The first 300 units of the so called anti imperialist automobile, jointly produced by Venezuela and Iran were delivered this week in Caracas to recent graduates of the Venezuelan Military Academy.
The factory, located west of Caracas in Maracay, will produce some 25,000 cars per year using Iranian technology. The two countries are also making tractors and farm equipment for the Venezuelan market with the intention of eventually transferring 100% of the production to Venezuela. Venezuelan Defense Minister Raul Isaias Baduel, together with Iranian Ambassador Abdolah Zifan, headed the ceremony at the Caracas military base Fuerte Tiuna. "This accomplishment is a tangible example of what cooperation between brother nations, like Venezuela and Iran, can achieve," said Minister Baduel. The company Venirauto, which is 51% Iranian and 49% Venezuelan, is producing two different models. The first model, the Turpial at a price of US$7,906, is a 4-door sedan based on the old Kia Pride model. The second is the Centauro, at a price of US$11,069 and is based on the Peugeot 405 given that the French firm is the main supplier of engines and technology to the Iranian company. Both models are exempt from Venezuela's VAT (Value-added tax), due to a government program to subsidize cars that include Venezuelan production. The goal is to eventually produce 100% of the cars in Venezuela. According to the director of Venirauto, Abdollah Zoghi, the cars will be made of 35% Venezuelan production in the next 3 years and this will eventually reach 92% on the following five years. For Iranian ambassador Abdolah Zifan, the joint venture represents "an answer to the negative campaigns against usÃÂ¢€Ã‚Â¦We hope the production of this factory gets out to the whole nation and we hope to see the completion of other projects between the two countries". Another joint Iran/Venezuela project is producing about 20 tractors daily, according to the director of the joint company Veniran Tractor, Noel Zakur. The joint company Veniran opened just over 2 years ago and hopes to be producing tractors with 70% Venezuelan production in the next 3 years. Currently, Venezuelan production makes up only 18% of the Iranian tractors. By 2010 the goal is to produce 100% of the tractor inside Venezuela.