Reporting "Asre Khodro", Kargar made the statement in a press conference which was held in the headquarters of Renault Pars in Tehran on July 30.
“Although Renault’s production and sales were low and also there were some limitations for offering services in Iran during the sanctions, but the company never stopped its activity in the Islamic Republic,” Kargar said.
Renault had to suspend its Iran business in 2013 after stricter sanctions were imposed that specifically included tough restrictions on banking transactions with the country.
The French major reported a huge fall in profits for the first half of 2013 after writing off the entire value of its business in Iran. The firm suffered a loss of 512-million-euro (680-million-dollar) after halting its activities in the Islamic Republic.
“Not only did we maintain the process of manufacturing in Iran over the past two and a half years, we also managed to launch two mass production projects in the country. One for manufacturing the pickup model of L90 and the other for manufacturing Renault Sandero”, Kargar stated.
Announcing Iran as a hub of Renault activities in the Middle East was another noticeable measure taken by the French automaker in Iran over the past 2.5 years.
Renault is, and will, be the strategic partner of Iran’s automobile industry, he highlighted.
Kargar said Renault’s first priority in the Iranian market is to expedite manufacturing of its current models. The second priority is to manufacture new models in the country.
Auto part manufacturing is also of high importance for the French automaker, so that it intends to develop its part-making activities in Iran, he added.
Renault is also planning to develop its engineering and research center in the Islamic Republic, he noted.
Kargar emphasized that Renault is determined to strengthen its presence in Iran.
Renault Pars is an Iranian joint venture established in 2004 and owned by Renault and Industrial Development and Renovation Organization of Iran (IDRO). The company is in charge of managing the assembly of completely knocked down (CKD) Renault cars by local manufacturers Iran Khodro, Saipa and Pars Khodro.
Renault sold a total of 36,300 cars to Iran in 2014, which showed a decrease of about 9 percent year-on-year.
The company saw record high sales to Iran in 2011 and 2012 when it respectively sold 94,000 and 108,000 cars to the country.
The partial lifting of sanctions in November 2013 allowed Renault to resume shipping kits that its Iranian partners assemble.
Renault, with a significant history of manufacturing activities in Iran, is in advanced negotiations on new projects.
The automobile industry, the biggest non-oil sector of the Iranian economy, constituting around 10 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), boomed over the decade ending in 2011 due to government support and the dearth of international competitors in the domestic market.
Latest data shows that Iran ranks 18th on the list of the world’s top auto manufacturers.
The 2014 production statistics by the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (OICA) indicate Iran’s auto production increased by 46.7 percent in the 12-month period.
The figures show Iranian automakers produced 1,090,846 cars and commercial vehicles last year.
Meanwhile, in June, Iran’s media reported that the country’s auto industry could see a major rise in production of cars in 2015.
Global automakers are in a race for new business in Iran following the July 14 signing of a nuclear accord between Iran and world powers, which will end economic sanctions against Iran in exchange for restrictions on its nuclear program.
Source: Tehran Times