and Chery MVM315 aka Fulwin at #12 (11.352). The Lifan X60 (8.660) and X50 (3.529) have also made their mark very fast in Iran, as for the Great Wall Voleex C30 (3.156 units produced in 2015) it has found a backup market now that its popularity is a thing of the past at home in China. The FAW Besturn B50, Brilliance H330 and H230, Haima S7 and Zotye Z300 are also produced locally as well as a 5-model Chery lineup to which was added the Tiggo 5 in October.

Iran Khodro Arisun. Picture courtesy clipo.irThe Iran Khodro Arisun replaced the Bardo in Iran this year.

The local pickup market is a new addition on BSCB and a fascinating one at that. See the first report here. The Zamyad Z24, a 1970 Nissan Junior, continues to be produced in Iran and tops the production chart at 23.889 units, snapping the lead away from the now discontinued Iran Khodro Bardo (23.700) which was based on the 1967 Paykan. In May 2015, Iran Khodro launched its replacement the Arisun, itself based on the… 1987 Peugeot 405. After posting two months above 2.000 units (May and August), the Arisun has alarmingly fallen below 1.000 units during 3 of the last 4 months of the year, a far cry from the 9.324 units of Bardo spit out during its 2nd-last month… It wouldn’t be completely surprising if Iran Khodro decided to resume Bardo production in the coming months.

Hyundai Santa Fe Iran March 2015. Picture courtesy bartarinha.irOver 40% of all vehicles imported into Iran are branded Hyundai.

Onto exclusive imports data, where Korean manufacturer Hyundai dominates head and shoulders with 41.4% share and 25.668 sales. In fact the Santa Fe, the best-selling import with 10.219 deliveries, sells more than any other imported brand. Toyota follows at 13% share ahead of Kia (11.9%), BMW (4.2%), Renault (4.2%) and Changan (4%). Among other Chinese, Geely places 7th, MG 8th, BAIC 10th, Brilliance 15th and Foton 16th.

BMW X4 Iran 2015The BMW X4 is the best-selling luxury vehicle in Iran in 2015. 

Looking at imported models in detail, below the Santa Fe Hyundai also places the ix35, Elantra, i20 and Sonata in the Top 10 while Toyota has the Corolla and RAV4 and Kia the Sportage and Optima. The Changan CS35 cracks the Top 10 while BMW and Mercedes manage to sell over 1.000 of their X4 SUV and E-Class sedan respectively, the two leaders in the luxury segment.

Tehran street scene NinaraTehran street scene. Picture courtesy ninara

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Full Year 2015 Top 10 local cars, pickups, Top 10 imports and Top 10 local/foreign brands below.

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Iran 1st Half 2015: Exclusive imports data now available

Hyundai Santa Fe Iran March 2015. Picture courtesy bartarinha.irThe Hyundai Santa Fe accounts for almost 1 in every 4 new vehicles imported into Iran.

* See the Top 10 best-selling imported brands and models by clicking on the title *

This update was made possible by the new CE Auto newsletter.

For only the third time ever on BSCB, we can share with you exclusive imports data for Iran over the first six months of 2015, when 43.348 new passenger cars were imported into the country. Korean manufacturers are more dominant than ever with Hyundai holding a gargantuan 44.7% share of all imports over the period and Kia coming 2nd with 14.2% for a combined 58.9% Korean share vs. 59% over Q1 2015. Toyota (13.6%) and Changan (5.7%) follow like in Q1 with BMW overtaking BAIC and Mitsubishi to #5.

Ssangyong Korando Iran June 2015. Picture courtesy auto-motor-und-sport.deThe Ssangyong Korando is among the 20 most popular imports in Iran.

Model-wise, Hyundai logically monopolises the podium with the Santa Fe, Elantra and ix35 the most popular, while the i20 breaks into the Top 10 and the Sonata remains within its bounds. Kia adds two Top 10 nameplates to the Korean domination (the Sportage and Optima) with the Toyota Corolla staying at a lonely 5th place. Notice also the strong scores of the Ssangyong Korando (#17), BMW X4 (#19) and Mitsubishi Mirage (#30). We welcome in the Iranian imports ranking the Renault Captur (40 units), BMW 2 Series (two) and Peugeot 301 (one).

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Iran July 2015: Full production figures now available

Pars Khodro Brilliance H330The locally-produced Brilliance H330 displays a Pars Khodro logo in Iran.

* See the Top 30 most produced cars and Top 10 pick-ups by clicking on the title *

For the first time in over a year, we resume sharing full production figures for Iran here at BSCB. We are adding bonus data: the very interesting and fast-moving pickup market. The next few months and years will be absolutely fascinating to follow in Iran with the opening of the market following the end of economic sanctions and you can read a summary of what’s to come in our Strategy report: What future for the Iranian new car market. July 2015 roughly corresponds to Tir, the 4th month of the year 1394 in the Persian calendar. Total production in Iran over the period, hits 92.457 units, down 10% year-on-year but this is mainly due to a handful of high profile nameplates still ramping up their production capacity whereas the ones they replace are winding down, such as the Saipa Tiba and Iran Khodro Arisun as we detail further down. Year-to-date, Iranian production is up a healthy 8% to 356.239 units.

JAC S5 Iran July 2015. Picture courtesy donyayekhodro.comThe JAC S5 is the 10th most produced car in Iran this month.

The top of the production charts looks very familiar with the Saipa Pride back to pole position despite tumbling down 31% year-on-year to 17.140 units above the Peugeot Pars (+14%), 206 (+13%) and 405 (-1%). The Iran Khodro Samand continues to lose steam (-8%) as does the Runna (-57%), their combined fall (2.379 units) not quite compensated yet by the arrival of the Dena at 2.143 units and 8.437 year-to-date.

Lifan X50 Iran July 2015. Picture courtesy Lifan X50 is already in Iran.

Having now access to a complete car production data sheet, the biggest change compared to 18 months ago is the increased number of Chinese models assembled locally: no less than 17 out of 30! Their combined 32.470 units year-to-date is up a whopping 50% on the same period a year ago and earn them just under 10% of the total Iranian car production so far this year… JAC brilliantly places two models in the Top 10: the J5 sedan at #9 and the S5 SUV at #10, Lifan has the X60 SUV at #12 and already kick-started local assembly of the X50 (145 units in July) only 8 months after its Chinese launch. Brilliance just inaugurated two new assembly lines in partnership with Saipa/Pars Khodro last May and already sees the H330 at #15 and the H230 at #20, totalling 1.502 units so far this year.

Iran Khodro Arisun Pickup. Picture courtesy danamotor.irOver 6.000 Iran Khodro Arisun have rolled out assembly lines so far.

The Iranian pickups production charts is a fascinating find as virtually every nameplate is unknown outside the country. We are currently witnessing a once-in-three-decades change of guard as far as Iranian pickups go – no less! The first Iranian car, the Iran Khodro Paykan based on the 1967 Hillman Hunter, which stayed in productiopn from 1967 to 2005, had a pickup variant called the Bardo which survived until April this year. It was replaced by the Peugeot 405-based Arisun, of which 6.338 units have been assembled so far including 1.916 in July.

Zamyad Z24. Picture courtesy news.irThe Zamyad Z24, a 1970 Nissan Junior, is still in production in Iran…

This is not enough to snap the pickup pole position yet, an honour that goes to the Zamyad Z24/28. Zamyad is a manufacturer specialised in commercial vehicles founded in 1963 and part of Saipa since 1998. The Z24/28 is a license-built version of the 1970-1980 Nissan Junior. In third place we have the Saipa 151 which is none other than a mini pickup variant of the Saipa Pride – itself a 1986 Kia Pride.

Bahman Mazda 2000 Iran. Picture courtesy…as is the Bahman Mazda 2000, a 1977 Mazda B-Series.

Another “tried-and-tested” design still in production in Iran is the Bahman-Mazda 2000, in fact the 1977-1985 Mazda B-Series… The Bahman Group, originally a transportation operator and customs clearance agent founded in 1952, started assembling Mazda three-wheeled pickups in 1959…

Zamyad Padra Iran. Picture courtesy persiankhodro.comThe Zamyad Padra is a rebadged Tianqi Meiya TM1020F…

In 4th place with a reasonable 930 units produced in July is the Bahman Capra. Under this mysterious appellation hides the ZX Auto Grand Tiger, made famous by its active role in the Libyan war. The Pars Khodro Rich (#5), Great Wall Wingle (#7) are two additional Chinese pickups currently assembled in Iran. They are all joined this month by the all-new Zamyad Padra – in fact a rebadged Tianqi Meiya TM1020F… Well, we hope you learn something today!

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STRATEGY: What future for new car sales in Iran?

Shiraz Mosque Iran. Picture courtesy 500px.comNasir Al-Mulk mosque in Shiraz, Iran

With Iran agreeing to curb its nuclear program in return for the end of economic sanctions, carmakers are scrambling to the starting blocks in order to best benefit from the opening of a high-potential market to competition. If you are a regular BSCB reader, you will know that the best-selling cars in Iran are for the most part decades-old designs assembled locally as the lack of true competition in the market has stifled innovation. The domestic best-sellers revolve around just a handful of ageing staples: the Saipa Pride – in essence a 1986 Kia Pride, the Peugeot 405/Pars – a mere facelift of the original Peugeot 405 launched in 1987, the Peugeot 206, Iran Khodro Samand and the new leader: the Saipa Tiba.

Tehran Iran. Picture courtesy sibf.orgTehran, Iran

We are therefore potentially on the cusp of a complete reshuffle of the Iranian car market. Freer trade with foreign countries will undoubtedly boost imports and manufacturers will make plans to build new factories in order to bypass import taxes and sell cars at more competitive prices. The prospects are looking very bright indeed for Iran. But just how much potential does the Iranian new car market hold? Car registrations ipeaked at 1.6 million in 2011 before collapsing as economic sanctions were strengthened. Domestic production also fell, by almost 1 million vehicles over the next two years – from 1.65 million in 2011 to 744.000 in 2013 – destroying more than 100,000 jobs. Since, as sanctions were partially relaxed in 2013, the market has recovered to a projected 1.2 million sales for 2015 according to IHS Automotive.

Iran Auto Production. Picture courtesy WikipediaIranian auto production (click to enlarge)

Iran’s population stands at 78.5 million – similar to Turkey or Germany – and a few indicators point to great pent-up demand in the market. The median age of vehicles on the road in Iran is over 20 years, and 55% of the population is under 30, but most haven’t had the opportunity to drive yet. With 200 vehicles per 1.000 inhabitants in 2011, Iran is, granted, well above China (113), at the same level as Thailand (206), but below other countries in the region such as Turkey (233), Saudi Arabia (336), Israel (358) or Lebanon (434). The potential is there, not just for car renewal but for new cars on the road as well. The end of the sanctions will see the market shoot up to 1.6 million sales in 2016, and we at BSCB see Iran evolve at 2 million annual registrations before the end of the decade, roughly equivalent in size to a market like France. Speaking of which, for once French manufacturers are the best placed to reap the benefit of a revival of the Iranian car market. What are the forces in place and who is most likely to win the race to Iranian market share?

Peugeot Pars Iran 2015The Peugeot 405/Pars is currently the brand’s best-seller in Iran.


Within hours of the announcement of the nuclear deal between Iran and Western powers, PSA Peugeot-Citroen had outlined its plan for new Iranian production to reclaim and defend the leading market position it held before sanctions were tightened four years ago – and kept unofficially since. In 2012 when General Motors took a 7% stake in PSA, Peugeot was forced to stop supplying CKD kits (complete knockdown) to Iranian factories for the Peugeot 405, Pars, 206 and 207. Overall, European and U.S. carmakers had to stop doing business in Iran during that time as economic sanctions were extended to the auto industry. However as we described in a recent Iran study (see Iran April 2015: Peugeot more than doubles production year-on-year), Peugeot’s original partner Iran Khodro managed to shift their spare parts supply to local companies and in effect sustained the production and sale of Peugeot models in Iran.

Peugeot 301 Iran 2015. Picture courtesy of Beirutnightlife.comPeugeot is planning to start producing the 301 in Iran shortly.

This way, Peugeot’s share of the Iranian market has remained extremely strong: just under 40% which is actually above its pre-2012 sanctions level. Peugeot insists the 350.000 cars produced in Iran in 2014 and sold mainly domestically are not booked in their accounts. Now, given the PSA-GM alliance has been dissolved and economic sanctions against Iran are in the process of being removed, Peugeot announced on 1 March 2015 it agreed to resume (“official”) local production of cars with Iran Khodro. Then last week PSA declared its intention to invest in full Iranian production of new models using its latest architectures and engines, for domestic sales first, then adding exports towards the near region later. Peugeot’s intentions are to use a different business model from before the sanctions: the group now wants 50:50 joint ventures and is willing to invest in new factories and hand over technology to partners in return for a greater share of the upside, says Automotive News.

This means PSA is hitting the ground running in Iran, controlling close to half of the market and benefitting from decades of presence in the country, the undeniable familiarity of the brand and sky-high consumer trust that other manufacturers will have a hard time eroding – whether French foreign minister Laurent Fabius likes it or not (see further down the Renault section). The only missing link has been the outdated technologies still on sale in Iran up until now. With plans to produce locally the 208 and 301 – which seems to have been engineered with Iran in mind, this has the potential to change fast. According to Automotive News, in the longer term Peugeot is even looking to turn Iran into a production base, exporting cars to the rest of the Middle East and Africa. Currently, Iran Khodro supplies Peugeot vehicles to Azerbaijan, Iraq, Armenia, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Syria and Afghanistan, according to a report by Iranian news network Press TV.

Saipa Tiba Iran June 2015. Picture courtesy diariomotor.comThe Saipa Tiba is Iran’s new best-seller.

Domestic manufacturers

Iranian carmakers Saipa and Iran Khodro are at a crossroads in 2015. The opening of their domestic market to the competition they dread but that consumers have been aching for could either kill them or make them stronger. Their respective limited ranges are based on dated Peugeot platforms, and much of their success will be dependent on how they manage to keep these existing ties with Peugeot, putting the French carmaker in an even stronger position that we argued above. With PSA-Peugeot Citroen engaged in long-term links with both Saipa and Iran Khodro, the latter two will need to work very hard to ensure at least a partial transfer of technology to remain competitive.

Most produced cars in Iran – past 3 years (Persian year 1393 = April 2014 to March 2015):

Pos Model 1393 /92 1392 /91 1391
1 Saipa Pride 250,088 29% 194,414 -30% 276,992
2 Peugeot Pars 147,742 47% 100,419 40% 71,506
3 Peugeot 405 117,403 72% 68,123 -35% 104,314
4 Peugeot 206 104,150 160% 40,102 44% 27,819
5 Iran Khodro Samand 100,643 53% 65,775 -40% 110,479
6 Saipa Tiba 85,359 112% 40,195 83% 21,991
7 Iran Khodro Runna 25,852 -4% 27,022 71% 15,798
8 Renault Tondar 90 25,852 26% 20,454 -74% 77,416

Up until last May, the best-selling model in Iran was the Saipa Pride, a 1986 Kia Pride sedan with only slight improvements added over the past three decades. Saipa currently holds 35% of its domestic car market with just two nameplates (the Pride and Tiba) while Iran Khodro has 14% with three (Samand, Runna and Dena). However Iran Khodro is a lot stronger in the pickup segment, where it may have played its best card yet with the launch a few months back of the Peugeot 405-based Arisun. The Arisun replaces the antediluvian Bardo, a pickup variant of the 1967 Iran Khodro Paykan which itself stayed in production in Iran for almost four decades, up until 2005.

Iran Khodro Arisun. Picture courtesy clipo.irIran Khodro Arisun & Bardo. Picture courtesy Peugeot 405-based IKCO Arisun finally replaces the 1967 Bardo…

A no-frills and relatively moderm 2WD pickup reminiscent of the Dacia Logan pickup still on sale in South Africa as the Nissan NP200 may be just what Iranian small businesses need and it will be interesting to see whether any other manufacturer takes the hint once the Arisun floods Iranian roads. The attachment and fondness of the Iranian population for their beloved domestic brands will be what Saipa and Iran Khodro will rely upon, and this will give them perhaps a five to seven year-respite, but if drastic improvements to their limited range are not implemented by then, look to Russia and the dwindling down market share of domestic behemoth Lada as an indication of what awaits Iranian carmakers at home.

Hyundai Santa Fe Iran 2015. Picture courtesy of motortrend.comThe Hyundai Santa Fe is the best-selling import into Iran so far in 2015.

Hyundai – Kia

Exclusive imports data published yesterday on BSCB indicate that the two Korean carmakers account for a whopping 59% of all new vehicle imports in the country over the First Quarter of 2015. The largest import player by far is Hyundai at 43% and Kia follows at 16%. Kia for its part has been assembling the Cerato locally albeit at just a couple of thousands of units annually. The Middle-Eastern region has no secrets for Hyundai, often teasing Toyota for overall domination in markets such as Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates. In Lebanon, Kia (#1) and Hyundai (#3) sandwich Toyota (#2) whereas in Syria, Hyundai (52.5%) and Kia (45.4%) obliterate the market, as it is also the case in Jordan where Hyundai leads at 39.9% share above Kia at 21.5%. Even better news: Iranian consumers are fond of larger, more profitable models such as the Santa Fe (#1 import), Elantra (#2), ix35 (#3) and Kia Sportage (#4) whereas the Picanto and i10 are less popular so far. Given their success in an extremely unfavourable context, Hyundai and Kia are welcomed in Iran with arms wide open, and we should expect some large scale announcement such as the construction of an assembly plant rather soon. That, or a further strengthening of business ties between Iran and the Gulf Cooperation Council where Hyundais Kias are partucularly successful as well.

Toyota Corolla IranIranian Toyota Corolla advertisement


Toyota is already a volume importer in Iran, ranking third brand below the two Korean manufacturers mentioned above with 4.409 units and 13.4% share over the First Quarter of 2015. For now, the new generation Corolla and the RAV4 SUV are the best-sellers. Toyota has a stranglehold on the Middle-eastern car market thanks to its strength in the SUV segment and a tried-and-tested, reliable and reasonably-priced offering. Although Iran does not have as strong a pickup culture as most neighbouring countries, the Hilux seems like a no brainer here. There is no reason why the Japanese manufacturer should find it difficult to replicate in Iran the success that has helped the group hold the #1 spot in the Gulf Cooperation Council for the best part of the last two decades. The distribution network it has carefully built in Saudi Arabia and the GCC region is a perfect model to replicate in Iran. Granted, it will need to be implemented from the ground up, as opposed to companies already having a footprint in Iran such as Peugeot or the two main domestic manufacturers. But the considerable flow of Toyota models into the ports of the region is a very solid starting point for Iranian success. Like Hyundai, Toyota will need to work the very close business ties existing between the UAE and Iran to replicate fully its popularity fully into Iran.

Renault Kwid Iran 2015. Picture courtesy lefigaro.frThe Renault Kwid has already triggered interest in Iran.


Today Laurent Fabius, the first French foreign minister to visit Iran in 12 years, announced that “PSA Peugeot-Citroen, previously the market leader in Iran, could find it more difficult to return to the country than fellow French car group Renault”. Wait did the French government not increase its participation in Renault in the past few months, in effect installing Mr Fabius in a glorified PR role with Renault? Nice try Mr Fabius, but we at BSCB disagree. Fabius’ justification for this statement is that “Iranian leaders criticise Peugeot for leaving a few years ago in a way they dispute”. The fact is Renault did leave as well, and hasn’t showed any concrete signs yet of its return whereas PSA-Peugeot Citroen is already in advanced joint-venture talks with Iran Khodro as we mentioned above. Renault was a small player in Iran even before the sanctions: it held a 5.9% market share in 2012.

Renault Tondar 90. Picture courtesy WikipediaRenault Tondar 90

The main Renault production in Iran is currently the Tondar 90, a rebadged first generation Dacia Logan launched in 2007 here. In the first month of production, a spectacular 100.000 orders were received but this never materialised into sales with the Tondar 90 peaking at 77,416 during the Persian year 1391 (April 2012-March 2013). If Iran Khodro found it vital to try by all means to maintain production of Peugeot models post-2012 sanctions, it wasn’t the case for Renault Pars, a joint-venture held at 51% by Renault and 49% by Iran’s Industrial Development and Renovation Organisation, IKCO and Saipa, manufacturer of the Tondar 90 which saw its production implode to 20.000 annual units after the sanctions. Renault will need to rework its alliances with local manufacturers and update the models it wants to produce in Iran, starting with the new generation Logan and the Kwid, originally destined to India but which apparently triggered interest in Iran as well.

Lifan X60 Iran 2015. Picture courtesy of zr.ruThe Lifan X60 is assembled locally in Iran.

Chinese manufacturers

Unbeknownst to you if you aren’t a regular BSCB reader, Chinese manufacturers have stepped up their presence in Iran just as economic sanctions forced Western manufacturers to leave. Chery, Lifan, JAC, ZX Auto, Great Wall, Brilliance, FAW, Haima and Dongfeng (!) already assemble locally through partnership with domestic manufacturers such as Saipa and Pars Khodro, albeit at limited volumes. Geely was the #2 imported brand in the country in 2013 and Changan, BAIC and MG all rank within the Top 10 importers so far in 2015. These are not negligible details. No less than 9 Chinese manufacturers already have experience assembling locally, which put them at a clear advantage over import-only (for now) Toyota or Hyundai for example.

However despite this advantage, they may not the best placed to compete in Iran yet, as reliability issues have already plagued their recent implant in the country. As is often the case where Chinese manufacturers export, their presence is very fragmented across numerous brands, each handled by different distributors and assembled through various alliances with domestic manufacturers. Brilliance however has displayed strong optimism when opening their assembly lines in cooperation with Saipa last May, announcing a production of 30.000 units in the first year and 100,000 units of annual capacity. See above Brilliance promotion video for Iran (in Persian). Among Chinese importers, Geely and Changan seem to have the best chances at long-term success in Iran, but they may need to establish local assembly hubs to pretend at a significant share of the Iranian market.

Zamyad Padra Iran. Picture courtesy persiankhodro.comThe Zamyad Padra is a rebadged Tianqi Meiya TM1020F assembled locally.

Chinese manufacturers may have their best card to play with their no-frills pickups, an obvious choice for a large part of the population that won’t be able to afford even the lower-spec Toyota Hilux or Nissan Navara just yet… Up until this year, the best-selling pickup in Iran was derived from the 1967 Hillman Hunter, such designs as the 1970 Nissan Junior and 1977 Mazda B-Series are still in production and the latest domestic launch (April 2015) is essentially a pickup variant of the 1987 Peugeot 405. The ZX Auto Grand Tiger, Great Wall Wingle and Dongfeng Rich are already assembled locally and they should be joined by a flurry of new entrants in the coming years, potentially unlocking the holy grail for China.

BMW X4 Iran 2015Roughly 100 BMW X4 get imported into Iran each month.

The rest

The German manufacturers with the best immediate prospects in Iran are BMW and Mercedes, currently among the Top 10 importers in the country. For example, roughly one hundred BMW X4 already arrive in Iran each month… There is a huge untapped potential for luxury SUVs and these two manufacturers keep launching new ones, so their sales in Iran should sky-rocket in the coming years.

Paradoxically, just as the Volkswagen Group outsold Toyota to become the #1 car manufacturer in the world, not only is its absence in Iran surprising but also the fact it has no plans to enter this market in the near future. Volkswagen previously built the Gol hatchback with Iranian partner Kerman Khodro and we see the Brazilian Up fitting the busy Tehran streets best. Before the economic sanctions were implemented, Germany was Iran’s #1 business partner, so Volkswagen’s absence shouldn’t last too long.

For their part, General Motors and Ford will have to wait longer to navigate a deeper layer of American sanctions that will continue to bar Americans and their banks from Iran trade in the foreseeable future. According to Automotive News, GM declined to comment on Tuesday’s historic deal announcing the end of economic sanctions.

Iran 1st Quarter 2015: Exclusive imports data now available

Hyundai Santa Fe Iran March 2015. Picture courtesy bartarinha.irThe Hyundai Santa Fe accounts for almost 1 in every 4 new vehicles imported into Iran.

* See the Top 10 best-selling brands and models by clicking on the title *

Today we can share with you exclusive data for Iranian imports. This is only the second time ever BSCB has published this information which helps understand this market a lot better at a critical time in the history of the country. One word: Korea. Hyundai holds a mammoth 45.3% share of all imports over the First Quarter of 2015, and with Kia in 2nd place at 13.7%, the combined market share of Korean manufacturers within Iran imports shoots up to 59%. Among the Japanese, only Toyota (13.4%), Mitsubishi (3.1%) and Lexus (1.3%) manage a market share higher than 1%.

Changan CS35 Iran March 2015. Picture courtesy pedal.irThe Changan CS35 is the best-selling Chinese vehicle in Iran.

Changan (7.6%), BAIC (4.3%) and MG (2.9%) replace Geely as the best-selling Chinese manufacturers in Iran. BMW and Mercedes are both solid whereas Audi is inexistent. Over in the models ranking, Hyundai unsurprisingly monopolises the podium with the Santa Fe (just under 24% share), Elantra and ix35 (both above 13%) best-sellers above the Kia Sportage, Toyota Corolla and RAV4. The Changan CS35, BAIC Sabrina (aka E-Series), Changan Eado, MG3 and MG6 manage to snap a spot inside the Top 20 while the Mercedes E-Class (#14), BMW X4 (#23) and Lexus ES (#26) shine.

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Iran May 2015: Saipa Tiba spectacularly shoots up to #1

Saipa Tiba Iran May 2015. Picture courtesy diariomotor.comChange of guard: the Saipa Tiba is the best-selling nameplate in Iran in May.

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As is the tradition for Iran, we only have access to local monthly production figures however two elements are to be noted: this data gives a pretty accurate picture of the Iranian new car market as imports are still limited, and import data is in the process of being made available so stay tuned for a lot more information about Iran on BSCN. Car production in Iran over the first two months of the Persian calendar year 1394, corresponding roughly to April and May 2015, is up 17% to 161.426 units, including 150.556 sedans and 8.547 pickups. The Iranian car market has had the same market leaders for decades: the Saipa Pride – a slightly improved 1986 Kia Pride – and the Peugeot 405/Pars, based on the original Peugeot 405 launched in 1987. So a change of leadership is not just momentous, it’s a proper 9.0 Richter scale earthquake. And this is what’s happening in Ordibehesht 1394, or May 2015. After 6 years spent relatively discreetly around the 5th spot in the local production charts (previous best: 8.804 units), the Saipa Tiba shoots up to pole position this month with no less than 29.079 units.

Saipa 234 Iran October 2014cThe Saipa codename 234 is till in pre-production but could be the new Tiba.

Two explanations for this sudden surge: the hybrid variant has geared up drastically at 21.623 units this month vs. 12.647 for the petrol variant, and the coming of age of the hatchback variant launched a few months ago. Saipa has also announced its plan to replace its perennial best-seller Pride with the Tiba and is actually restructuring its plants to implement this. The Saipa Pride itself, despite following the market at +17%, is knocked down to 2nd place at 19.996 units, followed by the Peugeot Pars (+32%), 206 (+46%) and 405 (+28%), all outpacing the market by a large margin. The other Iranian car manufacturer, Iran Khodro, should be very worried: production of its namesake brand totals 13.596 units for the month vs. 49.075 for Saipa. The Runna is already down 13% while the Dena is timidly gearing up at 2.484 units.

Previous month: Iran April 2015: Peugeot more than doubles production year-on-year

One year ago: Iran May 2014: Production back on track at +146%

Full Ordibehesht 1394/ May 2015 Top 10 models below.

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Iran April 2015: Peugeot more than doubles production year-on-year

Peugeot 206 Iran April 2015b. Picture courtesy thenational.aePeugeot 206 in the Iran-Khodro factory near Tehran.

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Iranian production data is now up for Farvardin, the first month of the year 1394 in the Persian calendar and roughly equivalent to April 2015. Sales and import data is still unavailable for Iran however high import duties prevent significant sales of imported vehicles and this is still a pretty reliable picture of the Iranian market for now. With production up just 22% year-on-year to 14.390 units, the Saipa Pride is once again toppled by the Peugeot Pars/405 couple at 7.644 units (+105%) and 7.174 (+142%) respectively, while the Peugeot 206 delivers an even more impressive 165% year-on-year jump in 4th place overall. Peugeot is now definitely back in business in Iran with its total local production surging 133% on a year ago to 21,379 units.

Peugeot 206 Iran April 2015c. Picture courtesy thenational.aeHappy factory workers at Iran-Khodro Tehran.

And it’s time for an update on the Peugeot situation in Iran, as officially all Peugeot production was halted two years ago in the face of U.S. economic sanctions triggered by the Iranian nuclear program and an alliance between Peugeot and General Motors. Yet production figures for Peugeot models are still alive and kicking. So what happened? Peugeot halted the export of kits and spare parts from its France to Iran in 2013, however Iran-Khodro has been trying to produce all necessary spare parts by itself for the past couple of years, explaining the sustained (and now booming!) production figures. Peugeot has been maintaining that the current Peugeot cars produced in Iran are not produced with their collaboration, this to fulfill its obligations imposed by the economic sanctions.

Peugeot 206 Iran April 2015. Picture courtesy thenational.aePeugeot 206 assembly line at the Iran-Khodro factory near Tehran.

Now, given the PSA-GM alliance has been dissolved and economic sanctions against Iran are in the process of being relaxed, Peugeot announced on 1 March 2015 it agreed to resume production of cars with Iran Khodro in Iran. According to Iran Daily and Mehr news agency, Hashem Yekke-Zare, Iran Khodro managing director, said that “Based on the deal with Peugeot, a joint venture will be established with Iran Khordro, and Peugeot will accordingly have to export 30% of the products that are produced in the joint venture, creating a hub for the exports of cars in the Persian Gulf region”. So the 133% jump in Peugeot production this month can still not be attributed to an official resuming of the production just yet. Peugeot is one of Iran Khodro’s oldest partners in Iran and the Peugeot 405, 206 and 207 are or have been supplied to markets such as Azerbaijan, Iraq, Armenia, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Syria and Afghanistan – all markets rather secretive about new car sales data. The other significant event this month in Iran is the Iran Khodro Dena (1.585 units) seemingly cannibalising the Samand, down 11% or 520 units to 4.169 while the Runna is up 22% to 1.656.

Previous post: Iran Full Year 1393: Peugeot Pars/405 topple Saipa Pride

Full April 2015 / Farvardin 1394 Top 10 models below.

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Iran Full Year 1393: Peugeot Pars/405 topple Saipa Pride

Peugeot Pars Iran Khordad 1392The Peugeot Pars/405 family is the most popular new model in Iran this year.

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The period going from April 2014 to March 2015 roughly corresponds to the year 1393 in the Persian calendar, so finally Iran gets its Full Year article. The big news this year is the return in form of French manufacturer Peugeot. The loosening up of its collaboration with General Motors has meant it is no longer obliged to dump Iran from its world map, and that’s a big deal: combined production of the Peugeot Pars and 405, basically two variants of the same 1987-born nameplate, has shot up 58% year-on-year to reach over 265,000 units. That’s enough to topple the Saipa Pride from its pedestal. The Peugeot 206 for its part is up almost 3-fold and the Iran Khodro Samand up 53%, both nameplate back above 100,000 annual units. The Iran Khodro Dena lands makes its first appearance in the ranking at #9.

Previous year:

Iran 2013/1392: Now with Top 20 most produced models

Iran 2013/1392: Now with Top 90 best-selling imports

Two years ago:

Iran 2012: Saipa Pride still #2, Iran Khodro Runna continues to improve

Full Year 1393 Top 10 models vs. Full Year 1392 figures below.

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Iran February 2014: Peugeot 405 family #1, IKCO Dena up

Iran Khodro Dena. Picture courtesy bijar.irIran Khodro Dena

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As it has been the case since BSCB started following the Iranian market a decade ago, only production figures are available, however giving a very good idea of the market situation in the country as imports are still limited. February is roughly equivalent to Bahman, the 11th month of the year 1393 in the Persian calendar. The Saipa Pride is #1 once again but with 19,670 units produced, it is largely distanced by the Peugeot 405 family composed of the Pars (14,979) and the 405 itself (13,104) despite their old age – they were launched in 1987. The Peugeot 206, Iran Khodro Samand and Saipa Tiba follow, while it’s at the bottom of the ranking that we witness the most significant event of the month: the Iran Khodro Runna is only up 3% on last month whereas the larger Iran Khodro Dena is up 151% to 1,691 units, accounting for over half of all Dena units produced since the production kicked off a few months ago (3,055).

Previous month: Iran January 2015: Peugeot 405 family leads, Chinese back

Full February 2015 / Bahman 1393 Top 9 models below.

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Iran January 2015: Peugeot 405 family leads, Chinese back

JAC J5 Iran January 2015. Picture courtesy of JAC UkraineThe JAC J5 is the 8th most produced vehicle in Iran this month.

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Iranian production figures are now in for January, roughly equivalent to Dey, the 10th month of the year 1393 in the Persian calendar. The local industry is now firmly on the mend, up 43% year-on-year this month to 89,603 units. The Saipa Pride still dominates but improves by 16% only to 22,255 units, whereas the Peugeot Pars (+44%) and 405 (+54%) outperform the market despite their old age – they were launched in 1987. In fact, the 405 family (the Pars is the higher-end version of the 405) is the best-selling vehicle in Iran this month with almost 27,000 units. The Peugeot 206 is up 110%, the Renault Tondar 90 (aka Dacia Logan) is back up 90% and we welcome back the Chinese in the ranking: the JAC J5 at #8, Lifan X60 at #10 and Lifan 620 at #11.

Previous month: Iran December 2014: Saipa Tiba inside Top 5

One year ago: Iran January 2014: Saipa Tiba hits record volume, market down just 4%

Full Dey 1393 / January 2015 Top 13 most produced models below.

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