Glimmer of hope seen for US carmakers in Iran

Article by Anita Panait, on December 27, 2013

Prior to 1979 when the Islamic Revolution broke out, Iran was a booming market for cars and trucks made in the United States. That has since changed when the Islamic Republic of Iran was established, as that fateful event has led to the banning of imports, including autos, from the US. The US has also severed ties with Iran in 1980 after its diplomats were taken hostage. Decades of sanctions imposed by the US and other Western countries then followed. The auto industry and local consumers were held hostage. Recently, however, there seems to be a spark of hope for US-built cars and trucks in Iran, particularly in Tabriz, a city located northwest of the country. The city has seen the influx of such vehicles, as it is located near the Aras free trade zone that is close to Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Dealers, owners and enthusiasts have been posting images and videos of US vehicles like the Dodge Challenger. This influx exemplifies how sanctions seem to be unable of stopping the influx of such goods into Iran. This influx also provides a good case that Iran could be a good market for US carmakers, especially once a current dispute over Tehran's nuclear program is permanently resolved and the current trade embargoes are lifted.

"We see amazing cars here now. There's huge interest because there've been no American cars in Iran for many years," said Mohammad, a sales manager working for a business importing US cars into Iran, told Reuters.  The Aras free trade zone was established eight years ago in the northwest Iran and started allowing vehicle imports in 2012. [source: Reuters]

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