EghtesadOnline: SAIPA’s Pride, no pride after all, was once produced in unusually large numbers and is still the cheapest car in the local market. Now all that seems to be over and it is gradually on its way out. Hopefully for good.
During the past couple of days, a bulk of complaints have been received from buyers, saying the company’s dealerships are refusing to deliver the Pride hatchback 111 due to dwindling inventories, the local auto website Asbe Bokhar says.
SAIPA 111 – informally known as the Pride hatchback – was one of the cheapest cars on the market in recent years, costing 220 million rials ($5,800).
Upon further investigation, several SAIPA dealerships stated that according to a recent circular from the carmaker, customers who had previously ordered the hatchback model were told instead to collect their deposits or purchase a Tiba2 hatchback – and, of course, pay an extra 50 million rials, according to Financial Tribune.
SAIPA sells the low quality Pride for around 220 million rials ($5,800) and Tiba for 270 million rials ($7,100).
Long Produced And Maligned
Pride has been produced since 1993 and is based on a Kia Motor’s hatchback from the 1980s. While the South Korean firm put an end to the sales of the model in 2000, SAIPA bosses have rejected repeated calls by the national standards organization, economic experts and respected environmentalists to do the same.
According to a report by Iran’s Standard and Quality Inspection Company released in English on August 8, Pride was among the lowest quality cars produced in the country – probably in the world.
The culling of the once popular vehicle comes just a few days after a report by the Ministry of Industries, Mining and Trade which compiled the list of Compressed Natural Gas vehicles produced in the first four months of the current fiscal that started in late March.
In that report, there was no mention of the CNG-powered Pride in the overall national production chart and Tiba had taken its place. As is customary, the company was tight lipped on why it had removed the car from the production cycle.
Pride Production Gets Political
In June the Parliament finally (rather odd that it had to wait for so long) decided that the company had gone too far in its conceited ways and lawmakers started to complain about the impervious production record of the Pride. Head of the Majlis Industries Commission, Aziz Akbarian, had earlier said the production of the Pride model ‘must be stopped by Nowruz.’
“The Institute of Standards and Industrial Research of Iran (ISIRI) has mandated that the production lines of Pride must shut down by the end of the current calendar year,” Akbarian was quoted as saying.
Akbarian assured the public that “SAIPA will comply with the mandate and production of Pride will be stopped by the end of the year.”
However, in response, the CEO of SAIPA had something very different in mind. Mahdi Jamali claimed that the production of the model will continue “so long as there is demand for the model.”
A bit strange, if not surprising, that the top lawmaking body failed to walk the talk at that time.
Earlier this month, ISIRI chief Nayereh Piroozbakht said, “Production of vehicles that fail to comply with 83 automotive standards will be halted by the end of 2018,” with Pride topping the list.
“ISIRI and Iran’s Automotive Policymaking Council have set new automotive standards and given a two-year ultimatum to automakers to comply,” she said.
However, the long term picture looks to be filled by the slightly more expensive Tiba model. According to inspections by Iran Standards and Quality Inspection Co (ISQI), the Tiba and Pride models are as poorly constructed as each other with many of the same parts.