Scania is planning to resume assembly operations and distribution at its Iskandariyah plant in Iraq following the signing of an agreement with the country’s government.
The Memorandum of Understanding includes an initial delivery of 500 vehicles, including trucks and buses, with production starting in the third quarter of 2009. However, the facility is being designed for annual production of 3,000 vehicles according to Klas Dahlberg, Vice President in charge of Scania sales in the Middle East.
The plant will receive knocked-down kits for assembly, shipped from the Swedish truckmaker’s European and South American production units.
The Iskandariyah factory, close to Baghdad, was established in 1973 to make trucks and truck tractors, and was initially operated by French semi-trailer maker Savim. Scania took over and the plant and capacity was pegged at 2,500 units a year.
In the early 1980s Iraq was a large market for Scania. It made 3,900 trucks there in 1981. Many of those trucks are still in service reports the company.
Current production at the factory is 100 units per year but after being rebuilt, this will be boosted to 2,000 units.
Elsewhere in the Middle East Scania's new facility in Dubai in UAE is nearing completion. It will be operational by the first quarter of 2009 and will handle complete body building and the equipping of complete vehicles. Chassis will be shipped to Dubai from Scania’s plants in Europe and South America while the bodies will be supplied by local manufacturers.
“The [final] distribution of Scania units to the region will probably be done by us, as there is a limited service from the local established providers,” said company spokesman Hans-Åke Danielsson.