Daimler Buses Mexico explains its plans to maintain its strong presence in the Mexican automotive market.
Can you give a brief introduction to Daimler and the company’s operations in the Mexico?
Daimler has been operating in Mexico for more than 30 years. The company started by supplying engines, and then also started to manufacture medium and heavy-duty vehicles. Today, Daimler’s offer for the country includes trucks and buses, but also light vehicles. Composed of more than 7,500 employees, Daimler in Mexico continually works to maintain its leadership in the Mexican market for buses, trucks, tractors, vans and luxury cars as well as being the first choice provider of financial services for dealers and customers. We have various manufacturing facilities in Mexico, which include our plant in Garcia, Nuevo León that is dedicated exclusively to buses; truck plants in Santiago, Estado de México and Saltillo, Coahuila, and we are constructing another for the car side in Aguascalientes.
Our local facilities enable us to control the manufacturing process quality and that’s reassuring for the customer, but also for the company that has leveraged the local experience and knowledge.
How would you assess the Mexican bus industry and its potential to keep growing?
Daimler has been leader of the market for the last 15 years and is still innovating with a whole scope of products and solutions for the problematic of the present.
Daimler is optimistic for the future of the bus industry in Mexico. Everywhere in the country there is the necessity to improve the public transport, Bus Rapid Transits (BRT) is one of the concepts that could help. The technologies that are available and have been brought to the Mexican bus industry have already been proven to be successful in other parts of the world.
Hardware and software play a role in the automotive industry and, while Daimler already has good vehicles, we are providing mobility solutions to the market. We have BRT experience in various places in the world such Istanbul and Santiago de Chile. What we are doing in Mexico is to collaborate with our Brazilian and German colleagues, who are highly experienced in BRT, to come up with a proposal for mobility solution, specific to a given city. It is not just about selling products, it is about delivering solutions.
Mexico is seen as an exporting country, but Daimler wants to increase its local presence. How can the local market be revitalized?
We have seen considerable stability in the market over the last few years, even if some local and federal issues such as security or the current low oil prices may hinder the unleashing of the potential of Mexico. Not to mention that there is actual sales growth (more than other units of Daimler in the world). The key for Daimler is to adapt to the framework and to the customer. Formerly, we would deliver vehicles, today we not only deliver vehicles and mobility solutions (in local currency), we also offer the best Total Cost of Ownership (residual value), and the Financing Package support from Daimler Financial Services, that ultimately gives us the competitive edge in the market.
Our general strategy is to localize our supply chain wherever we operate. By using local suppliers, about 300 at the present day, we have more flexibility and can significantly decrease lead times.
What is Daimler’s strategy and goals for the next five years?
In terms of our car division, we are investing in Aguascalientes with other companies as a complex but excited collaboration, which will be up and running within the next three years.
For the commercial vehicles we have preparations ahead to manufacture our products with technology EURO VI, present in Europe now, but expected in Mexico for 2018 or 2019. We have to be ready by the time the new law and emission standards be declared.
There is also an expectation to increase the natural gas-powered vehicles along with an expected increase of infrastructure needed to the development of this segment.
Between 2016 and 2017, Daimler Buses Mexico will introduce both passive safety features, such as sensors and radars, but also more advanced and active systems that will react to ensure safety with the highest precision. Our strategy is to continuously upgrade safety, fuel efficiency, TCO and connectivity of both passenger vehicles and commercial vehicles.
Our aim is also to keep educating the entire system such as our employees, the dealers and the end users on the EURO V after sales services.
Within the next three to five years, we will also continuously add to our product portfolio as to offer flexibility to understand and provide the best products for our customer’s requirements.
In addition, the world’s biggest bus manufacturer, Daimler Buses, is systematically extending its technological leadership. The Mercedes-Benz Future Bus with CityPilot has driven autonomously for the first time on a route of approximately 20 kilometers in Amsterdam.