Cars from Iran are returning to Russia. What you need to know about Iran Khodro, by Mikhail Kononchuk for Autonews. 08.19.2022.
French engineering, Iranian design and an ambitious new crossover. What to expect from the second coming of IKCO to our market.
The forecasts that we voiced back in the first weeks of the current crisis are coming true. Following the scattering of new Chinese brands , a manufacturer from a country that has been living under sanctions for 40 years has rushed to Russia. The head of the Iran Khodro company , Mehdi Khatibi, said that negotiations with the Russian side had been held, and deliveries of cars should begin as early as 2022. What is Iran Khodro?
The history of the company is rich. It was founded already 60 years ago, in 1962, and they didn’t bother much with the name. Until 1979, the manufacturer existed as Iran National, and then was renamed Iran Khodro, where khodro is simply “car” in Persian. There is a spelling IKCO, denoting the automotive division of the concern. Because there is also IPCO (engines and transmissions), ISACO (spare parts), IRICO (railway transport) and so on.
The company is huge and rightfully calls itself the largest in the Middle East. According to official data, the production capacity of IKCO's six sites exceeds one million vehicles a year, more than AvtoVAZ, with the parent plant in Tehran capable of producing up to 700,000 vehicles. However, Iran Khodro still does not have completely independent developments.
The first car to be assembled in Tehran was the Paykan, a licensed Hillman Hunter from the forgotten British band Rootes. The unpretentious sedan made a revolution in Iran, allowing residents to transfer to four wheels. Paykan lasted in production from 1966 to 2005 (!) year, and even at the end of his career, two-year queues remained for him. In total, almost 1.5 million of these machines were produced.
In the early 90s, the French from Peugeot appeared in Iran Khodro. The step turned out to be symbolic, because the same Rootes group back in 1978 went to the PSA concern, and the Peugeot 405 sedan, among other things, was produced at a factory in British Rayton. They set up the assembly of "four hundred and fifths" in Iran - and it continues to this day.
Subsequently, the Peugeot 206 sedan and hatchback settled down on the conveyors of Iran Khodro, and their own varieties of French cars appeared. For example, under the name Peugeot 207i, the same “two hundred and sixth” is produced there, only with a more modern appearance, and Peugeot Pars is an “elderly” 405 after restyling. Finally, there is an almost modern product in the line - the Peugeot 2008 crossover of the previous generation.
Production is fully localized, including engines and transmissions. The old French TU5 and XU7 engines of 1.6 and 1.8 liters respectively are mainly used, although in 2008 Iran Khodro introduced its own line of engines called EF, developed jointly with the German company FEV.
There are many varieties of these engines: gasoline and diesel, with a volume of 1.4 to 1.6 liters, even turbocharged ones, they develop from 100 to 163 hp, fit into Euro-5 standards, and most gasoline models are accustomed to working on natural gas.
In addition to licensed Peugeot, the Iranians also mastered the assembly of the “Chinese” - the Haima S5 and S7 crossovers, as well as the old Dongfeng H30 Cross hatchback, which was also sold in Russia for some time. But the most interesting thing for us is the models under our own brand Iran Khodro, one of which is familiar to domestic motorists with experience.
We are talking about the Samand sedan: it was present on the Russian market from 2006 to 2009, but never gained popularity. This car was let down by poor build quality, relatively high prices and a rusting body - things were even worse than the Chinese products of those years. But Samand is still in service, and it is possible that the Iranians will again try to sell it to us. For reference: in the homeland Samand costs $ 6-8 thousand, that is, 350-500 thousand rubles. at the current rate.
Despite the original design, technically this is a variation on the theme of the same immortal Peugeot 405. Moreover, Samand is produced in parallel with its own heir - the Soren sedan, introduced back in 2007. In fact, Soren is not a very deep restyling of Samanda. It was planned that he would replace the ancestor on the conveyor, but something went wrong.
The funny thing is that in 2015 IKCO also introduced the Dena model, which is ... That's right, another restyling of Samanda! On the move, kinship may not be suspected, but the shape of the body still betrays the genealogy. Realizing this, the Iranians built another version - Dena + with modified side panels.
So, bend your fingers: Peugeot 405, Peugeot Pars, Samand, Soren, Dena, Dena + - as many as six cars built on the same base from the mid-eighties. It reminds me of something, doesn't it? 2108, 2110, Priora, Kalina, Granta… To be fair, AvtoVAZ at least designed the platform on its own, but the parallels are still interesting.
Moreover, the Iranians also have an Arisun passenger pickup truck with body panels from Peugeot 405, stretched over ... units from Paykan! Yes, yes, the same one from the sixties.
But not everything in Iran is so archaic. For example, IKCO Runna is produced there - this is a slightly turned Peugeot 206 sedan, which was very popular in Russia. The design has not yet knocked for 25 years! There is also a completely new one - IKCO Tara, that is, a converted "state employee" Peugeot 301 / Citroen C-Elysee. The source was presented only in 2012, and since 2021, the Iranians have also received access to it. True, you will have to pay a lot for such luxury - 800 million rials, that is, about $19 thousand. or 1.2 million rubles.
Finally, soon Iran Khodro should have its first crossover named Rira. There is little information about it: the start of production is scheduled for 2023, and only a pre-production prototype was shown to the local public. Despite the design of the front end in the style of Hyundai Santa Fe, the body contours hint at a close relationship with the Peugeot 2008, and the platform is still the same - the French PF1, which the Iranians renamed IKP1 and call their own development.
Let's forgive them such cunning and note that at least they really worked on the interior: through the glass of the prototype, you can see the original architecture with dual digital displays, generally unlike Peugeot or Citroen. The management of Iran Khodro says that the Rira is being created with a big eye on export, so the crossover can be safely expected in Russia, perhaps as early as 2023.