RENNES, France -- Renault wants to return to the key Iranian market as soon as the political situation eases but has little visibility when that will happen.
Renault was forced to halt shipments of knockdown kits to Iran on July 1 when the U.S. government extended economic sanctions over the country's nuclear program to the automobile sector.
Renault was one of the last large European companies still active in Iran and its withdrawal from the country is a blow for the automaker.
With a volume of 100,783 vehicles sold in the country last year, Iran was Renault's eighth-biggest global market by sales, above No.9 Italy where Renault sold 96,144 units and Spain where it sold 83,366 cars. The automaker had a 10 percent market share in Iran in 2012.
Renault builds the Logan and Megane in Iran with Tehran-based partners Iran Khodro and Paris Khodro.
A Renault spokesperson told Automotive News Europe that the automaker is waiting for the sanctions to be lifted or for the political situation to change before it begins shipping CKDs to Iran again, but said the company has little visibility when that will be.
Production of Renault vehicles in Iran will wind down when the kits already shipped to the country run out in the coming weeks. The production infrastructure in Iran used to build Renault cars will remain in place indefinitely, the spokesperson said.
On July 26, Renault was forced to write off the entire value of its Iran operations because of the sanctions, leading to a 512 million euro charge against its second-quarter earnings.
Renault's shipments of kits to Iran fell 48 percent to 28,082 units during the first half.