S. Korean envoy sees bright future for Iran’s auto industry

South Korea’s ambassador to Tehran dismissed the notion that Iran is just a suitable market for selling cars and auto parts, predicting a bright future for the Iranian automobile industry’s presence in global markets.

Iran is not just a place for the sale of vehicles and automobile components, and will become a “serious rival” for major carmakers in the future, Kim Seung-ho said in an address to the 4th Iran Automotive Industry International Conference (IAIIC), held in Tehran on Sunday.

He predicted that Iranian automobile companies will catch up with European carmakers in future.

The ambassador also encouraged foreign investors to keep working with Iran, “because Iran will soon gain a good position in the automotive industry.”

Iranian automotive companies have enhanced cooperation with European firms, particularly the French ones, since implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a nuclear agreement between Iran and the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, the US, Britain, France and Germany), which took effect in January 2016.

In June 2016, Iran’s leading vehicle manufacturer Iran Khodro and the French carmaker Peugeot-Citroen (PSA) agreed to launch a joint auto company in Tehran under a joint venture worth 400 million euros.

The 50-50 joint venture is planned to manufacture three models – the Peugeot208, the 2008 sport utility vehicle and 301 compact – using parts mostly made in Iran.

According to a report released in January 2017, strong sales of PSA Peugeot Citroen’s brand in Iran following the removal of anti-Tehran sanctions increased the French automaker’s sales volume in 2016.