Leverkusen/Bornem. Mazda Motor Europe and its distribution partner, Beherman Auto, are jointly announcing a transfer of distribution responsibilities for the Belgium and Luxembourg markets to go into effect from 2nd April 2007. The news was communicated today separately to employees of Beherman Auto and to the Mazda dealer network.

The advance notice that Mazda will establish its own national sales company in the region reflects a common understanding that has been reached between Mazda and Beherman Auto to cooperate closely over the next seven months to ensure a smooth transition of the business.

Beherman Auto was one of Mazda’s first independent distributors in Europe and began selling Mazda vehicles in Belgium and Luxembourg in 1971. Since then, over 400,000 units have been sold in both markets combined, and the Mazda brand enjoys a strong reputation for quality, reliability and customer satisfaction. James Muir, President & CEO of Mazda Europe, expressed his appreciation for the representation that Beherman Auto has provided Mazda over almost 35 years.

Referring to the reason for the change and its timing, James Muir said: “Over the last six years, Mazda in Europe has progressively acquired control over distribution to the extent that more than three-quarters of our annual sales volume is now made by wholly-owned subsidiaries. We intend to selectively increase this proportion of our volume in markets where it is logical and appropriate, and this move into Belgium and Luxembourg is a consequence of that strategic intent. We are very grateful to Beherman Auto for its loyalty and dedication to the Mazda Brand over many years. The fact that both parties recognised that the interest of developing the Mazda business in the region in the longer term would be best served by announcing the transfer of distribution now rather than later is an endorsement of the close relationship that our companies have.”

Beherman Auto will continue to work with Mazda as it intends to continue to run Mazda dealerships in Brussels, Antwerp and Liege.