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Wednesday, 30 November 2022

The new face of BMW in Egypt

An international JV now represents BMW and Mini in Egypt, says it’s restarting local assembly: BMW has made Global Auto Group its new importer and agent in Egypt. Global is a joint venture between Kuwait’s Ali Alghanim & Sons Automotive, Saudi Arabia’s Mohamed Yousuf Naghi Motors, and local firms Organi Group and Al Safi Group, according to a statement (pdf). Global has also acquired Bavarian Auto Group (BAG), the former importer of both brands, the statement said.

What’s included: The acquisition sees BMW Group hand Global Auto the exclusive rights to import and assemble BMW and Mini cars in the local market. The JV has acquired BAG’s existing network of service centers and showrooms, as well as its BMW assembly plant. The facility is home to three production lines with an annual production capacity of 10k vehicles. It’s not clear if the acquisition includes the local rights to Brilliance Auto, the Chinese brand for which Bavarian has been the local agent and assembler.

The Gulf partners are bringing plenty of experience: Alghanim is a BMW distributor in Kuwait and Iraq, while Naghi Motors is the exclusive BMW, Mini, and Rolls Royce importer to the KSA.

Global Auto is set to invest USD 100 mn in the local market, chairman Fahad Alghanim told CNBC Arabia and Bloomberg Asharq in separate interviews (watch, runtime: 2:24 | watch, runtime: 2:05). Part of the capex spending will go to refurbishing existing showrooms and service centers and opening new ones powered by renewables, “especially in new urban cities,” the press release reads. Global Auto will also adopt BMW Group’s “Retail Next” corporate identity for dealerships.

The company wants to bring back local BMW assembly ASAP: The company will restart assembly at the former BAG plant in January 2023, Alghanim said. It wants to assemble 1.5k vehicles annually in a first phase, with plans to expand and export locally assembled vehicles in the future. Like other international brands, BMW downed tools on local assembly when it became clear the European Union was insisting Egypt honor its agreement to allow tariffs on fully assembled imports from Europe to fall to zero in 2019.

Fancy an electric BMW? Global Auto plans to introduce BMW i all-electric vehicles in the market. BMW has just rolled out its new i7 luxury EV in the UAE, Enterprise Climate reported yesterday.

This transaction is back from two years in the wilderness: We reported back in 2020 that Alghanim and BAG chairman Farid El Tobgui were competing to acquire the 99% stake in BAG held by a group of Qatari investors. Alghanim reportedly offered USD 300 mn for the dealership, while El Tobgui’s offer was not disclosed. We don’t know when El Tobgui bowed out, when the transaction was finalized, or how much Global Auto ultimately paid for BAG. BMW Group would have the final say in the transaction, we were told previously.

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