Pininfarina to Design Cars for Iran’s IKCO
Iran’s national car manufacturer, Iran Khodro, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a number of automotive companies – both domestic and foreign – to help develop a modular platform that will underpin a new generation of vehicles to be sold under its IKCO brand.
The list includes Pininfarina, with the Italian coachbuilder being tasked with developing not only the core platform, but also the exterior styling for all of the cars to be born out of the platform; it has already been confirmed the latter will be used for at least four different vehicles, including hybrid and electric cars.
IKCO’s deputy CEO for design and development, Kamran Sepehri, said the new partnership with Pininfarina forms part of a strategic plan of Iran Khodro to further increase its share in the domestic and regional markets; the company is currently the biggest car group in the Middle East, dominating Iran’s massive market as well as having production lines in Venezuela, Belarus, Senegal, and Azerbaijan; and it also makes and sells Peugeot-branded cars under license from the PSA Group, who returned to Iran in 2016 following the lifting of U.S.-imposed sanctions.
In order to survive and grow bigger, Sepehri says IKCO now needs to manufacture vehicles capable of competing with their foreign rivals.
“Designing and developing a platform comprising over 60 per cent of a vehicle will significantly contribute to the diversification of our vehicles,” he said.
He went on saying that another strategic goal of IKCO was to export 30 per cent of its products by 2025.
“The agreement with Iran Khodro represents another important step in the growth strategy of Pininfarina on markets of the new Silk Road and the Middle East,” added Pininfarina boss, Silvio Pietro Angori. “We are happy to contribute to the development of the Iranian automotive industry through a very significant style and engineering programme for our company.”
Pininfarina’s new partnership with IKCO, worth around £30m and planned for three years, follows hot on the heels of other recently announced design projects such as the Pininfarina Fittipaldi EF7 and the triad of cars created for China’s Hybrid Kinetic Group.
And the story doesn’t end there: The Italian design firm’s Indian parent company Mahindra is planning to launch an all-electric Pinninfarin-badged car for the U.S. and Chinese markets.
“We’re exploring right now the potential of building an electric supercar, which will be branded Pininfarina,” said Mahindra chairman Anand Mahindra in a recent interview with MarketWatch.