In November 1996, after almost ten years of work, the production of the Peugeot 405 stopped, at the same time as its sale… in Europe. Indeed, a second career begins for the Peugeot family. First in Egypt, then Argentina and Poland. But it is in Iran that the indestructible 405 will know great success, which is still in progress. Did you know that in 2022, the Peugeot 405 was still the third best-selling Peugeot in the world?
06:05 | updated at 17:04
We are in April 1996. After the disappearance of the STI, STDT, Mi16 and T16, the previous year, and the launch of the Peugeot 406 a few months earlier, the production of the Peugeot 405 sedan ends at the Sochaux plant.
A few months later, in November 1996, it would be the turn of the last wagons to leave the chain. The Peugeot 405 is coming to an end after a milestone of 2,490,963 units (including 373,986 station wagons) produced between 1987 and 1996. End of story? Not true.
Second job abroad
While the 405 was already produced in Egypt, Peugeot exported its production to Argentina until 2001, to Poland, where 3,802 units were sold in 1995, and also to Iran. In 1990, Peugeot entered into a cooperation agreement with Iran Khodro (IKCO).
The goal was to produce a Peugeot 405 with a 1,905 cc carburetor engine, a version sold in Europe until 1992 with the arrival of new anti-pollution standards. At that time, the PSA group had great ambitions in Iran, not suspecting what was to come. Between Iran and France, it is a long story of cars.
France and Iran, a long history of cars.
Citroën was also the first manufacturer in the 1960s to take an interest in this oil-rich country, producing the “Jyane” there until the early 1980s. In 1979, two revolutions took place. The first, political, sees an Islamic revolution taking power and ousting the shah, who has become unpopular.
The second sees PSA buying Chrysler Europe (and thus eventually Hillman-Rootes, the local automaker). This is how Peugeot finds itself associated with Iran when no real culture of industrial exchange existed until then.
A few years later, Peugeot introduced the reliable 405, a model that was easy to repair and maintain. It is still produced today.
In the case of Renault, we follow this example by producing and distributing in the land of the Shah, its best seller Renault 5. In the early 2000s, the Peugeot 206 joined the 405 in the domestic list. We even set up an assembly line for Xantia.
The French are the kings of the Iranian market, everything is fine in an ideal world and yet this beautiful machine is going to jam, and a big grain of sand called GM. In 2012, General Motors plans to marry PSA.
The Americans are forcing a freeze on exports to Iran as a condition of any capitalist alliance. The PSA abruptly interrupts its presentation.
At the beginning of 2012, PSA abruptly stopped its presentation. The Vesoul factory, from which crates of parts flown to Iran leave every day, finds itself in slow motion. The vehicles were shipped CKD, and assembled on site for partner Iran Khodro.
Since then, international sanctions have taken over, Peugeot no longer sells cars directly in Iran. But his models live, and Chinese parts.
Iranians want Peugeot
After fifteen years of good work in Iran, the diagnosis is simple. Peugeot 405 produced by IKCO has become the new car of Iranian people. The first version, released until 2002, produced a restyled version, named Peugeot Pars.
In 2012, when PSA left the country, under duress and coercion, it was out of the question for Peugeot’s Iranian partners to abandon their best seller.
Peugeot will stop offering parts? In a few weeks, they are replaced by parts of Chinese origin. Not only does Peugeot no longer make a penny in Iran, but its models, the 405 and 206, continue to be produced there, with poor quality parts.
The return is expensive
It will be necessary to wait until the summer of 2016 for PSA to return to Iran, by signing a new joint venture agreement with its partner Iran Khodro, following the removal of international sanctions. 50/50 contract with an investment of 400 million euros.
Peugeot returns with the 208, 2008 and 301, with modern engines and all the equipment that the average Iranian should benefit from. The 405 and 206 are rebuilt with original PSA parts.
Iranians felt betrayed by Iran’s CEO Khodro, Hashem Yekkeh-Zare launched a major negotiation and got 427 million euros in bonuses, debt forgiveness, and rebates to compensate for PSA’s sudden exit. In addition to the abysmal deficit for five years, the return costs half a billion euros, at least.
405 they never die
“PSA is doing well today, but at that time we were about to perform.” a close friend of the file told us at the time. “PSA was content to send boxes of parts from Vesoul to Tehran. No need to invest in a factory, hire people, etc.
400,000 cases were very profitable. The scope of these CKD represented, at the edge, the equivalent of one million cars sold in Europe. When such an annuity ceases immediately, it destroys.
Multiply those million “normal” cars by five years of absence, add half a billion euros back, then 400 million euros of investment.” But for Peugeot, the arrival of new international sanctions will surely turn Iran into a nightmare. Peugeot is leaving the country without a doubt , but the 405 remains!
He continues to break records
A few years after Peugeot left, the 405 and 206 are still produced in Iran. Since the departure of Peugeot, the sedan has even been rejected in the pick-up, under the name of Iran Khodro Arisun. Other models, developed on the French platform, have come to strengthen the range, including the IKCO Dena.
But above all, the original 405 is still generated on the site. Last year, Peugeot 405 Pars sold 164,800 units, up 22%. This is more than the total production of the Peugeot 3008, which sold 155,400 units last year worldwide.
Produced by Peugeot or not, the 405 remains the third best-selling Peugeot in the world in 2022. For the past few years, it has also been produced in Azerbaijan, in Azermash. The 405 is not ready for retirement.