While Russia, Indonesia, Brazil and even Burma get the majority of the car industry’s attention when it comes to emerging markets, Iraq is also considered to be an up-and-coming place to sell cars. Iraqis have a funny habit of enjoying cars that are linked to foreign armies; American cars are fairly popular in the country, and so are Iranian machines too.
Iraqis may have differing opinions on America, but Iran and Iraq fought a bitter, decades-long war that has had a profound effect on the country’s identity. In many ways, the enmity between the two sides is still present, but that hasn’t stopped IKCO, Iran’s national car maker, from capturing significant market share in the country – and not just among their coreligionist Shias either.
The next step for IKCO is a car factory in Iraq. Just-Auto reports that a factory – which we reported would be coming online last year – will finally be up and running, producing as many as 30,000 Samands (based on the old Peugeot 405) annually. That could theoretically give IKCO a quarter of Iraq’s car market if the Samands ended up being sold entirely in Iraq. Given the sanctions against Iranian goods in the global marketplace, it’s possible.