Best Selling Cars Around The Globe: Iran Implodes

Matt Gasnier
by Matt Gasnier
best selling cars around the globe iran implodes

After travelling to Japan, over the last week, this time I’m taking you to Iran where the automotive industry is experiencing a very eventful year…

The last time we went to Iran with Best Selling Cars Around The Globe was in April 2011 – in other words an eternity because at that time I didn’t have access to official production figures, so it’s time for a thorough update.

Not into 80s Peugeots and Kias (yes that’s what the Iranians buy)? That’s ok, you can discover the best-selling models in 167 additional countries and territories in my blog. Or today I can also offer you the Top 277 best-selling models in the USA over the first 9 months 2012

Back to Iran.

Only local production data is available for Iran and not sales or imports. However these figures should portray a relatively accurate picture of car sales in the country as high import duties and the weakness of the local currency limits sales of other vehicles.

Iranian production figures for the month of Shahrivar 1391, roughly equivalent to September 2012 in the Persian calendar, show a drop of 66 percent compared to a year ago with a total of just 45,550 units produced. Year-to-date after 6 months in the Persian year 1391, only 396,422 vehicles have been produced, a 42 percent drop year-on-year.

Earlier this year and under the influence of new stakeholders General Motors, Peugeot announced they would stop the CKD assembly of cars in Iran. And this has been verified by production figures published by Iranian website The Peugeot 405 (yes, the 1987 one) is down 60 percent year-on-year to #2 with 6,681 units produced…

…the Peugeot Pars (a variant of the 405) is down 83 percent to #6 with 1,369 units…

…and the Peugeot 206’s production has virtually stopped with just 337 units produced this month, down 98 percent on September 2011. The Peugeot 207i (aka 206+) has stopped being produced in Iran.

As this wasn’t enough to hit the Iranian auto industry in the guts, in the wake of the sharp devaluation of the Iranian rial vs. the US dollar and the inflation resulting from it, the government decided in July to set the price for domestic cars. Judging the prices too low, local manufacturer Saipa reacted by halving its production.

Saipa Pride

I can hear some of you say “Saiwhat? Who cares?” Yes but no. Saipa is one of two Iranian car manufacturers and they produce the Saipa Pride, a rebadged 1987 Kia Pride, at the unbelievable rate of (at least until July this year) 2,300 per working day! Halving production of the Pride almost means in effect halving Iranian’s car production as a whole… and this is what’s been happening since July.

For the first time since I have been following Iranian car production figures, the Saipa Pride has gone below 20,000 monthly units, down to 18,169 in September or 69 percent less than in September 2011…

Saipa Tiba

Saipa also produce the Tiba, down 52 percent in September to #7 and 1,413 units.

Iran Khodro Samand

The other Iranian car manufacturer is Iran Khodro, and although there is no announcement in the press of them also halving their production in protest, the production figures say it louder than any PR announcement. The company’s main model, the Samand, “Iran’s first car”, saw its production drop by 60 percent year-on-year in September to 5,017 units (

Iran Khodro Runna

Iran Khodro’s other model on sale right now is the Runna, based on the Peugeot 206 sedan. The Runna is cranking up its production at the moment in spite of this gloomy environment and reaches 479 units this month, nearly double its August score and up one spot to #8. 910 Runnas have now been produced this Persian year.

In fact, the only company to benefit from this shaky environment is Renault. The French car manufacturer produces two models locally: the Tondar 90 (aka Dacia Logan), up to #3 this month with a production down ‘only’ 37 percent to 5,558 units…

… and the previous generation Renault Megane which is the only model to see its production rise year-on-year, up 12 percent to 1,005 units.

Join the conversation
2 of 4 comments
  • Jeremie Jeremie on Oct 15, 2012

    Is this a sign that sanctions are crushing the Iranian economy?

  • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Oct 19, 2012

    The Samand really looks like an old G20. Clearly, one of the best cars you can buy in Iran (best meaning average here) is the Renault Megane.

  • Nrd515 I bought an '88 S10 Blazer with the 4.3. We had it 4 years and put just about 48K on it with a bunch of trips to Nebraska and S. Dakota to see relatives. It had a couple of minor issues when new, a piece of trim fell off the first day, and it had a seriously big oil leak soon after we got it. The amazinly tiny starter failed at about 40K, it was fixed under some sort of secret warranty and we got a new Silverado as a loaner. Other than that, and a couple of tires that blew when I ran over some junk on the road, it was a rock. I hated the dash instrumentation, and being built like a gorilla, it was about an inch and a half too narrow for my giant shoulders, but it drove fine, and was my second most trouble free vehicle ever, only beaten by my '82 K5 Blazer, which had zero issues for nearly 50K miles. We sold the S10 to a friend, who had it over 20 years and over 400,000 miles on the original short block! It had a couple of transmissions, a couple of valve jobs, a rear end rebuild at 300K, was stolen and vandalized twice, cut open like a tin can when a diabetic truck driver passed out(We were all impressed at the lack of rust inside the rear quarters at almost 10 years old, and it just went on and on. Ziebart did a good job on that Blazer. All three of his sons learned to drive in it, and it was only sent to the boneyard when the area above the windshield had rusted to the point it was like taking a shower when it rained. He now has a Jeep that he's put a ton of money into. He says he misses the S10's reliablity a lot these days, the Jeep is in the shop a lot.
  • Jeff S Most densely populated areas have emission testing and removing catalytic converters and altering pollution devices will cause your vehicle to fail emission testing which could effect renewing license plates. In less populated areas where emission testing is not done there would probably not be any legal consequences and the converter could either be removed or gutted both without having to buy specific parts for bypassing emissions. Tampering with emission systems would make it harder to resell a vehicle but if you plan on keeping the vehicle and literally running it till the wheels fall off there is not much that can be done if there is no emission testing. I did have a cat removed on a car long before mandatory emission testing and it did get better mpgs and it ran better. Also had a cat gutted on my S-10 which was close to 20 years old which increased performance and efficiency but that was in a state that did not require emission testing just that reformulated gas be sold during the Summer months. I would probably not do it again because after market converters are not that expensive on older S-10s compared to many of the newer vehicles. On newer vehicles it can effect other systems that are related to the operating and the running of the vehicle. A little harder to defeat pollution devices on newer vehicles with all the systems run by microprocessors but if someone wants to do it they can. This law could be addressing the modified diesels that are made into coal rollers just as much as the gasoline powered vehicles with cats. You probably will still be able to buy equipment that would modify the performance of a vehicles as long as the emission equipment is not altered.
  • ToolGuy I wonder if Vin Diesel requires DEF.(Does he have issues with Sulfur in concentrations above 15ppm?)
  • ToolGuy Presented for discussion:
  • Kevin Ford can do what it's always done. Offer buyouts to retirement age employees, and transfers to operating facilities to those who aren't retirement age. Plus, the transition to electric isn't going to be a finger snap one time event. It's going to occur over a few model years. What's a more interesting question is: Where will today's youth find jobs in the auto industry given the lower employment levels?