"Mahindra South Africa (MSA) took over responsibility for sales, service and parts supply in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Mozambique on April 1," said SsangYong Motor Vice-President Johng Sik Choi.
"The distribution contract with the previous distributors, TDA, a company in the (South African) Imperial Group, expired on March 31," Choi added. MSA, an affiliate of automaker Mahindra and Mahindra, announced in April that it would market SsangYong products in South Africa after M&M acquired a 70 per cent stake in the Korean car maker last year.
MSA has established a firm presence in South Africa since starting up in 2004, with sales of about 18,000 vehicles in a very competitive market.
On Monday, MSA announced 19 new dealers across South Africa for the SsangYong range.
"The previous distributor for SsangYong, Twin Dragons Automotive (TDA), a member of the Imperial Group of companies, continues to trade and market themselves as the SsangYong distributor. Mahindra SA would like to inform potential SsangYong customers that the agreement between TDA & SsangYong is no longer valid," Mahindra South Africa (MSA) said in a statement issued on Monday.
MSA Chief Executive Ashok Thakur said his company has not only represented SsangYong products in South Africa since April 1, but also in neighbouring Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique since the agreement between TDA and SsangYong was no longer valid.
But TDA's lawyers have denied this claim, saying that all vehicles sold by TDA now and in the past were purchased from SsangYong Motor Company as per the terms of a distribution agreement, which also gives TDA the right to sell vehicles with a valid manufacturer's warranty.
Anabela da Silva of TWB Attorneys, representing TDA, had indicated that the company could go to court, if necessary.