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Iranian Saipa enters the Venezuelan automotive market with its first delivery

The file photo shows a Saina car model made by Iranian automobile company Saipa at a car show in the capital Tehran. (Photo by IRNA)

Iran’s second-largest automaker, Saipa, has officially entered the Venezuelan auto market with the export of a first delivery of sedans.

Saipa sent a shipment of 1,000 cars to southern Iran on Sunday for export to Venezuela, according to a report by IRIB News.

At a ceremony held at the company’s headquarters in Iran’s capital Tehran, Venezuelan Transport Minister Ramón Blázquez hailed Saipa’s launch of exports as a sign of deepening economic cooperation between Iran and Venezuela, according to the report.

Blázquez said some 80,000 orders have been placed in Venezuela for Saipa cars, a statement that shows customers in the South American country are interested in the quality and affordability of models made by the Iranian company.

Images posted on the IRIB News website showed that Saipa’s first export shipment to Venezuela consisted of Saina and Quik models. Both compact sedans have become increasingly popular in Iran since their launch five years ago.

Venezuela has also awarded a contract to Saipa for the local manufacture of its new models. The deal, which was reached earlier in October, would see Saipa assemble its cars at the manufacturing facilities of Venirauto, a Venezuelan auto company where Saipa and Iran’s largest automaker IKCO hold shares.

Iran and Venezuela have established close economic and energy ties in recent years as they seek to offset the effects of US sanctions on their economies.

The two countries signed a series of key agreements to deepen their bilateral relations during a visit to Iran in June by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.