Iran courting German, Italian auto firms
Iran’s media say the country has suspended plans to cooperate with Peugeot and is instead preparing to take up talks with German and Italian auto majors to encourage them to invest in its car industry.
“Previously, everyone was expecting the signing of a cooperation agreement between Iran Khodro and Peugeot in light of the July nuclear breakthrough between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries,” wrote the Persian-language newspaper Donya-ye Eqtesad.
“However, it appears that … Iran is already engaged in talks with more attractive partners,” the daily added.
Speculations that Iran’s largest car manufacturer Iran Khodro is preparing to sign a deal with Peugeot to launch a new joint venture in the country emerged in May. It had been reported then that serious talks to the same effect had taken place between the two sides in Paris.
However, Peugeot soon became the target of criticisms in Tehran over its 2012 decision to withdraw its Iran investments under US pressures over disputes on Iran’s nuclear energy program.
“Iran Khodro had finalized its talks with Peugeot before March and was preparing to sign a JV deal with it upon the conclusion of nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1,” wrote Donya-ye Eqtesad.
However, after Iran Khodro saw the enthusiasm of global auto majors to invest in Iran, they suspended plans to team up with Peugeot and started talks with other companies including Germany’s Volkswagen, added the daily.
“This never means that Peugeot has been removed from Iran Khodro’s list of potential partners,” it said. Rather, it appears that Peugeot is no longer a ‘key partner’ in the eyes of Iran Khodro leaders and they are now more inclined toward potential German and Italian partners, it added.
Donya-ye Eqtesad has further emphasized that Iran Khodro has already started talks with Volkswagen and drawn serious partnership plans with it.
“Therefore, one should now wait to see what Peugeot’s reactions to this would be and whether it will still try to court Iran’s biggest auto producer or simply walk away”.