EghtesadOnline: PSA Group, which includes Peugeot, Citroen and DS Automobiles, is trying to increase the momentum of its reentry into the Iranian market, an official of the company told the press this week.
Jean-Cristophe Quemard, director of PSA’s Middle East and Africa operations said that the company is speeding up the entry of the Peugeot 2008 crossover model and will begin production in the next few days, according to Bloomberg.
PSA previously said the company was going to start production of the hotly anticipated vehicle in the second half of 2017. However demand in the market and the fear of Chinese competitors who also plan to launch several new vehicles this year in Iran have forced the company to speed up its plans.
Meanwhile, Renault Group, which is the other large French automaker re-establishing itself in Iran, has made great gains in recent months with the introduction of several models in CBU or CKD form. The most popular of which is the Renault Sandero and Sandero Stepway models which have been classed as one of the best built locally assembled vehicles according to Iran Standards and Quality Institute (ISQI), Financial Tribune reported.
“It’s the moment for us to accelerate,” Quemard told reporters Monday by phone. “It is clear that it will become even more difficult for American companies to operate” there in the future.
His comments come as the Trump administration in Washington has ratcheted up calls to foreign companies to be wary of investing in Iran. The US administration also recently added 12 individuals and entities from several countries to the Office of Foreign Assets Control Sanctions list, barring them from doing business with Iranians outside of Iran.
The official added that Iran was an “extremely complicated” market due to the reluctance of banks to finance operations in the country. During the phone call with reporters he did not say how his company was currently moving forward with plans to finance its operations in Iran.
Previously, however, Iranian officials said due to years of absence in the local market, Peugeot was owed money which amounted to millions of euros, making internal capital agreements a likely way to kickstart its operations with its new joint venture with Iran Khodro called IKAP.
Quermard who was in Tehran recently to attend the Iran Automotive Industry International Conference said on February 14 that “Iran has to show commitment to the Peugeot and Citroen brands” and that his company intends to reach around 70% localization of auto parts in the coming years as it grows its market share.