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Iran Khodro launches biggest overseas car assembly line in Syria


TEHRAN, May 8 (Mehr News Agency) - Iranian major carmaker Iran Khodro Company (IKCO) inaugurated the second phase of the Samand sedan assembly line in Syria on Thursday. This new factory makes up the company's largest overseas car production plant.

Syrian's Prime Minister Muhammad Naji Al-Utri, Industries Minister Fouad Issa Aljouni, Iran's Ambassador to Syria Ahmad Mousavi, Iran Khodro's Managing Director Javad Najmeddin, and Iran's Deputy Housing and Urban Development Minister Mousa Barzegari attended the inaugural ceremony, reported the Mehr News Agency.

The project cost some $40 million including the body and engine assembly lines as well as the painting unit.

IKCO, the Middle East's largest automaker, launched the first phase of the Samand assembly line in Damascus in 2007.

The plant has the production capacity of about 10,000 cars per annum that could be increased to 30,000 cars by tripling the working shifts.

The company plans to increase its production to one million vehicles a year. It is anticipated that 800,000 cars will be produced at domestic plants and the remaining will be produced at sites outside Iran.

IKCO's new models -- including the private passenger sedan Samand, the wheelchair-accessible Samand, the R90, a second generation LNG-powered 7-seat van, and the dual-fuel Peugeot sedan 407 -- were unveiled at a recent international auto exhibition in northern Iran and will soon be made available to consumers.

Iran Khodro has so far produced three national cars named Samand, Miniator, and Runna, the latest was unveiled in April.

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