It seems old Peugeots never die, they just get made in Azerbaijan.
Late last year it was announced that Iran Khodro Industrial Group would cease the manufacturing of the Peugeot 405 in Iran, ending a 26-year lifespan of a car that had not been built in its native France since 1997.
But if 33 years isn’t long enough for the 1988 European Car of the Year to remain in production, the tooling and licence have been sold to the Azerbaijani industrial consortium, Azermash Khazar.
To keep things fresh, the 405 has been renamed the Peugeot Khazar 406, which is not to be confused with the actual Peugeot 406 which replaced the 405 in Europe between 1995 and 2004.
That said, the nose of the Azermash Peugeot has been tweaked to look more like the 406, with wider headlamps and a two-slot grille. There’s a choice of a 74kW 1.8-litre petrol engine or a 78kW turbo diesel, both driving the front wheels via an automatic transmission.
Keyless entry, power windows, climate control and dual airbags are standard, the car costing the equivalent of €9250, or around A$15k.
The goal is to ramp up to around 10,000 units per year, with cars being exported to other nearby Republics – and, ironically, back to Iran.
The 'new' 405/406 is built alongside the Azerbaijani-local Khazar SD, a rebadged version of the Iranian IKCO Dena which itself was developed from a modified Peugeot 405 platform.
The Republic of Azerbaijan is a former Soviet Republic which borders Russia, Georgia, Armenia and Iran on the Caspian Sea. The capital city, Baku, has hosted a Formula 1 street-circuit round since 2016 and will again in 2021.
Azerbaijan might be the most recent flag flown over 405 production, but it joins eleven other countries to have had the privilege. After France and England in 1987 came Zimbabwe, Taiwan, Chile, Indonesia, Malaysia, Argentina, Egypt, Iran and Poland.
Some five million 405 Pugs have been produced since launch, making it one of the most successful French cars ever. The seemingly immortal sedan was paired with a five-door wagon (the Iranians developed a pickup version but that's a story for another day) and was offered with both a front and all-wheel drive drivetrain.
The 405 was sold in Australia between 1989 and 1997. Although never offered as a road-going version, the 405 spawned the iconic 405-T16 coupe-format Rallye-Raid racer, which competed in Paris-Dakar rallies (it won in 1989 and 1990) as well as featuring in the brilliant Climb Dance film, racing up Pikes Peak in the USA.
And yes, after writing this I’m now trolling classifieds to try and find one (Mi16 or bust).
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