By Namrita Chow, Asia correspondent
In the second half of this year all cars sold in Israel are expected to be eligible for sale in Europe as the two regions reach a car homologation agreement, according to the Israeli distributor, David Lubinski Group. The move is expected to open the door for easier exports of vehicles from Israel into Europe and could include vehicles produced in China by Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. (SAIC), though the distributor has ruled out the direct forwarding of vehicles from its business in Israel at this stage.
In third quarter of 2010, Lubinski imported 360 MG Roewe 550 vehicles made in China into Israel following authorisation by the country’s Ministry of Transport, but the bulk of the imports will begin this year, the dealer told Automotive Logistics News. Lubinski currently also imports and sells Peugeot and Citroën cars across Israel.
“Right now we are concentrating on the Israeli market,” said Dori Manor, CEO of the David Lubinski Group. “As to the future, we hope that sometime in the future we will import SAIC automobiles to Europe [but] in that case, the import will be directly to Europe and not through Israel.”
“At the moment we have inaugurated the first dealership of MG in Tel-Aviv. We are looking forward to opening more dealerships in other big cities in Israel,” he said, adding that the MG 550 has been priced slightly lower than competitors. “Though the car is not cheap, this pricing advantage ensures a good market penetration,” said Manor.
As well as Peugeot and Citroën imports, the company handles brands such as Polaris, KTM and PGO, according to Michal Manor-Topaz, spokesperson for the company, but the MG 550 is the first Chinese-made car to be imported by Lubinski Group. The MG 500 was chosen as the car meets homologation requirements to be sold in Israel.
“After a long process in which we examined several Chinese manufacturers, we have decided that SAIC is with no doubt the most suitable for manufacturing top quality cars,’ added Manor.