There’s no question that I’m a fan of small, body-on-frame SUVs. For hauling various combinations of human and cargo across various terrains, smooth or otherwise, there is no substitute. In many parts of the world, the average roadway is somehow worse than even the Pennsylvania Turnpike, so a sturdy frame is paramount.
I’ve never been to Iran, but I’d imagine it’s one of those places where a rugged vehicle is required. Thus, it’s no surprise that the last-generation Suzuki Grand Vitara is still built there.
Iran’s oil minister has said that an emergency OPEC meeting may be necessary to stem the tide of slumping worldwide oil prices, Reuters is reporting. Algeria has also called for an emergency meeting.
A barrel of crude oil slid to its lowest price last week of around $40, the lowest in more than six years. Record low gas prices could closely follow, which would help American drivers and car buyers, however the broader economic impact may be tougher to discern. Worldwide markets sank on Friday, largely on fears that China would slow its economic growth and instability in Greece could hamper European economies.
A year ago, TTAC broke news of back channel overtures being made towards Iran on behalf of General Motors. A number of Chevrolet Camaro Convertibles made their way to Iran via a complicated logistics network and the importations were of dubious legality. But the event highlighted a sentiment in the auto industry that few are willing to openly discuss: the BRIC countries, once the darlings of the emerging markets, have already been exhausted. The search for new markets is on, and that means places like Africa and Iran. And Cuba could be next.
After a six-month self-imposed hiatus, Renault has begun shipping “a very low volume” of parts overland to Iran for vehicle assembly.
For the past few months, sanctions against Iran for their nuclear ambitions have sidelined PSA and Renault from the Persian market. Behind the scenes, General Motors outmaneuvered PSA despite their one-time alliance allowing them to muscle their way into aan emerging market via loophole abuse and an unknown quantity of Camaros. With GM out of the way, however, PSA would now be free to regain their footing once sanctions were lifted.
PSA won’t be alone in the upcoming battle, of course, as their compatriots at Renault have plans to return to Iran to reclaim what was lost, and then some.
Weeks prior to the historic deal reached between Iran and the “P5+1” group of nations, TTAC reported on some of the machinations going on behind the scenes regarded the United States, France and their respective auto industries ability to do business in Iran. We put forth the theory that any deal with Iran would be a boon to auto manufacturers, who would have access to a market expected to be worth 1.5 million units in a few short years, with a very young population and a standard of living that is substantially better than many highly touted emerging markets.
At the time of publication, we encountered significant dismissal, if not disagreement. But as it turned out, negotiations had been ongoing since the start of 2013, and the preliminary deal appears to make the auto industry a big winner.
Iran's Imported Chevrolet Camaros Raise Questions About GM's Dealings With PSA And The Iranian Regime
An obscure story in the Azerbaijani press this past summer may be the tip of a much larger iceberg involving General Motors, PSA Peugeot Citroen and the Western World’s current bete noir: the Iranian regime currently embroiled at the heart of a controversial nuclear program, which is subject to economic sanctions by the United States government, including those that specifically target Iran’s automotive industry.
Citing reports from Iran’s Mehr news agency, an Azerbaijani news outlet reported that an unspecified number of brand new Chevrolet Camaro RS 2LT convertibles were imported by a division of Iranian conglomerate Iran Khodro. According to the report, the Camaros were sent from Miami to Paris, and then from Paris to Tehran via a Qatar Airways plane. The report also states that US Customs and Border Patrol documents list the final destination as the Aras Free Trade and Industrial Zone.
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.
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.
Car companies severing ties with Iran are making headlines. After GM’s new partner PSA decided to stop sending parts to Iran, Hyundai “has quietly ended its business dealings with Iran, where it had extensive operations,” says the New York Times. The Times chalks this up as a win for “United Against Nuclear Iran, an American group that has advocated economic sanctions.” UANI keeps a list of companies that still do business with Iran, it also lists companies that have withdrawn from doing so. Hyundai has received a check mark in the “withdrawn” list.
Detroit is looking nervously at that list. Let’s have a look as well.
Latest Car ReviewsRead more
Latest Product ReviewsRead more
- Inside Looking Out For midsize sedan it is too small. It basically is a compact car.
- Stodge I test drove the 200S and damn, its suspension was so firm, I was convinced it didn't actually include suspension at all. It hurt my spine and hip, it was that firm.
- MRF 95 T-Bird If Mopar had only offered sport hatch versions of the 200 and or Dart they might have sold more of them for folks who wanted some more versatility without having to go for a small utility Compass Patriot or new at the time Renegade or Cherokee.
- El scotto I started driving in the late 70's. The cars high school kids could afford and wanted were very very worn out muscle cars. Oh Lordy those V-8's bring back some happy memories. Oh there some outliers in my crowd, a VW Bug and a Dodge Scamp with slant six; neither car would die. In 10 years their will be young people wanting very used Teslas or Dodge's with hemis. B&B, I say that if someone is excited about their EV, Hybrid, or Hemi welcome them to the club of people who like cars.
- El scotto Farley and Billy Ford need to put on some jeans, flannel shirts and PPE. They should (but never will) walk the factory floors and ask "what is wrong?", "what could we be doing better?"Let me caveat that. Let Jimmy and Billy explain that any constructive criticisms will be non-attributable. Oh they can use platitude like making the house level again or setting the ship on the right course.Sadly I suspect than many, many Power Points will die in vain in the executive suites in Dearborn. At least three if not four very expensive consulting teams will be hired to review Ford's QC problems. Four consulting teams will mean four different solutions. None them will be put in action. Ford will still have huge QC problems.