Geely’s Emgrand X7 SUV set to enter Saudi market

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Updated 18 April 2013
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Geely’s Emgrand X7 SUV set to enter Saudi market

Haji Husein Alireza & Co. Ltd. is gearing up to launch Chinese auto manufacturer Geely’s first SUV Emgrand X7 model into the Saudi market in June.
Husam Al-Hanbali, general manager — sales and marketing at Haji Husein Alireza & Co., while visiting the Geely’s Chengdu SUV assembly plant with the media group from Saudi Arabia, told Arab News that Geely’s line of new models are very popular in Saudi Arabia.
“After the successful Emgrand X7’s launch in China last year, it is coming to Saudi Arabia for the first time,” Al-Hanbali said.
He said four Geely models — LC Panda, GX2, EC7 and EC8 — have already been launched in Saudi Arabia since September 2011.
“We launched Geely cars into the Saudi market when prices of other Japanese cars were very high. We provided right products with equivalent Japanese technology at the right time,” he added.
He said sales of Geely vehicles were very satisfactory in the first year after their launch.
Al-Hanbali said Haji Husein Alireza & Co., the sole distributor of Geely vehicles across the Kingdom, sold 13,000 Geely vehicles in Saudi Arabia and took the market share of 1.7 percent in 2012.
“Our expectations are high this year after the launch of Emgrand X7 SUV model in June. We are targeting to sell 18,000 vehicles this year in the Saudi market and take the market share of over two percent,” he added.
“Last year it ranked No. 8 among car distributors in Saudi Arabia, but this year our aim is to rank No. 7,” he stressed.
“Our distribution network is excellent in the Kingdom,” he said.
“We have 20 branches throughout the Kingdom and our aim is to open four more branches in Jeddah, Taif, Hofuf and Jubail,” he added.
Haijing Hou, group vice president of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group. Co. Ltd. and general manager of Geely’s Chengdu SUV assembly plant, said the production capacity at present is about 80,000 units at this plant annually because it is working in one shift.
But Hou, who joined the company last April, said: “We will launch another night shift soon, so the production capacity will double to 160,000 units per year. So from present 250 cars per day, the production will increase to 500 cars daily.”
“Because of huge demand in China, we sell about 85 percent of our vehicles in the domestic market and 15 percent overseas,” Hou added.
But he said: “We are aiming for half and half. So we will sell half of vehicles in the domestic market and half overseas in future.”
Earlier, Leon Chang, project manager at Geely International Corporation, gave a briefing to visiting Saudi delegation about the Geely Chengdu plant, which is located in the economic and technological development zone in east Chengdu, Sichuan Province.
He said the plant was registered in October 2007 with capital of 50 million yuan.
The first stage construction started in February 2009 and completed in the same year at the same time, the plant successfully started producing Geely’s first SUV model.
Chang said at present the plant had built up automobile production lines that composed of four automobile manufacturing processes which are pressing, welding, painting and assembling and a wide range of supporting facilities.
The first SUV model GX7 was launched at Beijing auto show in April 2012.
GX7 was designed by the globally renowned car designer Giorgetto Giugiaro.
He said, in July 2012, Geely Chengdu plant was granted the title of “Safety Culture Construction Model enterprise” by Chengdu government.
It was also awarded as the “Innovative Enterprise” in the 18th Chinese machinery manufacturing industry management modernization competition.


Iran sanctions shadow falls on smaller German banks

Updated 27 May 2018
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Iran sanctions shadow falls on smaller German banks

  • Some German companies plan to press on with Iran dealings
  • German exports to Iran rose 15.5 percent last year

Germany’s biggest lenders have shied away from business with Iran after past penalties for breaching US sanctions, but smaller banks have leapt on opportunities afforded by the nuclear deal rejected by Donald Trump.

There are just months to go until a November deadline issued by Washington after the US president abandoned a hard-fought agreement that loosened business restrictions on the Islamic Republic in exchange for Tehran giving up its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

But some firms plan to press on in their dealings with Iran despite the looming threat of penalties.

“We will continue to serve our clients,” for now, said Patrizia Melfi, a director at the “international competence center” (KCI) founded by six cooperative savings banks in the small town of Tuttlingen in southwest Germany.

The center, which supports companies operating in sensitive markets like Iran or Sudan, has seen demand “rising sharply in the last few years, from firms listed on the Dax (Germany’s index of blue-chip firms), from all over Germany and from Switzerland,” she added.

German exports to Iran have grown since the nuclear deal was signed in 2015, adding 15.5 percent last year to reach almost €2.6 billion ($3.0 billion) after 22-percent growth in 2016.

Such figures remain vanishingly small compared with Germany’s €111.5 billion in exports to the US — its top customer.

Nevertheless, the KCI will “wait and see what the sanctions look like” before turning away from Iran, Melfi said.

Already, firms dealing with Tehran must take great care not to fall foul of US restrictions.

Transactions are carried out in euros, and the KCI does not deal with businesses that have American citizens or green card resident holders on their boards.

What’s more, products sold to Iran cannot contain more than 10 percent of parts manufactured in the US.

One of the most important inputs for the business is “courage among our managers” given the high risks involved, Melfi said.

Germany’s two biggest banks, Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank, avoid Iran completely after being slapped with harsh fines in 2015 over their dealings there, with Deutsche alone paying $258 million in penalties.

DZ Bank, which operates as a central bank for more than 1,000 local co-op lenders, is withdrawing completely from payment services there, a spokesman told AFP.
That left KCI to seek out the German branch of Iranian state-owned bank Melli in Hamburg.

Even that linkage could break if Iran’s biggest business bank appears on a US list of barred businesses as it has before.

Meanwhile, among Germany’s roughly 390 Sparkasse savings banks, business with the regime is mostly limited to producing documents linked to export contracts.
“We will be looking even more closely at those” in the future, a person familiar with the trade told AFP.

Elsewhere in the German economy, the European-Iranian Trade Bank (EIH) founded in 1971 is another conduit to Tehran.

Also based in Hamburg, it for now remains “fully available to you with our products and services,” the bank assures clients on its website, although “business policy decisions by European banks may result in short term or medium term restrictions on payments.”

Neither does the Bundesbank (German central bank) believe that much has so far changed for business with Iran.

“Only the European Union’s sanctions regime will be decisive,” if and when it is changed, the institution told AFP.

Any payment involving an Iranian party would have to be approved by the Bundesbank if things return to their pre-January 2016 state.

German banking lobby group Kreditwirtschaft has called on Berlin and other EU nations to clarify their stance — and to make sure banks and their clients are “effectively protected against possible American sanctions.”

KCI’s Melfi said time is running out for EU governments to act.

“Many firms just want to stop anything with Iran, since they can’t calculate the risk of staying,” she noted.

On Friday for the first time since the Iran nuclear deal came into force in 2015, China, Russia, France, Britain and Germany gathered in Vienna — at Iran’s request — without the US, to discuss how to save the agreement.

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