Tehran, Feb 7, IRNA-Iran Khodro Industrial Group Managing Director Manuchehr Mantaqi and his counterpart at the Belarussian Younison Company signed on Monday an agreement to assemble Samand cars in Belarus.
Production capacity is projected at 6,000 cars annually which could gradually increase depending on regional demand to 60,000 annually, the Iran-Khodro official added.
Following the signing ceremony, Mantaqi remarked that during the first phase of production, Samand parts will be exported to Belarus in the form of CKDs that will be assembled in the company, he said.
In subsequent phases and after conducting various analyses and feasibility studies in neighboring countries, including Russia, and with additional investment production will be raised, Mantaqi underlined.
Deputy Director for Exports and International Affairs Alireza Mirzaie, speaking on the sidelines of the signing ceremony, referred to the two memoranda of understanding inked between Iran and Belarus to produce two other brands of automobiles.
"The first would be a commercial type car and the second a jeep, the Gazel, both cars to be jointly produced by Iran-Russia and Belarus," he added.
Mirzaie said the company's exports stood at USD 115 million in the first eight months of the current Iranian year (started March 21).
He said that the above-stated figure includes vehicles, parts, technical and engineering services exports.
"Car exports this year have been unprecedented in the company's history" and predicted "exports could top USD 200 million by the end of the year."
The Belarussian official said that Samand is competitive in quality and price in world markets. It also meets all international standards, he added.
Production of Samand cars will begin in Belarus in April.
Mirzaie said here last week that 200 automobiles of the Samand brand have been exported to Russia since the start of 2006.
The first batch of Samands were exported after the company received the necessary license from the Russian Standards Institute.
He said that the exports, given the fact that the Russian Federation is a competitive market for vehicles in the world, shows that "Samand has captured a share of the market in the country (Russia)."
He said that the export license granted to the company by the Russian Standards Institute is a laudable achievement for the Iranian vehicle industry.
"Exports of cars to Russia are expected to top 3,000 in the current year (Iranian)," he predicted.
Samand cars are designed to suit the Russian climate and demand of Russian customers for the so-called "North Samands," he added.
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