Iran Khodro Turns to Turkey as Proton Quits `Muslim Car' Venture
Bloomberg / Ladane Nasseri

Iran Khodro, the country’s largest carmaker, plans to discuss joint venture plans with Turkey after Malaysia pulled out of a project to build a car focused on Islamic buyers.

“An economic and industrial delegation will come within two weeks to Iran to start initial negotiations,” Mir Javad Soleimani, the company’s deputy chief executive officer for quality and product development, said in an interview today. “If we reach an understanding we will begin producing an Islamic car.”

The possibility for cooperation was brought up by Turkey’s industry minister during a recent visit by Iran’s first vice- president, said Soleimani.

The new automobile “will be a brand specifically for Muslim states,” he said. “We will target their markets.” He did not name the Turkish automobile company considering the project and declined to say how much investment was needed as talks are underway.

Iran is part of the Developing Eight (D-8), a group of emerging countries with large Muslim populations that have formed an economic alliance.

The Persian Gulf state initially sought to pursue a similar plan with Proton Holdings Bhd., Malaysia’s state-controlled carmaker.

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