The term “National Car” was first coined in the early 1970s in official Iranian organizations including the Islamic Consultative Assembly, the Ministry of Industry, and the Industrial Development and Renovation Organization of Iran. The National Car Project was a successful and relatively inexpensive project supported by Gholamhossein Karbaschi, Tehran’s Mayor, and Mohammad Hadi Nejad Hosseinian, Minister of Industry of the time. In this project, the complete methods and process of manufacturing a car were researched and proved that there is a potential for designing and manufacturing a car in Iran.
The prototypes of this car, designed and built on a trial basis based on the chassis of the Chevrolet Royal car in the Pars Khodro complex, were repeatedly exhibited in car shows at the permanent location of Tehran International Exhibitions between 1993 and 1966. Finally, after political conflicts and the destruction of the design team, personnel, documents and samples were transferred to Zamyad Company. Finally, by transferring documents to Iran Khodro Industrial Group inspired by this project and possibly using the first research findings of the center’s engineers, the National Car project officially started which eventually led to the design and production of “SAMAND” as the first Iranian car brand; a mere Copy from foreign cars assembled in Iran.
Speaking of copying, we immediately remember China and its factories! In most industries, the Chinese are very interested in copying and inspired by successful global products.
From copying from Huawei and Apple mobile phones to automobile industry where the Chinese are world famous for copying! However, the owners of the automobile industry in Iran have proved that copying is not exclusive to the Chinese and that they have the EXPERTISE as well!
Our domestic carmakers, with all their Controversies, are sometimes very interested in being inspired by foreign cars. Although copying in the design of Iranian cars is not as tangible as Chinese products, but the similarities are undeniable; it should be said that the national car design team, at least in the stages of its creation, had a glimpse of foreign patterns at best.
When Samand was introduced as a national car, many officials of the time praised it enthusiastically and considered it a national honor and celebrated the achievement. However, the importance of this car in the contemporary history of Iran’s automobile industry is obvious to everybody, it was Samand who made Iranian automobile a national brand for the very first time. However, insisting on the nationality of a car in the 21st century, the age of communication, seems futile and unrealistic. It is specifically true about a car that uses the “Peugeot 405” engine at the beginning of its presence in the market! However, it was not long before it became clear that Iran Khodro had bought Samand design from a British company.
The platform, gearbox and engine also belonged to Peugeot. Perhaps Samand, being a national car, carried ONLY an Iranian name. Of course, we do not deny the efforts of Iran Khodro’s R&D unit in finalizing the Samand project, but the design of Samand, which seemed to be the only independent feature in the formation of this car, was later determined by further investigation that it is done by copying from another car!
Exterior design of Samand is a combination of several famous cars. The most important similarities can be found between Samand and the fifth generation “Volkswagen Passat”.
Maybe you never thought that Samand would look like a German car! The most similarity is in the front view. The design style of Samand’s headlights and windshield is a relative impression of the Passat. The air intake panel at the bottom of the bumper, the location of the fog lamps and the black string that do not match the color of the body are also modeled exactly after the Passat. Even the lower flap of the Samand bumper, like the Passat B5, is black, although in the newer models of the Samand, this part came in the same color as the body. The side strings and rear bumper of the Samand still remain the same and even the side mirrors are are a copy from that of Passat’s.
But this is not the whole story! The creative design team inspired by “Honda Civic” model 2000 for designing the rear view of Samand! And finally, the national car Enters the market.
To make the story short, when many Asian countries, such as Korea and China and many others looked with regret at the assembly lines of Iranian car factories, and we were overwhelmed with pride, they sought to build their own national car, and now, after more than 50 years, instead of pride, there is regret in our eyes and pride in theirs.
Yes! The country’s automobile industry is in a state of turmoil while it was supposed to have a private and national brand in a 20-year plan, but …!