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Thanks to our partnership with CE Auto newsletter we can share with you today exclusive production figures for Iran. 126.633 light vehicles came out of Iranian factories in the fourth month (TIr) of the Persian year 1396, which roughly corresponds to July 2017. This is a massive 26.5% improvement on July 2016. The year-to-date total for 2017 after 7 months adds up to 823.066, up 26.8% on the same period in 2016. The Iranian car industry is definitely on the mend since the nuclear deal signed exactly two years ago. Brand-wise, Peugeot remains in the lead but trails the market with a 7% gain in July to 29.9% share and up 8% year-to-date to 30.7%. Local manufacturer Saipa is catching up with a 25% improvement this month to 28.4% share and up 24% year-to-date to 28.9%. Big even in third place: Renault (+67%) overtakes Iran Khodro (+7%) both in July and year-to-date where Renault surges 81% and Iran Khodro is down 3%.
But the main ongoing event in Iran is the continuing progress of Chinese brands producing locally. As a whole, their Iranian production is up 68% in July to 13.1% share vs. 9% a year ago, but the results are even more impressive year-to-date where Chinese fares almost double their production year-on-year (+98%) to reach 14.2% of the total vs. 8.3% over the same period a year ago. In fact, out of the 20 brands producing in Iran so far in 2017, 11 are Chinese. In July as in year-to-date, Chery has taken the Chinese leadership thanks to sales up 63% this month and 43% in 2017. It dethrones JAC down 26% in July. Brilliance (+41%) ranks 6th this month, Dongfeng (up 20-fold!) ranks 7th, Haima 12th, Changan 14th, Lifan 16th and BYD 17th.
A very important point to notice is that unlike the established French and Iranian manufacturers which still rely on obsolete technology to drive sales, the Chinese are landing with their latest novelties. Proof: the Chery Arrizo 5 (#24 in July) landed in July 2016 only months after its Chinese launch, as did the Chery Tiggo 3X last January (#13 in July) and the Chery Tiggo 7 last June (#28 in July). In contrast, the overall best-seller in Iran remains the Saipa Series 100 (aka Pride), a rebadged 1986 Kia Pride, improving 2% in July to over 21.000 units and 11% year-to-date to over 146.000. The 1987 Peugeot 405 follows in 2nd place with almost 14.000 sales and over 81.000 so far in 2017. For comparison, the best-selling Peugeot at home in France sold 6.571 units in July and 61.381 year-to-date…
Added to this is the 405’s twin the Pars, which was produced at over 10.000 units in July and 68.000 in 2017… A significant change on the Iranian podium: thanks to the arrival of the new Saipa Saina, the combined production of what is referred to as the Saipa 200 Series (Tiba and Saina) is up 83% this month and 59% year-to-date, earning the third spot each time. The Renault Tondar 90 (aka Logan) is taking off this year: up 49% in July and 48% year-to-date, as is the Renault Sandero up 132% and 198% respectively. Below the Iran Khodro Samand (#6), the 2005 Peugeot 206 SD (for sedan) is up 32%, followed by the 1998 Peugeot 206 – long discontinued in the rest of the world, up 19%.
In 2012, Peugeot launched the 301 in some parts of Europe and China, and here at BSCB we have always maintained that the 301 was a match made in heaven for the Iranian market in dire need of some contemporary technology. A testimony of the huge interest the 301 has triggered straight from its (overseas) launch is this Iranian article comparing the technology of the Peugeot Pars with the 301. Yet Peugeot still has to debut the 301 in Iran, and based on their latest announcements this shouldn’t happen before 2019. Instead, Peugeot has launched local pre-production for the… 2008, at odds with local tastes, of which a lonely four units have been produced so far this year.
The Brilliance H330 is the only Chinese nameplate in the Iranian production Top 10 in July at #10, but there are more below: the Dongfeng Fengshen S30 (incidentally based on a Peugeot 307 platform) ranks 12th, the Chery Tiggo 3X is at #13, the JAC S5 at #15 Chery Tiggo 5 at #17, Chery Fulwin 2 at #18, Brilliance H320 at #19 and Haima S7 at #20. BYD has landed with the S6, ranked at #32 so far in 2017. In the pickup aisle, we witness the failure of the Iran Khodro Arisun, a Peugeot 405 pickup, down 73% so far in 2017 which was supposed to relay the immensely successful Iran Khodro Bardo. Instead, the Zamyad Z24, a rebadged 1970 Nissan Junior, thrones in the #1 spot.
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Full July 2017 Top 10 brands, cars and pickups ranking tables below.