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Iran's Unbelievable Car Prices

Iran -- Shahin Saipa

In Iran, car prices have decreased after the Iranian national currency, the rial, slightly gained some of its lost value against the dollar.

Meanwhile, many Iranians are impatiently waiting to see what will happen to the wobbly Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, after Joe Biden's presidency begins in the United States.

As a result, the Iranian car market has faced a decrease of up to several billion rials in some models' price.

An expert in the Iranian car market, Mahmoud Nadi, says, "Car prices are falling, but since investors and large state-owned enterprises are also involved in the business, they do not allow a sudden drop in prices. Car manufacturers have increased their production and have no option other than supplying to the market with their 'incomplete' and stored vehicles. Their warehouses are crammed and have no room for storing new products. Thus, the prices will further decrease until they reach the desired balance, i.e., stabilized at a figure between the current market's and the manufacturers' official price offered to the deposit-paying buyers."

Shahin's Price Triggers Protests

The new price of a sedan manufactured by SAIPA, Shahin, has triggered a series of protests from its buyers. Shahin (Falcon) has an old eight-valve engine, a developed version of SAIPA's much cheaper car's engine, the Honor.

Nevertheless, the closing price of Shahin is close to three billion rials (approximately $71,000), which has angered its buyers. Many pre-purchasers of Shahin are struggling to get back some of their money and cancel their orders. So far, SAIPA has been adamant about doing so. In its latest offers, SAIPA Company has set the price of Shahin at 2.6 billion rials (about $64,000).

According to the automotive group's deputy head, Majid Baqeri, "Since the relevant authorities had not set a closing price for Shahin, SAIPA announced a required amount as a deposit which was not necessarily 50% of the closing price of the car."

Nonetheless, on December 11, 2020, the head of the "Competition Council," Reza Shiva, said, "The factory price of Shahin in the third quarter of the Iranian calendar year (beginning March 20, 2020) has been set at 2.36 billion rials (roughly $56,000)."

Many Shahin buyers, who, after winning a related lottery, have deposited an advance payment to SAIPA to receive the sedan in January, are angry with the new prices announced for the car. They are enraged to the extent that they have decided not to settle the final payment. Referring to the SAIPA's deputy head, who said that the advance payment is equal to the 50 percent of the cars at the time of delivery, the buyers argue that they cannot afford to pay the 870 million rials' (almost $21,000) difference between the initial offer and Shahin's recently announced price.

They also argue that, without taking the lost value of their deposits into the account, SAIPA has raised the car's price much more than what it was expected at the time of registering buyers' names.

Iran Khodro's One-Liter Engine

Iran's oldest car manufacturer, Iran Khodro, is developing a one-liter engine with 72 horsepower. The new engine is to be used in a small city car. It has three cylinders and uses a Variable Valve Timing system.

However, the engine seems weak for Iran, where many cities are located at high altitudes.