Mahindra exports global platform SUV
Indian carmaker Mahindra & Mahindra has said it will export its new XUV500 SUV to South Africa at the same time that domestic sales begin in December this year, with further plans for export to Western Europe, Latin America, Southeast Asia and Australia.
The car, which is the company’s first global offering, will be manufactured at Mahindra’s facility at Chakan in Maharashtra and will be distributed via the sales network of South Korean carmaker Ssangyong, which is owned by Mahindra.
Mahindra will also start selling Ssangyong SUVs in South Africa according to the company.
Mahindra, which already sells its SUVs such as the Scorpio and Bolero overseas, previously announced plans to sell a compact diesel pickup based on the Scorpio platform in the US. However, a long running legal dispute with its US distributor Global Vehicles USA has grounded those plans (read more here).
Saab signs China distribution deal, files for bankruptcy
Chinese vehicle distributor Pang Da has announced that its subsidiary, Zhongji Leye Auto Sales, will distribute Saab vehicles and parts in mainland China. The company will take over responsibility for import and distribution from GM’s joint venture with SAIC Motor – Shanghai General Motors Company.
The exclusive ‘general agency agreement’, which was signed last week with Saab Automobile and Saab Automobile Parts AB, is part of a wider contract between the troubled Swedish carmaker and its Chinese distributor, which includes a 50-50 distribution joint venture for Saab-branded vehicles in China.
Under the latest agreement Zhongji Leye Auto Sales, which is based in Beijing, will be responsible for organising and maintaining a network consisting of service centres in the region for Saab vehicles, parts, auxiliaries and derivatives.
Pang Da is China’s largest publicly traded vehicle distributor with more than 1,100 dealerships across the country and is paying €30m ($42m) for the purchase of Saab vehicles. An additional €15m will be handed over for further purchases.
This week Saab Automobile filed for bankruptcy protection with the Swedish district court in Vänersborg to secure short-term stability pending the inflow of the equity contributions of Pang Da and Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile.
Zhejiang agreed in June to pay €136m, or $191m, for a 29.9% stake in Swedish Automobile. Pang Da said in May that it would pay €109m for 24% of Swedish Automobile.
Volvo Trucks negotiates Russian import tariffs
Volvo Truck is in negotiations with the Russian Industry Ministry to sign a component producer assembly deal that could cut its import tariffs on truck parts to between 0-5%, against the current rate for foreign truck producers of 10-12%.
Volvo Truck has an assembly facility in Kaluga, 200km south west of Moscow, which produces trucks for Russia and the neighbouring CIS market. The facility has a capacity of 10,000 Volvo and 5,000 Renault trucks.
However, pending the signature of the Industrial Assembly Regime Agreement (Act:566), as component producer the company plans to make a €150m investment in order to increase its production capacity to 25,000.
The Kaluga facility, which replaced Volvo’s previous 500-capacity CKD operation in Zelenograd outside Moscow, opened in 2009 to combat the increase in Russian custom duties brought in that year. Depending on the type of truck, the custom duty is now between 5 and 25% on imports of finished trucks.
Volvo truck deliveries to the Russian market rose a full 178% year-on-year in July.
In 2010 sales of locally-assembled foreign brand commercial vehicles increased by 190% over 2009 figures, increasing market share to 6%.
Suzuki signs contract with Ceva
Suzuki has selected Ceva Logistics for a three-year, €7.9m ($11.2m) contract to manage its UK distribution of aftermarket vehicle and marine parts, involving the delivery of more than 2m parts per year.
Ceva has been providing distribution services in the UK for the Japanese manufacturer since 1994 but in April this year it started a new operation where deliveries are now completed through the company’s specialist automotive network.
Delivery via the network reduces Suzuki’s annual carbon footprint by approximately 13% through improved vehicle usage according to Ceva. 
Wayne Dye, Suzuki’s general manager, Parts and Accessories, said: “During our long standing relationship with Ceva our partnership has evolved in many ways, including the introduction of double deck trailers and sophisticated IT systems.  By working with Ceva and its other automotive customers we are joining an established automotive network which will improve cost efficiency and deliver higher service levels for our dealerships.”
As part of the service Ceva said it will use its In Cab Asset Management track and trace system, which monitors all transactions and the movement of roll cages, including all returns and reverse logistics, allowing real time visibility. Dealers will be provided with a web-based system to handle enquiries, dealer warranty and returns tracking.
Earlier this year, the logistics provider invested in a new vehicle fleet of 56 vehicles and 11 double-deck trailers to support continued growth in its UK shared user automotive network.