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Fiat or Chrysler to produce in Iran?

by Bill Cawthon on

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani started his first European tour with a trip to Italy, where he met with Italian President Sergio Mattarelli at a ceremonial dinner which included Sergio Marchionne and other business leaders.


One of Mr. Rouhani’s goals is reportedly to set up partnerships with European automakers, while Mr. Marchionne said there will be  opportunities to build light commercial vehicles in Iran.

Italy was Iran’s major European trading partner until 2012, when international sanctions took hold (Mr. Rouhani took office in 2013). Fiat had tried, unsuccessfully, to set up a deal in 2005.

Chrysler, through Rootes Group, made the first successful locally-built car in Iran starting in 1967. The car, dubbed Paykan, was made through 2005, with 2.3 million sold. Most likely, the current deal would involve Fiat pickups and vans, most likely using relatively inexpensive Brazilian designs.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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