The import franchises in Israel for the Land Rover and Jaguar auto brands are expected to merge by the end of the year. Land Rover cars are imported to Israel by the Hamizrach company, owned by the Eini family, while Jaguar cars are imported by Mayer Cars and Trucks, controlled by the Kass and Shachar families. Overseas, both brands are controlled by the Indian Tata group, which acquired them from Ford at the end of the last decade.
Sources inform "Globes" that the manufacturer notified both importers of its decision to merge the two brands in Israel into a single agency, as has already been done in most countries. Up until now, however, the parties have not been notified who will receive the franchise. The franchises held by the two companies will expire only in the middle of next year, so the actual merger will not take place before May 2017, unless the parties decide to move the process forward.
In recent months, managers from the two brands have visited Israel several times, and recommended that the two parties negotiate an acquisition by the highest bidder. Such negotiations took place between the parties, but no agreement resulted, and the question was referred to the manufacturer for a decision. The manufacturer has already presented its plans for activity following a merger to the two parties. These include setting up a large joint central display hall for the two brands, but with structural separation between them.
The two brands have posted record sales in the luxury car sector in the first four months of the year. Land Rover and Range Rover delivered 153 vehicles in Israel, 168% more than in the corresponding period last year, while Jaguar delivered 46 units, up 119%, compared with the corresponding period last year. Both groups are currently continuing their regular marketing efforts for their brands, and are also preparing to market new strategic models. Mayer will soon launch in Israel Jaguar's first luxury all-terrain vehicle, designed to give it a foothold in one of the growing segments of the Israeli auto market. Among others, Jaguar's F-Pace model will be launched for the first time in competition with Range Rover vehicles. Mizrach is expected to launch this year the Discovery new and advanced generation of all-terrain vehicles. For now, the two franchise holders in Israel are conducting their business as usual.
Loss of the Land Rover franchise is likely to render the Hamizrach company superfluous, now that the Great Wall Chinese sub-brand it imports has in effect stopped exporting European standard cars, and has become a dormant franchise. Mayer holds a franchise for Volvo and Honda, in addition to major activity in the heavy vehicles segment. Auto sector sources believe that the compensation to the loser for the loss of the franchise will amount to tens of millions of dollars. Both companies confirmed that the matter was on the agenda, but declined to disclose any details. As part of the international trend, the Chrysler and Fiat franchises in Israel were recently merged by Fiat franchise holder Michael Levy in a deal estimated at NIS 100-130 million.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on May 15, 2016
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