PARIS, April 5 (Reuters) - PSA Peugeot Citroen’s production of vehicle kits to ship for assembly in Iran will remain halted for at least five months, a union official said on Thursday.
“Management informed us that the car kits activity for Iran will remain suspended at least until September,” said Bruno Lemerle, a CGT union representative at the French automaker.
Lemerle was speaking on the sidelines of a meeting with Peugeot management on the impact of the French automaker’s new alliance with General Motors, the world’s largest carmaker.
Peugeot has denied caving in to U.S. pressure over Iran, after Detroit-based GM said last month it had discussed alliance sales during tie-up talks and received assurances from its French partner that they were not about to resume.
Peugeot stopped shipping vehicles to Iran in “knocked-down” kit form earlier this year, after international sanctions barring transactions with the country’s banking system made it difficult to obtain sales financing.
Exports to Iran accounted for some 13 percent of the group’s global deliveries last year but only about 2 percent of its automotive revenue.
Iran was the Peugeot brand’s second-biggest market in 2011 by volume.
The decision to end Iran sales had been taken independently and was not influenced by GM or other U.S. interests, a Peugeot spokesman said on March 29.
GM holds a 7 percent stake in Peugeot since a 1 billion euro ($1.3 billion) capital increase by the Paris-based car maker which ended last week, cementing their broad-based alliance plan announced on Feb. 29.