Hyundai Australia Appoints Jun Heo As CEO

Hyundai Motor Company Australia has appointed Jun Heo as CEO. Heo joins the Australian division from Hyundai Motor Company (HMC) headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, where he was Department Head for the India and Asia Pacific region.

Heo first joined HMC in 2000 and has worked in the United States, Mexico and India. He replaces previous CEO JW Lee, who has been assigned a new international markets role based at HMC headquarters.

“I am proud and honoured to join Hyundai Motor Company Australia as Chief Executive Officer,” said Heo. “For market share, brand history and the popularity of models across the portfolio, Hyundai Australia is seen as one of our company’s most successful markets globally.

“We will continue to play a key role as we develop our organisation as part of HMC’s global strategy. I look forward to working with the Australian team as we challenge the market in the future, through a dedication to progress, customer care and world-beating products.”

Mahindra, Ford Announce Joint Venture For India, Emerging Markets

Mahindra & Mahindra Limited and Ford Motor Company have signed an agreement to create a joint venture that will develop, market and distribute Ford brand vehicles in India. The same will also be done for both vehicle brands in high-growth emerging markets around the world.

The joint venture will see Mahindra owning a 51 per cent controlling stake and Ford owning the remaining 49 per cent. Ford will transfer its India operations to the joint venture, including its personnel and assembly plants in Chennai and Sanand. Ford will retain its engine plant operations in Sanand as well as the Global Business Services unit, Ford Credit and Ford Smart Mobility.

The joint venture is expected to be operational by mid-2020, dependent on regulatory approvals. The joint venture will be operationally managed by Mahindra and will be equally composed of representatives of both companies.

Ford branded vehicles will be distributed through the already established India dealer network and Mahindra will continue to operate its own independent dealer network in India.

“Mahindra and Ford coming together is a testament to the long history of cooperation and mutual respect between the two companies,” said Anand Mahindra, Chairman of Mahindra Group. “Our combined strengths, Mahindra’s expertise in value-focused engineering and its successful operating model, and Ford’s technical expertise, global reach and access to future technology, are a potent recipe for success. At its core, the partnership will be driven by the shared values of both companies, which are focused on caring for our customers, associates and our communities.”

“Ford and Mahindra have a long history of working together, and we are proud to partner with them to grow the Ford brand in India,” said Bill Ford, Executive Chairman of Ford Motor Company. “We remain deeply committed to our employees, dealers and suppliers, and this new era of collaboration will allow us to deliver more vehicles to consumers in this important market.”

“At Ford, our purpose for 116 years has always been to drive human progress, and that won’t change,” said Jim Hackett, Ford President and CEO. “But to continue to do that, we need to evolve with new and faster ways of not only delighting our customers around the world but also solving their very different needs. Strong alliances like this play a crucial role in assuring we continue to achieve our vision, while at the same time staying competitive and delivering value to our global stakeholders.”

The joint venture expects to introduce three new utility vehicles under the Ford brand, beginning with a new midsize sports utility, while another area of focus will be electric vehicles.

Exports today form about 7 per cent of Mahindra’s vehicle business revenues and its products are exported to South Africa, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Chile, among other nations and areas.

“Emerging economies including India are expected to account for one in three future vehicle sales,” said Dr. Pawan Goenka, Managing Director, Mahindra & Mahindra Limited. “The joint venture will have a distinct product portfolio with shared platforms and powertrains, the newest technology, high quality and engineering standards from both Mahindra and Ford, at optimised costs. This winning combination will enable the joint venture to successfully position its vehicles in India, as well as unlock the potential of other highly competitive emerging markets.”

“The creation of this joint venture is a pivotal moment in both our companies’ histories,” said Jim Farley, President of Ford New Businesses, Technology & Strategy. “Strong alliances such as this play a crucial role for Ford to compete profitably in the high-volume, affordable vehicle segments so popular with our diverse customer base. By combining our respective talents, we will offer more vehicles to more customers in more places than ever before and deliver profitable growth to both Ford and Mahindra.”

Ford said its newly established International Markets Group (IMG) business unit brings together 100 high-potential, emerged and emerging markets including India, Australia, the ASEAN, the Middle East, Africa and Russia.

Axalta Opens Its Largest Refinish Training Centre In India

Axalta has opened its largest and most advanced refinish training centre, spread over 20,000 square feet (nearly 2,000 square metres) in India. The state-of-the-art training facility was inaugurated by Sobers Sethi, President, Emerging Markets, Axalta. The company now has four dedicated training facilities in India.

“The opening of this new training facility demonstrates the confidence we have in the opportunities for growth in India,” said Sethi. “The coatings industry, especially waterborne coatings, in India has been growing at a rapid pace. The new refinish training facility will provide our customers with the most advanced painting techniques to help them be more efficient, productive, and profitable. And, we are helping our customers drive these improvements while being mindful of the environment with sustainable techniques and products. Our customers’ success is our success and we are proud to be the refinish leader in India and around the world.”

Axalta says it expects to train approximately 1000 technicians at the new training centre this year. Customers will use the company’s latest coating technologies, as well as industry-leading training techniques and advanced digital tools. Axalta says it will also demonstrate the most advanced spraying application systems that use less energy and reduce waste, have fast-drying finishes, and use superior colour matching technologies. Through this centre, the company says customers in India can stay on the cutting-edge of coating technologies and techniques that are designed to deliver benefits to their businesses immediately and for the long-term.

The training centre is also equipped with an advanced virtual reality (VR) training room, digital colour matching tool, and an online training facility for customers that cannot be physically present at the centre. Axalta says the VR training duplicates the paint spraying activity and experience, and enables customers to gain the benefits of the training without actually using the paint material.

Axalta Inaugurates New Coating Manufacturing Facility in India

Axalta inaugurated its new coating manufacturing plant at Savli, Vadodara in Gujarat, India. Approximately 70 guests, including local government officials, customers, university representatives, media, and employees attended the opening ceremony, which Axalta Chairman and CEO Charlie Shaver presided.

The 5,200 square meter plant is part of Axalta’s Savli manufacturing site that produces Axalta coatings for refinish, automotive parts, and commercial vehicle customers. The new plant will double Axalta’s coating manufacturing capacity to meet the growing demand for coatings in light vehicles, commercial vehicles, and industrial segments.

Since 2016, Axalta has opened a new and expanded Technology Centre in Savli dedicated to the Indian automotive segment. Its new Axalta India headquarters in Gurugram, within the National Capital Region, also hosts Axalta’s global IT and other back office functions. Axalta has continued to further invest and upgrade its refinish training centres throughout India to better serve customers in the growing market.

“These facilities and the significant investments made in the past couple of years are in sync with Axalta’s strong commitment to India to deliver innovative and comprehensive coating solutions to our customers in every sector of the automotive market and in other industry sectors. I am confident that Axalta’s global expertise in coatings will play a significant role in India, catering to our customers’ specific coatings requirements,” said Shaver.

Taking advantage of the booming automotive market, Axalta Savli’s new plant will be able to expand production capacity of both high and low temperature cured coatings. The facility is also designed to scale up to produce waterborne coatings for customers’ conversion to more sustainable solutions. The new plant employs environmentally responsible processes and is designed for low emissions. This helps to ensure a healthy environment for the community and a sustainable future for Axalta.