Mahindra & Mahindra SA is now the official distributor of SsangYong vehicles in southern Africa – South Africa, Botswana, Swaziland, Namibia, Lesotho, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.The previous distributor agreement expired at the end of February, 2012. SsangYong’s local sales and marketing will now be integrated with that of Indian automaker Mahindra as the Indian manufacturer acts on its plans to become a bigger player in the local automotive market. Mahindra SA CEO Ashok Thakur said: “We know healthy dealers are vital to the well-being of a brand. We have 42 Mahindra dealers and expect to sign another 10 during 2012. Already 15 have set up SsangYong outlets and we plan to double that in the next six months.”SALES, PARTS AND SERVICINGThe new dealers will be responsible for all factory warranty work and parts stock has been supplied to them, though most SsangYong’s parts will be housed in Mahindra's Johannesburg warehouse. Vehicles sold until March 31, 2012 with service or maintenance plans from the previous Imperial-owned distributor will be serviced at designated workshops.Thakur added: “Our stocks of 2012 models and parts have arrived in SA but we will only announce details of the new vehicles later in April. We are repositioning SsangYong in terms of price and specification and will offer petrol and diesel models.