More than 20 thousand cars stuck at customs

The Iranian auto market is passing one its worst periods. Not only productions are under threat due to the return of US sanctions on auto-part manufacturers, but also imported cars struggle to be delivered to clients.

Latest changes in currency policies and trade regulations by the government lead to a vast confusion among importers of several goods, including car importers. Currently more than 20 thousand cars are stuck at various Iranian customs for months.

These vehicles were imported after contracts had been signed with customers, meaning that they are already sold. Naturally, this meant that importers could not satisfy their obligations towards customers. This has added to the turmoil in automotive market and has led to confusion among buyers.

Currently there are three groups of vehicles detained in customs. In addition, thousands of vehicles are awaiting shipping to Iran via the UAE and other countries. Importers also claim that these vehicles have already been paid for and thus refusing to clear them in customs would lead to a massive loss of capital.

The first group of detained vehicles, approximately 4 thousand vehicles, have been stopped due to importers not having paid the currency difference. The problem is that the orders for these vehicles were placed based on the governmental currency exchange rate. Importers were then told that prices would be set based on the free market exchange rate and thus, importers must pay the difference in order to clear these vehicles.

The second group of about 10 thousand vehicles are those that were imported prior to registering orders. Usually importers first import their vehicles and then once the cars are in customs, register their orders. This time however, after the vehicles reached customs, the registration system at the Ministry of Industry was shut down, effectively banning these cars from entering Iranian markets.

The third group, which are about 6500 cars, are those which were imported during import bans or had other violations.

Donya-e-Eqtesad quotes the President of the Trade Promotion Organization and Deputy Minister of Industries, Mining, and Trades; Mojtaba Khosrotaj as saying his organization is conducting studies to find solutions for the clearance of vehicles stopped in customs. However, it is not yet transparent what might the solutions be.

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