Saab looks for import partners in South America
Saab is seeking long-term partners for import and distribution in Mexico, Brazil and Argentina as it pursues a major expansion in South America as part of international restructuring following its division from GM and new ownership by Spyker.
The importers, which will be chosen over the next three months based on experience of the automotive industry in South America, will be required to handle the import and distribution of the 9-3, 9-5 sedan, 9-4X crossover and 9-5 wagon vehicles, as well as parts and components. Companies will also be chosen for their ability to handle national retail network activities and marketing support.
Saab has asked US consultancy firm API to evaluate potential candidates and according to API’s founder Matthias Seidl that process is already underway.
“What we’re looking for at this point are importers/distributors in each market and whoever is the most suitable and committed will be a potential partner,” said Seidl. “The responsibility of that distributor in turn will be to choose the dealers and to set up a network for Saab in the particular country.”
Seidl has 20 years previous experience working with VW and Audi in the Americas and will be drawing on that knowledge in an evaluation process agreed with Saab.
He told Automotive Logistics News that the selection and evaluation of companies should be completed by the end of September this year with a final decision on which companies will work with Saab to be made in the course of October or November.
VW joint venture in Malaysia
Volkswagen is to join forces with DRB-Hicom, one of Malaysia's largest car distributors and importers, to assemble and manufacture cars in the country, following an agreement signed last Friday.
DRB-Hicom will produce Volkswagen vehicles at its Pekan manufacturing facility in central Pahang state from the end of 2012.
“We will continue to expand our commitment in South East Asia in the context of our Strategy 2018 growth programme,” a VW spokesperson told Automotive Logistics News. “To strengthen the existing sales activities and the market presence of Volkswagen in Malaysia, a "memorandum of understanding" to investigate the local vehicle production was signed on Friday with the partner company DRB-Hicom.”
Renault imports sedan in the face of protest
Renault is planning to augment its mid-size car offering with South Korean imports including a version of the Samsung SM5 sedan to be unveiled next week which is being assembled at its Korean plant in Busan and is its only luxury model entirely built outside of France.
The decision is likely to face opposition from workers in France as well as meet resistance from the French government, which is putting pressure on the carmaker to build vehicles and source parts locally. The French government owns 15% of Renault and appoints two members to its board.
Renault is struggling to maintain market share in the upper segment as consumers favour sedan models from Volkswagen and GM.
Demand in India catches suppliers unaware
Carmakers in India are being forced to curtail production despite a 30% growth in car sales because of parts shortages to their plants from suppliers that have failed to anticipate the surge in demand.
As reported by Bloomberg, Suzuki and Hyundai have had to introduce waiting lists on certain models because of a shortage of batteries, engine castings and other parts, while Tata has been forced to import tyres from China after local component suppliers came up short. The situation is likely to continue for the next three to four months according to the Society of Indian Automotive Manufacturers.
Mahindra made 12% fewer vehicles than it wanted to in the quarter ended June because of the parts shortage, while Maruti Suzuki India has waiting lists of as much as a month for its Swift and Dzire models. The company has asked suppliers to boost investments after facing shortages of bumpers, tyres and batteries.