Model of success: KSA automobile industry setting new standards

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Updated 10 November 2014

Model of success: KSA automobile industry setting new standards

The automobile industry has been gaining momentum across Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the GCC.
“The momentum for the industry is remarkable,” says Hiroshi Inoue, executive officer, business growing markets (excluding Americas), Mazda Motor Corporation.
Saudi Arabia and the other GCC markets are very important for Mazda’s future growth, Inoue told Arab News during the launch of the all-new 2015 Mazda3 in Jeddah. In fact, Saudi Arabia remains the biggest market for Mazda vehicles in the GCC.
Last year, Haji Husein Alireza & Co. Ltd. (HHA), sole distributor for Mazda Automotive in Saudi Arabia, sold 12,000 units of the full range of Mazda models. This fiscal year, HHA is likely to sell 13,000 Mazda vehicles in the Kingdom.
In Mazda’s perspective, Inoue said the momentum of growth for Mazda vehicles will continue in the coming year. Saudi Arabia is number one among the Gulf states for Mazda vehicles and this position is unlikely to change in the near future, he said.
In Saudi Arabia, most popular models are Mazda CX-9, Mazda6 and CX-5.
These models are among the pillars of HHA’s business.
The award-winning Mazda3 is following the path of its big sisters, the Mazda CX-9 and the Mazda6, which have achieved a resounding success, according to him.
The all-new Mazda3 benefits from advanced SKYACTIV technology and an attractive new streamlined design based on the KODO concept featuring latest international safety and safe driving standards.
In Saudi Arabia, Inoue said that expectations are very high for Mazda3 and it will be one “unique pillar”.
“In the global perspective, Mazda3 is the number one pillar of our portfolio.”
Over the last three or four years, the automobile market growth of the GCC countries has become very major.
“Globally, we sell 400,000 Mazda3 per year. We are selling everywhere but the biggest market is North America, notably the US and Canada, Europe, Australia and home-base Japan,” Inoue said.
Inoue, who is in charge of growing markets as an executive officer for Mazda Motor Corporation in Japan, commented: “Sustainable Zoom-Zoom is a slogan representing Mazda’s policy and commitment never to make boring cars. The cars worth making, we believe, are not only those that provide outstanding driving pleasure, but also those that have the highest safety and environmental standards. By delivering such exciting cars and excellent service, Mazda intends to drive people’s car lives to a more lively and inspirational level.
In order to realize this vision, Mazda has been proceeding with innovations of its own technologies and design, called SKYACTIV and KODO. 
“With SKYACTIV, we made vast improvements not only to the engines, but also to the transmissions, body and chassis — all the key components that dictate driving performance. The KODO design makes Mazda cars evoke a feeling of speed, grace and power. These were fully applied on the CX-5 as the first model of our new generation products in 2012, followed by the latest Mazda6,” Inoue said.   Since the first generation Mazda3 was globally launched back in 2003, Mazda3 has sold 4 million units, making up almost one-third of Mazda’s global sales, and Mazda3 has come to represent the true spirit of our brand.
“This car, the all-new Mazda3, has been widely praised around the world, and notably, it has been selected as one of the top three candidates for World Car of The Year,” Inoue said.
“With the all-new Mazda3’s advanced SKYACTIV technology, you can feel the unity between yourself and the vehicle, thanks to the car’s precise movement as the driver controls it. And the sleek KODO design should attract you at a glance, with its dynamic and sophisticated styling,” he added.
“Also, the all-new Mazda3 features the MZD Connect, a new device developed to maximize driving pleasure to provide passengers with a variety of entertainment in the car with safe driving circumstances, supported by the Active Driving Display mounted above the speedometer hood, and the commander control located on the center console. Our active safety technology, named i-ACTIVSENSE, will also support your safe driving,” Inoue said.
“With these leading-edge technologies, I strongly believe that the all-new Mazda3, our highest-selling global product, will surely deliver to drivers and passengers alike a greater joy in motoring,” he added.
“On a final note, I would like to congratulate Amin Abulhasan and Ali Alireza of Haji Husein Alireza & Co. Ltd., and their Mazda team on the historic launch of the all-new Mazda3,” Inoue said.
“I am confident that HHA will make this car the most popular ‘C’ segment vehicle in Saudi Arabia,” he said. Inoue said that the first wave of major growth in the auto industry happened in China, followed by ASEAN countries, especially Thailand.
When asked about plans for a Mazda assembly plant in the region, Inoue categorically ruled out any such plan in the near future.
“We have a plant in South Africa, which is producing pickup trucks and a passenger car assembly plant in Thailand, which are nearest to the GCC region,” he said, emphasizing that Saudi Arabia remains a major market for passenger cars from Japan. As a company policy,
Inoue stressed that Mazda doesn’t pursue growth by just volume increase.
“We are pursuing a market strategy to make the product familiar so that the people understand the value of the product. We started applying this type of strategy from 2012 when we introduced CX-5 and every year we are getting around 4 percent volume increase,” he said.
About HHA, Inoue said: “They have a good understanding of the Mazda strategy. They have full support from Mazda’s Japan headquarters.”
He said: “HHA gives proper training to salesmen and service technicians and as such from Mazda headquarters perspective we rely on them as our partner.”
For Mazda’s success in Saudi Arabia, Inoue added: “We give credit to HHA for their marketing strategy, which keeps Mazda’s flag high in the competitive market.”
Commenting on the launch of the “incredible, highly-acclaimed” all-new Mazda3, which is being showcased at the HHA showrooms across the Kingdom, Ali Hussein Alireza, managing director, HHA, said: “We are very proud to launch the two variants of the all-new Mazda3 — sedan and hatchback — in the Saudi market.”
He said: “This car represents the third generation of Mazda3, but it also represents added value for the new generation of Mazda cars, thanks to the new KODO design concept and SKYACTIV technologies.”


Trump advisers urge delisting of US-listed Chinese companies that fail to meet audit standards

Updated 42 min 34 sec ago

Trump advisers urge delisting of US-listed Chinese companies that fail to meet audit standards

  • Growing pressure to crack down on Chinese companies that avail themselves of US capital markets but do not comply with rules
WASHINGTON: Trump administration officials have urged the president to delist Chinese companies that trade on US exchanges and fail to meet US auditing requirements by January 2022, Securities and Exchange Commission and Treasury officials said on Thursday.
The remarks came after President Donald Trump tasked a group of key advisers, including Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and SEC Chairman Jay Clayton, with drafting a report with recommendations to protect US investors from Chinese companies whose audit documents have long been kept from US regulators.
It also comes amid growing pressure from Congress to crack down on Chinese companies that avail themselves of US capital markets but do not comply with US rules faced by American rivals.
“We are simply leveling the playing field, holding Chinese firms listed in the US to the same standards as everyone else,” a Treasury official told reporters in a briefing call about the report.
The US Senate unanimously passed legislation in May that could prevent some Chinese companies from listing their shares on US exchanges unless they follow standards for US audits and regulations.
Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen, who sponsored the bill described the recommendations as “an important first step,” but said that “without the added teeth of our bill, this report alone does not implement the requirements necessary to protect everyday American investors.”
The administration’s recommendations, if implemented via an SEC rulemaking process, would give Chinese companies already listed in the United States until Jan. 1, 2022, to ensure the US auditing watchdog, known as the PCAOB, has access to their audit documents.
They can also provide a “co-audit,” for example, performed by a US parent company of the China-based affiliate tasked with auditing the Chinese firm. However, companies seeking to list in the United States for the first time will need to comply immediately, the officials said.
A State Department official told Reuters the administration plans soon to scrap a 2013 agreement between US and Chinese auditing authorities to set up a process for the PCAOB to seek documents in enforcement cases against Chinese auditors.
China said on Friday that the two countries have “good cooperation” in monitoring publicly listed firms.
“The current situation is that some US monitoring authorities are failing to comply with their obligations, and what they are doing is political manipulation — they are trying to force Chinese companies to delist from US markets,” foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a media briefing.
The PCAOB has long complained of China’s failure to grant requests, giving it scant insight on audits of Chinese firms that trade on US exchanges.
The report also recommends requiring greater disclosure by issuers and registered funds of the risk of investing in China, as well as mandating more due diligence by funds that track indexes and issuing guidance to investment advisers about fiduciary obligations surrounding investments in China.
The moves come amid rising tensions between Washington and Beijing over China’s handling of the coronavirus and its moves to curb freedoms in Hong Kong, among other issues.