Islamic car gets ready to roll

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The world’s first "Islamic car" will be ready to roll off the showroom floors as early as 2011, the head of the Middle East's biggest carmaker and partner in the project announced on Wednesday.

“This car will be produced with the latest technology and it will measure up to all global standards when it goes into different markets in 2011,” Manouchehr Manteghi, chief executive and president of Iranian manufacturer Iran Khodro told newswire AP.

The partly state-owned company, which produced more than 525,000 cars and pick-up trucks in 2006/07, was chosen by the Organisation of The Islamic Conference (OIC) to lead the project, Manteghi said.

The car, which will carry a price tag of between 6,000 euros ($8,80) and 8,000 euros ($11,700), will include optional extras such as a compass to find the direction of Mecca and a compartment for the Koran.

That these features are not standard enables the international marketing of the automobile.

“Each Islamic country can order the additional equipment based on its own needs. In addition to Islamic countries, this car is capable of being presented in all global markets,” Manteghi said.

Iran Khodro will collaborate with Turkey and Malaysian car maker Proton on the project with Islamic investors and manufactures being solely responsible for production through the entire process.

Iran Khodro has partnerships with a range of other global carmakers, such as a joint ventures with France's Renault to make the Logan, Peugeot on its 206 and 405 models and Suzuki Motor Corporation for its Grand Vitara.

The manufacturers will target the Middle East, North Africa and south Asia predominantly, although the car will be available to the broader markets.

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