Code: 495203 A

Head of the Iranian Automobile Importers Association has called on the government to revise its definition of “luxury cars,” stating that “engine size” is not an appropriate token for classifying a car as luxurious.

According to law, all cars with engines larger than 2.5 liter fall in the luxury class whose imports have been banned for years.

The ban was introduced to curb spending scarce hard currency on importing unwanted luxury for a selected few, reduce fuel consumption and help tackle the air pollution crisis afflicting most metropolises.

“The definition of luxury cars is misplaced and wrong, however policymakers still insist on their own outlook. This is while no  country cites technical specifications as criteria for labeling goods as luxury,” Farhad Ehteshamzadeh was quoted by IRNA as saying.

He said the measures taken by the government to define a good as “luxury” are incorrect, and it needs to be revised, hoping the change would help restart import of expensive cars over and above 2.5 liter.

“We have presented suggestions to the government, and are looking forward to a logical response.”

In recent months, a 1600cc unnamed car entered the country through preferential tariffs, while it was considered as luxury in other countries.

The official did not name the model but, the car should likely be a Lexus or Toyota hybrid as these are included within the much lower 5% import tariff bracket, while also in certain cases considered as a luxury car.

There are several cars with smaller engines that also fall in the category of luxury cars but are unaffected by the Iranian government ban that only invokes engine size.As an example, most BMW models, including the i8 and several Porsches that are imported are indeed luxury cars, but they face no hassles because of engines smaller than 2.5 liter.

Ehteshamzadeh recalled that under the current law that he sees as controversial, cars with 2000 cc engine size worth more than $200,000 are allowed to enter the country, while the international benchmark for deciding a car as luxury is if it costs more than $100,000.

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