AFP: Hundreds of Iranian-made cars have suddenly caught fire on Iran’s roads over the past months, with police pointing to the Peugeot 405 as the main culprit, the press reported Monday. TEHRAN, Jan 1, 2007 (AFP) – Hundreds of Iranian-made cars have suddenly caught fire on Iran’s roads over the past months, with police pointing to the Peugeot 405 as the main culprit, the press reported Monday.
Since the beginning of the Iranian year in March, there have been 125 incidents of cars catching fire without warning and then killing or injuring the occupants, traffic police chief Mohammad Rooyanian said.
“Around 300 people have been killed or wounded and 40 percent of the fatalities were attributed to the Peugeot 405,” he told the hardline Kayhan newspaper.
“We are not to going compromise on this issue. We are emphasizing the need to improve the safety of the vehicles, so that our citizens will not be worried any more,” he added.
The Peugeot 405 and other well-known models from the French carmaker have been manufactured under licence since 1990 by Iran Khodro, Iran’s largest car manufacturer.
“Fire service figures from the first six months of the year have said that 700 cars caught fire in Tehran, out of which 70 percent of them were manufactured by Iran Khodro,” Rooyanian added.
Iran Khodro’s director of marketing Mehdi Ghasem said the problem was an “occasional technical fault in the fuel system” in cars more than two years old and emphasized that vehicles made in this Iranian year had no such fault.
“Neither us nor the police have received any report on such a fault in this year’s cars. Therefore, the registration process will automatically go on,” he said, dismissing warnings of a ban on the car.
“Despite the reports, the car still ranks as the best-selling car among automobiles in the Iranian market which are priced above 10,000 dollars,” he said.
The state-owned Iran Khodro company has an annual production of about 550,000 cars including Iran’s flagship Samand, Peugeot 206 and Peugeot Pars, which is a face-lifted 405.