Iran Khodro, Daimler to launch strategic cooperation

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Iran Khodro Industrial Group and Daimler company, that is owner of several subsidiary and big brand auto companies such as Mercedes Benz, Mercedes-AMG and Smart, signed a memorandum of understanding on establishment of two joint companies.

Daimler, as major truck producer worldwide and Iran Khodro as biggest auto manufacturer in the Middle East, plan to establish two venture companies using each other's capacities to consolidate their position and set up a major commercial auto production hub the region.

The MoU was inked by Iran Khodro's Managing Director Hashem Yeke Zare and Daimler Trucks head Wolfgang Bernhard. A number of senior directors of the two major auto manufacturing companies were present in the inking ceremony.

Addressing the meeting, Yeke Zare said Iran Khodro Industrial Group in the new round of its international cooperation will follow a completely different approach, emphasizing presence and joint investment of the other party.

Bernhard said in turn that Daimler's commercial products have always been popular in the Iranian market and now the commercial autos are highly demanded. 'So, now that anti-Iran sanctions have been lifted, we are planning to speedily resume business in the market.'

He said conclusion of an MoU with the Iranian partner serves as an important requisite for speedy resumption of business.

Daimler AG says its truck business is returning to Iran as Berlin and Tehran look at resuming economic ties after lifting of sanctions.

Stuttgart-based Daimler announced Monday that it had signed letters of intent with local partners Iran Khodro Diesel and Mammut Group to arrange a 'comprehensive re-entry' into the country where Daimler started doing business in the 1950s.

Daimler Trucks head Wolfgang Bernhard said that 'there is a huge demand for commercial vehicles in Iran' and that 'we plan to quickly resume our business activities in the market there.'

Plans include a joint venture for local production of trucks under Daimler's Mercedes-Benz brand, cooperation on engine production, and establishment of a sales arm. Plans also include setting up a representative office, and sales of Daimler's Mitsubishi FUSO brand trucks in cooperation with Mayan, part of the Dubai-based Mammut Group.

Daimler's business in Iran started in 1953 and it sold up to 10,000 vehicles a year there, but was interrupted from 2010 to 2016 by the sanctions. The company estimates that Iran needs to replace 56,000 commercial vehicles over the next three to five years.

Germany's Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said Sunday that the nuclear deal offers a chance 'to open a new chapter' in German-Iranian business relations and plans to chair a joint economic commission in Tehran in May. He has cautioned that restoring ties is 'a long-term process.'