Turkey boosts vehicle exports to Israel
In 2012, Turkey exported 18,000 units to Israel in spite of the two countries experiencing less than cordial relations. The traffic is expected to continue to rise both this year and well into 2014 as manufacturers in Turkey begin assembly of new models.

In the final quarter of 2013, importers in Israel will take delivery of the new Toyota Corolla, which is currently shipped directly to the country from Japan. The 11th generation Corolla aimed at the European market will commence assembly in June at the company's Sakarya plant, producing around 100,000 units annually.

Later this year, Hyundai will begin production of its new Hyundai i10 at the Kocaeli plant in Turkey, supplying Israel directly. Previous models were exported from India.

For its part, Honda’s assembly plant in Turkey is due to come into service in 2014, producing a compact recreational car on the chassis of the Honda Jazz. This will compete directly with its Nissan Juke model built in the UK.

Finally, the Turkish-built new Renault Cleo will commence deliveries in Israel in mid-2013.

Combined the deliveries will boost Turkey's share of Israel's car market to around 15%.

Volvo to boost truck exports after Dongfeng deal
Volvo has signed a joint venture agreement with Dongfeng Motor Group in which it will pay $900m to acquire a 45% stake in a new truckmaking subsidiary called Dongfeng Commercial Vehicles (DFCV). The move includes Volvo taking a major part of Dongfeng Motor’s medium and heavy duty commercial vehicle business, which in turn will make Volvo Group the world’s largest maker of heavy duty trucks according to the company.

“This is a very exciting venture that will combine the best of two worlds, strengthening the positions of the Volvo Group and Dongfeng and offering excellent opportunities to both parties,” said Volvo’s president and CEO Olof Persson. “Combining Dongfeng’s strong domestic position and know-how with the Volvo Group’s technological expertise and global presence will offer DFCV excellent potential for growth and profitability in and outside China.”

Persson picked up the point about growth outside China in an interview with the Financial Times this week when he said Volvo could strengthen Dongfeng’s export business in markets such as Africa and Asia.

According to the FT, Volvo is hoping to build on its growth in the heavy truck sector through to the joint venture by “aggressively exporting vehicles from its Chinese joint venture partner…to other emerging markets.
The Volvo Group is the world’s third largest manufacturer of heavy-duty trucks with 180,000 units sold in 2011. Dongfeng was the second largest producer of heavy-duty trucks in 2011, with total sales of 186,000 units, of which approximately 142,000 units were produced by the part of the company that will be included in DFCV.

The transaction with DFG follows the recent agreement between DFG and Nissan Motors, in which DFG purchased the medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicle operation from the joint venture DFL (owned jointly by DFG and Nissan Motors).

Munich gathering highlights auto logistics
At last week’s Automotive Logistics Forum in Munich, Matthias Wissmann, president of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), opened proceedings by stressing that one of the reasons the German automotive companies were so successful on the international market was because they “had mastered the global complexity of production with finely tuned logistics”.

With foreign vehicle production by German companies up to 7.7m new units last year, and 5.4m cars also still built in Germany Wissmann noted that networks were becoming ever more global and more interlinked. Parts and components for a vehicle often came from different continents, and were delivered directly to the production lines by the suppliers just-in-time and frequently also just-in-sequence. "Mastering this complex system is the task of production logistics,” Wissmann explained.

The two-day event, organised by the VDA in cooperation with the German Logistics Association (BVL), attracted 500 logistics experts from the German automotive industry to discuss the challenges facing the industry.

One of those highlighted was the management of complexity and risk, which will become a core competency of the automotive supply chain, according to Wissman, but it was not just down to risk management.

"A decisive factor is now, and will be in the future, above-average willingness of all those involved to work hard, especially on the part of the logistics staff at the suppliers,” said Wissmann. “It is the suppliers who bear the main burden within the supply chain. They are therefore crucial to the overall success of a stable logistics process.”

He also pointed out that field trials with longer trucks that have now been running for a year were showing success, with a rise in the number of providers participating.

The initial experience was all-positive according to Wissmann, with participating carriers reporting savings in fuel and CO2 of up to 30%.

"The field trial has already brought about CO2 savings of several hundred tonnes,” he said. “The long truck is thus proving to be a genuine eco truck.”

Acumen boosts UK inbound fleet
UK-based transport and logistics provider Acumen Distribution has added 23 new Mercedes Benz Actros tractor units to its fleet for use on inbound automotive contracts. The units have been leased for three years on a full maintenance contract hire agreement from Riverside Truck Rental based in Widnes.

 “After rigorous testing we chose the Mercedes Benz Actros, primarily on its fuel economy but were also impressed with the innovative interior and driver comfort,” said Acumen Distribution’s managing director, Chris Doughty. “As we have taken these new vehicles on a three-year R&M operating lease, we are able to have good visibility of our costs throughout their time with the company.”

Acumen said the trucks underline the company’s continuing investment in its fleet as well as its commitment to reducing carbon emissions, adding that it now operates an extensive range of equipment including specialist car transporters, articulated vehicles and curtain sided rigids and trailers.

Mahindra double win at SCM awards
Indian carmaker Mahindra and Mahindra has recently received two awards at the second Asia Manufacturing Supply Chain Summit, which was held in Mumbai last week.

The first was in the category of Manufacturing Supply Chain Operational Excellence, for the Automobile sub-category, and the second in End-to-End Customer Solution Excellence, which includes manufacturing companies across a range of industries operating in India.

“The first award was given in recognition of the contributions of our SCM & Logistics team for successfully managing a complex environment, by supporting business growth, offering flexibility to sales and manufacturing, and significantly contributing to company’s bottom line,” said SK Krishnan, vice president of Demand Chain Management at Mahindra’s Automotive division.
The End-to-End Customer Solution Excellence Award was given in recognition of the carmakers successes in implementing EDCM and improvements in back end processes that achieved greater connectivity and responsiveness between demand capturing to demand fulfillment according to Krishnan.