Daimler Trucks eyes swift return to post-sanctions Iran

18th January 2016, Comments 0 comments

German automaker Daimler said Monday that its heavy goods vehicles unit, Daimler Trucks, planned a swift return to the Iranian market, after the US and EU lifted sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear programme.

Two days after the embargo was lifted, Daimler revealed it has signed letters of intent with its local cooperation partners Iran Khodro Diesel (IKD) and the Mammut Group in the first big step in its return to Iran.

"The areas of cooperation include a joint venture for local production of Mercedes-Benz trucks and powertrain components plus the establishment of a sales company for Mercedes-Benz trucks and components," Daimler said in a statement.

Ending a political standoff dating back to 2002, the United States and the European Union lifted sanctions on Iran at the weekend after the UN's atomic watchdog confirmed Tehran had complied with its obligations to curb its nuclear programme.

Daimler Trucks chief Wolfgang Bernhard said that "Daimler commercial vehicles have always had an excellent reputation in Iran. And right now, there is a huge demand for commercial vehicles, especially trucks. We plan to quickly resume our business activities in the market there. The signing of the letters of intent with our local partners IKD and Mammut Group are important pre-requisites to resume business quickly."

Daimler said it had already had successful business relations for the past 50 years with IKD, which is a subsidiary of Iran Khodro Industrial Group, the largest vehicle manufacturer in the Middle East and North Africa region having more than 50-percent market share in Iran.

In addition, Daimler said it also had plans "to return as a shareholder in the former engine joint venture Iranian Diesel Engine Manufacturing Co. (IDEM)." And both Daimler and IKD were looking at establishing a joint venture for local sales of Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicles.

Daimler said there was "high pent-up demand in the Iranian truck market."

"With its growth potential following many years of sanctions and the pent-up demand in the transport sector, Iran offers promising opportunities for Daimler Trucks."

Despite the sanctions, Iran was one of the largest national economies in the Middle East, with a nominal gross domestic product (GDP) of $415 billion in 2014, the German company said.

Industry accounted for almost half of the Iranian national economy. The Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade estimated that about 200,000 commercial vehicles would be replaced in the coming years -- some 56,000 of them in the next three to five years alone, Daimler added.

© 2016 AFP

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