By on May 28, 2013

IKCO Samand. Photo courtesy Athos Nobile.

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 factorywhich 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.

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9 Comments on “Iran Khodro Looking To Build Cars In Iraq...”


  • avatar
    ash78

    This reminds me of when all those Jews went out and bought Mercedes and BMWs in the 1950s. You know, just to help heal the wounds.

    That did happen, right?

    • 0 avatar
      jimbob457

      I can speak for my late father-in-law, a former Polish officer and six year POW of the naughty Nazis. As he described it “It weren’t no Hogan’s Heros”.

      He would have rather have died than buy a German car. That would have happened right after killed you for even suggesting such a thing. I had some serious ‘splainin’ to do when I unwittingly showed up to court his daughter in my ’67 911.

      • 0 avatar

        I know some children of Holocaust survivors who still won’t buy German. I would have an easy time accepting this, save for the fact that they are more than happy to buy Japanese cars – which a Singaporean friend of mine refuses to buy for similar reasons.

        My former neighbor worked on the Manhattan project and refused to drive either Japanese or German cars. His final purchase, at 91 years old, was a 300C SRT8, which replaced his 6-speed C5 Corvette. At that age, driving manual was more than he wanted to deal with.

        • 0 avatar
          jimbob457

          Relationships between neighbors are typically way more complex outsiders can possibly imagine. My late father-in-law was from the Polish-speaking province of Mazuria(sic) which borders on Prussia. The saying in Polish is “the snake bites the Mazur, the snake dies.” It Polish it probably rhymes.

          He spoke German fluently as his second language. What kept him alive as a prisoner was that the German professional officers protected him from the Nazis as he was one of their own. The Nazis wanted him dead just on general principles. The nearest allied forces were the Russians – and the Soviets wanted him dead, also just on general principles.

          It didn’t hurt that he could sell refrigerators to Eskimos in English which was, I think, his fourth language.

        • 0 avatar
          Synchromesh

          Why is that so hard to accept? The Japanese didn’t wipe out nearly half of the Jews in the world. The Germans did.

          I’ve heard some Chinese that won’t buy Japanese cars for similar reasons – and that makes perfect sense.

          • 0 avatar
            VA Terrapin

            Present day Germany and Japan are peaceful nations. Nazi Germany no longer exists. The power of Imperial Japan is now vested in a figurehead monarchy that has little, actual political power. Most of those who led Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan to become warmongering states are long dead. Current German and Japanese leaders like Angela Merkel and Shinzo Abe don’t really remind me of Adolf Hitler or Hideki Tojo.

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    According to IKCo’s site (long time ago) they already had agreements in place to export cars to Iraq in roughly the volumes you mention in your article. Mostly for taxi use.

    I am not surprised at the move, I am positive someone told me something about it but can’t remember when.

  • avatar
    DownEaster

    For the average Iraqi, the Khodro is probably a good, inexpensive car that probably is cheaper on parts than an American, Korean, or Japanese car. Also it is built in Iran next store rather than coming form half way around the world. In the US, many people buy “American” branded cars even if they are made in Mexico. So it gives Iraq jobs and a source of locally made cars. Also gives Iran a way to get around sanctions buy selling Iraq made cars instead of Iranian one around the world. If this takes off. Kind of like exporting something from China to Mexico then bringing it into the US to sell under NAFTA. Also love the stories as to how people survived World War II in the German POW or concentration camps. Have to respect the ingenuity of those people and respect them for what they did.

  • avatar
    otter

    That photo is from Venezuela. Didn’t work out so well there!

    http://www.eluniversal.com/economia/120206/chavez-admits-deficiencies-in-venezuelan-iranian-auto-plant (English)

    http://www.el-carabobeno.com/portada/articulo/47202/cementerio-de-carroceras-de-venirauto-en-la-morita (Spanish)

    Here’s to hoping that Iraqi corruption is more productive than Venezuelan corruption.


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