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Mercedes claims luxury pole position over BMW

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German carmaker Mercedes-Benz on Monday said it had overtaken homegrown rival BMW to deliver the most luxury vehicles of any manufacturer in 2016.

The Stuttgart-based firm sold almost 2.1 million vehicles worldwide, marking growth of 11.3 percent compared with 2015, parent company Daimler said in a statement. It was the first time Mercedes sold more than two million vehicles in a year, allowing it to reclaim the top spot it lost to its Munich rival in 2005.

“Extraordinary growth, especially in China and Europe, has placed us at the top in the luxury segment,” Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said. Mercedes had achieved its best year ever by sales for the sixth time in a row, he added.

China was a powerful growth market, with Mercedes boosting sales there by 26.6 percent over the year. “Mercedes used to be very weak in China, it was a market where they made a lot of mistakes, but since then they’ve made up ground,” Stefan Bratzel, director of Germany’s CAM automobile institute, told AFP.

While the firm also saw double-digit sales growth in Europe, adding 12.4 percent, US business shrank slightly, by 0.8 percent.

SUVs were the biggest draw for buyers in 2016, topping 700,000 sales with growth of 34.3 percent as the firm introduced new models. Compact cars were also among the top sellers, adding 9.3 percent to hit almost 637,000 units.

“Mercedes has benefited from a very new range of models,” said auto expert Bratzel, adding to its SUVs as well as updating its designs with “significant improvements”. Daimler also reported best-ever sales for its Smart compact car, which added 21 percent compared with 2015 to hit 144,500 vehicles sold worldwide.

In its own figures released Monday, BMW said it sold just over 2.0 million vehicles under its flagship brand in 2016, also a new record. The Munich-based firm notched up growth of 5.2 percent over 2015’s result, but couldn’t hold Mercedes off the top of the sales podium. BMW’s growth fell short of Mercedes in China and Europe and it shrank faster in the US, at 9.7 percent for its BMW and Mini cars combined.

“We will not at all costs strive for volume leadership” in the race with Mercedes, BMW board member Ian Robertson told AFP at the Detroit Auto Show – noting that when comparing the groups’ overall figures, BMW had outsold Daimler.

Instead, BMW would aim for a return on sales of 8 to 10 percent, he went on, as well as unit sales growth in “lower single digits” in 2017. Like Mercedes, BMW also pointed to “a global trend towards SUVs”, with models from its X range accounting for one in three vehicles sold under the premium brand in 2016.

Meanwhile, Volkswagen’s luxury brand Audi reported on Monday that it had sold almost 1.9 million vehicles in 2016, up 3.8 percent on the previous year. The Ingolstadt-based firm suffered “strong headwinds from many important markets,” board member Dietmar Voggenreiter said.

Some Audi cars were among those affected by the Volkswagen group’s ‘dieselgate’ scandal, which saw the auto giant admit to building devices designed to cheat regulatory emissions tests into 11 million vehicles worldwide.

Audi is “undoubtedly the weakest of the three manufacturers, even if it managed to hold onto its position in China” CAM expert Bratzel said.

The manufacturer added slightly to sales in China in 2016 at 3.6 percent, while growing 4.0 percent in the US and 7.6 in western Europe. But Audi only achieved double-digit growth in its smaller western European markets like Italy and Spain.

Source: AFP

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Nissan SA’s Whitfield given Egypt portfolio

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CAPE TOWN – Nissan South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa managing director Mike Whitfield has been appointed managing director of Nissan Motor Egypt.

The Japanese-based group said yesterday that Whitfield would also serve as chairperson of Nissan in Africa South as it announced changes in its senior management structure in Africa to drive growth.

Africa is seen as the last frontier for global carmakers. The group said Whitfield would be based in Cairo and his appointment would be effective from June 20.

Whitfield, a former president of the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa and vice-president of the African Association of Automotive Manufacturers, joined Nissan in 1981 as a marketing trainee.

Since then he has held a variety of senior positions before being appointed as Nissan SA’s managing director in 2008. “Under his leadership, Nissan posted a record market share in South Africa of more than 10 percent in the last financial year, the highest this century,” the group said.

It said Shinkichi Izumi would succeed him as the managing director of Nissan South Africa.

“Nissan has a plan for rapid and sustainable growth in Africa. We were the first to assemble cars in Nigeria and our ambition is to lead the way in developing automotive manufacturing on the continent,” said the chairperson of Nissan’s Africa, Middle East and India region, Peyman Kargar.

BUSINESS REPORT

 

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Smile Telecoms Appoints Ahmad Farroukh As New Group Chief Executive Officer

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Irene Charnley, founder of Smile, appointed as Deputy Chairman

PORT LOUIS, Mauritius, May 21, 2019 – Ahmad Farroukh, Smile Group Executive Director Operations, appointed as Group CEO; Irene Charnley, founder of Smile, appointed as Deputy Chairman.

Smile Telecoms, a Pan-African telecommunications group with operations in Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, today announces the appointments of Mr. Ahmad Farroukh as Group Chief Executive Officer and Ms. Irene Charnley as Deputy Chairman, respectively, effective 1 June 2019.

Ahmad Farroukh, who currently serves as Smile’s Group Executive Director Operations, is a seasoned and experienced telecoms executive with a distinguished record of commercial and operational success. Mr. Farroukh’s vast experience extends to executive management positions at Investcom Holdings and the MTN Group (where he served as CEO of MTN Nigeria, MTN South Africa and Group Chief Operating Executive, responsible for 19 countries) and immediately prior to joining Smile, as CEO of Mobily, Saudi Arabia’s second largest telecommunications operator. Given the extent of the opportunity and the significance to Smile, Ahmad will spend the majority of his executive time in Nigeria.

Hailed as one of Africa’s most successful business leaders, Smile Telecoms founder and shareholder, Irene Charnley has led the Company’s innovation and pioneering of Africa’s first 4G LTE network infrastructure, using low band spectrum in 800MHz band. thereby revolutionizing the way people in Africa accessed high speed internet. After 12 years at the helm, Ms. Charnley will now serve as Deputy Chairman for the Company and will fulfil a strategic role.

Commenting on the announcement, Mohammed H. Sharbatly, Smile’s Co-Chairman and Group CEO of Smile’s majority shareholder, Al Nahla Group of KSA, said “The Africa telecoms market is as dynamic as it is challenging, and Ahmad is suited to lead Smile’s next exciting phase of growth, as we have transitioned from a spectrum rich upstart to the fastest, most reliable data gigabyte factory in Sub-Sahara Africa. We are equally delighted that Irene will continue to serve the company she founded as Deputy Chair, and we look forward to her ongoing strategic direction and guidance.”

“The next phase for Smile will focus on delivering excellent operational returns, achieving profitability and creating value for all stakeholders, and I believe that Ahmed is best suited to lead the Company forward in this regard”, added Irene Charnley.

“Africa is experiencing explosive data growth, and I am honoured to have the opportunity to lead the operations of one of the continent’s best 4G LTE networks at this exciting time. It has also been a revelation after over 20 years in the industry to witness the power and versatility of Smile’s proprietary technology applications platform, which was developed in-house and provides a huge competitive and cost advantage,” concluded Ahmad Farroukh.

Smile Telecoms Holdings Ltd.

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General Electric appoints Eric Amoussouga as GE Francophone Africa CEO

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Eric is also Sales Director for GE’s Grid Solutions Business across Sub-Saharan Africa

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, April, 2019 — General Electric (GE) has announced the appointment of Eric Amoussouga as the Chief Executive Officer for Francophone Africa. In this position, Eric will play a pivotal role in steering the next phase of strategy and growth for GE in Francophone African markets.

Based in Abidjan, Eric will lead the development of diverse programs with public and private sector projects and partnerships across Francophone Africa.

Commenting on the appointment, Farid Fezoua, President and CEO, GE Africa, reiterated GE’s commitment to work together with government and private sector order to develop public private partnerships and sustainable outcome-based solutions.

“We are optimistic about Francophone Africa and the opportunities to develop breakthrough solutions in power, healthcare, aviation and renewable energy. We believe that the appointment of Eric is a further step in making our vision a reality. We are also glad to bring on board someone with the experience and passion required to drive our growth in this region,” he said.

Eric brings onboard 19 years of experience in the energy sector with the major players like AREVA, ALSTOM and GE and has strong expertise in energy business development and sales strategy especially in West and Central Africa.

“I am very excited to be leading GE’s regional growth in Francophone Africa and driving innovative initiatives to support the needs of GE stakeholders within the region.” Eric Amoussouga said.

Partnership with Governments and local companies form a very important part of GE’s growth in Francophone Africa and across the continent. Through these collaborations, GE has made significant investments to develop infrastructure projects, including sustainable energy solutions, provide efficient and reliable transportation as well as improve access to quality healthcare.

– GE

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