The Paykan (Persian: پيکان Arrow) was an automobile produced by the Iranian company Iran Khodro (formerly called "Iran National") Industrial Group. The car was very popular in Iran from the late 1960s to the late '90s. It is often referred as the Iranian "chariot".
The design was introduced to Iran by Mahmoud Khayami, co-founder and, by then, owner of the Iran Khodro (formerly called "Iran National") company and factory, who accurately predicted that Iran was in need of a simple "no-frills" automobile within the price range of ordinary people.
In 1967, Rootes began exporting Hunters to Iran Khodro in "complete knock down" (CKD) kit form, for assembly in Iran. By the mid-1970s, full-scale manufacture of the car, less the engine, had started in Iran.
In 1978, Peugeot took over the Rootes company after it collapsed under the ownership of Chrysler Europe; a year later Peugeot ended Hunter production. Thereafter, the Paykan's engine production tooling was moved to Iran and was in full-scale manufacture under Peugeot license until 2005.
Although Paykan was based on an old 1966 model, there were many changes and modifications made to it over the years, notably the substitution of the original 1725 cc Rootes engine for a Peugeot 504-derived unit. The modifications to the exterior included a new stock body kit and head and tail lights.
The Iranian government reportedly offered Iran Khodro a large cash incentive to end Paykan production by 2005, labeling the car as an environmental hazard because of its unacceptably high fuel consumption. During its last years, the order backlog was nearly two years long.
The Samand, commonly referred to as the "New Paykan", is currently being produced by Iran Khodro as a modern substitute for the Paykan class of cars. In 2005, Iran Khodro announced that it had sold the discontinued Paykan's automobile production line to the Khartoum Transportation Company in Sudan, while auto-parts production for the Paykan still continues by third party manufacturers in Iran.
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