Bloomberg: Iran Khodro, the country’s largest carmaker, plans to discuss joint venture plans with Turkey after Malaysia pulled out of a project to build a car focused on Islamic buyers.
By Ladane Nasseri
Oct. 10 (Bloomberg) — Iran Khodro, the country’s largest carmaker, plans to discuss joint venture plans with Turkey after Malaysia pulled out of a project to build a car focused on Islamic buyers.
“An economic and industrial delegation will come within two weeks to Iran to start initial negotiations,” Mir Javad Soleimani, the company’s deputy chief executive officer for quality and product development, said in an interview today. “If we reach an understanding we will begin producing an Islamic car.”
The possibility for cooperation was brought up by Turkey’s industry minister during a recent visit by Iran’s first vice- president, said Soleimani.
The new automobile “will be a brand specifically for Muslim states,” he said. “We will target their markets.” He did not name the Turkish automobile company considering the project and declined to say how much investment was needed as talks are underway.
Iran is part of the Developing Eight (D-8), a group of emerging countries with large Muslim populations that have formed an economic alliance.
The Persian Gulf state initially sought to pursue a similar plan with Proton Holdings Bhd., Malaysia’s state-controlled carmaker.
“Proton pulled out and we are now looking into this with Turkey, which is interested,” Soleimani said, without detailing the reason for the Malaysian company’s decision.
The D-8 is comprised of Bangladesh, Egypt, Malaysia, Iran, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey.
Iran produced 1.39 million cars in 2009 including commercial vehicles, making it the world’s 12th largest carmaker after Canada, Mexico, France and Spain, according to the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers. China and Japan are the world’s two largest car manufacturers, the Paris-based organization said on its website.
Iran Khodro, which was founded in 1962, produced about 680,000 vehicles in the last Iranian calendar year that ended on March 20th.