EghtesadOnline: While SAIPA’s French partner Citroen has suspended its collaborations with the Iranian company, the local carmaker striving not to get marooned in the past has introduced a brand new model along with a homegrown automotive platform which can usher in a new era for SAIPA.
In the face of the upcoming US sanctions and in line with the country’s agenda to reduce dependency on foreign products, the major Iranian carmaker SAIPA earlier this week unveiled its first locally designed vehicle during the Shiraz Auto Show, one of the major automotive events in the country.
The vehicle, a sedan model, is dubbed “Roham” and was first put on public display on July 18 in Shiraz at the four-day event which opened on July 17, as local carmakers and car enthusiasts gathered to showcase latest achievements.
In Persian, Roham is the name of a bird of prey from falcon species which according to legends cannot be hunted. SAIPA says the sedan’s design has been inspired by falcon’s elegance, a bird acclaimed nationally for its beauty and agility. The falcon symbolized victory in ancient Iran, according to Financial Tribune.
During the week leading to the unveiling of the Roham, SAIPA’s shares in the stock market went from 800 rials (1.8 cents) per share to 950 (2.2 cents). On Wednesday, less than 24 hours after Roham was displayed, the carmaker’s trade volume reached 656 million shares.
SAIPA had not seen such trade volumes since March 2016. The high trade volume can be attributed to the debut of the locally designed Roham and the company’s recently released financial statements which show a slight improvement in the second largest carmaker’s financial standing.
The four-door sedan comes with a four-cylinder, 1.6-liter engine which generates 113 hp and 154 Nm, and is outfitted with a 6-speed automatic transmission system or a 5-speed manual gearbox. The vehicle is to be offered in 6 types and weighs between 1,260 and 1,330 kilograms.
Zoomit estimates that based on the specifications of the vehicle, it will reach 100 km/h speed in 11 or 12 seconds, with the top speed of 180 km per hour.
To comply with strict emissions regulations and improve performance, SAIPA has used the variable valve timing (VVT) which is the process of altering the timing of a valve lift event so as to improve performance, fuel economy and emissions
While the specifics of the six different types of Roham have not been announced yet, according to SAIPA’s website, the vehicle is equipped with 6 airbags, leather seats, sunroof, a seven to ten inch multimedia infotainment display (depending on the type of the model), anti-lock braking system (ABS) and steering wheel control keys.
Moreover, the sedan enjoys cruise control, rear parking sensors, electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD), electronic stability control (ECS), 15-16 inch Aluminum rings, electric folding door mirrors and a smart key with keyless entry and push-button start.
SAIPA also claims that the homegrown sedan meets Euro 5 emission standards.
Roham’s fuel tank can hold 47 liters of gasoline and its trunk capacity is 420 liters. The vehicle is currently in the trial period. and is hoped to officially enter the market in early winter.
Since the car is to be manufactured in six different types, gearheads estimate the vehicle’s price to fall between 500 million rials ($11,620) and 700 million rials ($16,270).
Roham is SAIPA’s first vehicle manufactured on a locally designed platform named SP100 which the firm claims is a mega-platform that in addition to sedans can be altered to accommodate the production of crossovers and hatchbacks.
Mega-platforms are capable of producing up to ten families of vehicles—from SUVs to sports cars, from entry-level to luxury, and from fossil fuel powered to electric.
SAIPA has spent years to develop the platform, with some saying that it has employed the counsel of East Asian experts.
Specialists in the auto industry maintain the platform is reminiscent of China’s Great Wall Voleex C30.
When it comes to public feedback, SAIPA has failed to persuade car enthusiasts that they have independently designed the vehicle as the specifics and car bodywork bear the hallmarks of Chinese cars and the company’s existing range of products exhibit poor quality.
Shiraz Auto Show
While this year’s Shiraz Auto Show was dominated by SAIPA, other Iranian carmakers did not fail to snatch some of the public attention, putting their latest models and achievements on the pedestal.
Local carmaker and partner of China’s BYD, Karmania had a strong presence at the auto show as the company displayed the S6 and F3 models as well as the first-timer S7.
The overwhelming interest of car enthusiasts in Karmania’s product has prompted the carmaker to offer the vehicle with various payment plans which can make the purchase feasible to more people.
SAIPA subsidiary Pars Khodro displayed a new version of Chinese pickup truck Dongfeng Rich in its booth. The vehicle’s 2.4-liter engine comes with 139 hp and Pars Khodro intends to introduce the model into Iran’s market in the coming months.
The 17th edition of Shiraz Auto Show was held from July 17 to 20 at Fars International Permanent Fairground.