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Tehran: Iran elan

New national car goes on sale

If you see a bright new model on the streets of Tehran these days, it could be Iran's new national car, the X7.

The X7 - built by Iran Khodro - was to reach Iranian showrooms this month. Priced at $9,000, the X7 comes in six models. When the car was unveiled in June at the Tehran auto fair, it was described as a cross between an Audi and an Opel Vectra.

Iran Khodro, founded in 1962, is Iran's largest carmaker, producing 65 percent to 70 percent of domestic vehicles in that country. The government partly owns the company. Iran Khodro collaborated with PSA/Peugeot-Citroen SA on the X7's design and 1.8-liter engine.

Production will be 40,000 units annually, although the government says that number will rise to 70,000 units by 2002 and 100,000 by 2005. Iran has 3.7 million requested vehicles.

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