IKCO Restores Sites Abroad
Earlier reports said Iran Khodro Industrial Group had restored its site in Syria (SIAMCO) after several years. Meanwhile IKCO's Deputy CEO for Export and International Affairs, Saeed Tafazzoli said just recently that the Middle East's leading car manufacturer is planning to restore its Belarus and Senegal sites in the near future. Now, in an exclusive interview with IKCOPRESS, he has elaborated on the future plans of IKCO for its sites abroad.
Q: IKCO's Syria site has been restored after several years. What is your plan for the site’s future?
A: SIAMCO was reopened in 2015 and we have already dispatched a number of shipments to the site. Now, we plan to produce between 1,000 and 1,200 vehicles in Syria including Runna, Dena and Soren by the end of the current year.
Q: IKCO has also some inactive sites in other countries like Senegal and Venezuela. How do you see their future?
A: we cannot restore our site in Venezuela because our debt has not been yet paid back by Venezuela as the country is struggling with a deteriorating economic crisis. As you know well, developing any further plan in the Latin American country requires that our earlier debt be paid back completely.
Q: How much is the debt?
A: Venezuela owes about $33 million to IKCO. Meanwhile, the country owes an overall $80 million to SAIPA and IRICO. As far as we know, there would be no shipment to Venezuela until the debt is paid back.
Q: How about the Senegal site?
A: Senegal site has been restored and we have already sent a shipment of vehicle parts to the country for producing 48 Runna vehicles there. Dena and Soren parts were also sent in CBU. We will continue to send more CBU shipments to Senegal if the country's market warmly welcomes our products.
Q: IKCO has also a site in Belarus. Are you going to restore the site in the near future?
A: During the recent official visit of Iran-Belarus joint commission's members to Belarus under Iran's Minister of Industry, Trade and Mine, the two sides agreed to restore Belarus site for exporting IKCO's products to Russia. The restoration requires achieving Euro5 standards for Runna and Dena vehicles- a process which will take about four months.
Q: You said earlier that Belarus market is not attractive for IKCO. So, why do you have decided to restore your site in the country at this time?
A: The market has no attraction for us even now but something has changed. A custom tariff convention has been signed between Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus and Armenia which reduces custom duties for the goods in the region. So, IKCO- like other car companies including Peugeot, Chevrolet and South Korea’s Ssangyong Motor- has decided to assemble its products in Belarus.
Q: IKCO's Azerbaijan site has been inactive for eight years. Do you have any plan for its future?
A: Not yet, but we are planning to establish a new site with the partnership and by the investment of an Azeri company in Naftchaleh. This will turn Azerbaijan to an export hub for Iran Khodro. The site will produce Samand, Runna and Soren.
Q: IKCO is set to export its cars to Nigeria and Tunisia. Do you have any relative executive plans in the countries for this year?
A: In Tunisia’s market, we are taking some practical steps to fulfill our goals. Our Tunisian partner -PA Motor- has already dispatched a number of its staff to Iran for training and held a number of specialized exhibitions across Tunisia. We are now involved in making the arrangements for sending some shipments of Runna, Dena and Soren parts to Nigeria but the economic crisis in the country is hampering our efforts.
Q: How many cars do you predict IKCO would export by the end of this year?
A: We plan to export 20,000 vehicles by the end of this year, 80 percent of which will head to the Middle East and North Africa.