Safety & Compliance

Volvo's Take on the Mexican Truck Market

November 12, 2013

By Evan Lockridge

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GUADALAJARA, MEXICO -- As the battle over implementing cross-border trucking has been waged since it was called for in the North American Free Trade Agreement in the '90s, much has been said about the state of the trucking industry in Mexico. 

On Tuesday morning, Matthew Walsh, managing director of Volvo Trucks North America in Mexico, sat down with reporters for a breakfast briefing to offer some real-world, current insights into the Mexican trucking market.

There is a battle brewing in Mexico over truck weights involving double trailers. (Photos by Evan Lockridge)
There is a battle brewing in Mexico over truck weights involving double trailers. (Photos by Evan Lockridge)

Regulations

There is a battle brewing in Mexico over truck weights involving double trailers. The current limit is 75 metric tons for double trailers, using 48-foot or 53-foot trailers, with a current overall length limit of 31 meters, or just under 102 feet. While there is lax enforcement of weight laws, Walsh said, there are significant penalties.

The Mexican government is looking to the U.S. for inspiration in implementing new rules. This includes hours-of-service, which Mexico currently doesn’t have, along with tougher emissions rules.

By January 2018 the Mexican government is expected to enforce U.S. EPA 2010 emissions standards, and soon after that, tighten emissions standards for used trucks that are sold in the country.

Safety

Volvo says it is the only truck maker that does not remove safety items from trucks it imports into Mexico, such as electronic stability control systems.

The infrastructure in Mexico plays more into accidents due to housing being so close to highways. Those involved in crashes are subject to high fines, and crashes can be “carrier killers,” according to Walsh.

More than half of the approximately 750,000 Class 8 trucks in Mexico, 400,000, are 20 years old or older. The Mexican government is focusing on getting them off the road, offering what it calls a “scrapping certificate" for qualified models. This is a tax voucher toward the price of a newer truck, similar to the U.S. Cash for Clunkers car program a few years ago. Volvo says 80% of its Mexican sales are these “scrapping certificate” sales.

Truck Sales

Matthew Walsh, managing director of Volvo Trucks North America in Mexico, sat down with reporters for a breakfast briefing Tuesday.
Matthew Walsh, managing director of Volvo Trucks North America in Mexico, sat down with reporters for a breakfast briefing Tuesday.

Walsh said 25,000 new trucks are expected to be sold in Mexico this year, with 8,000 used trucks being imported from the United States.

Volvo's goal, Wash said, is to have 15% of the Mexican Class 8 truck market share by 2015. The company is not considering manufacturing operations in Mexico; trucks will still be made in Volvo's U.S. plants.

Year to date, Wash said, Volvo has captured 7% of the Mexican new truck Class 8 market. The number is higher for tractors, with Volvo capturing 10% of the market for Class 8 trucks using fifth wheels. The rest of its Class 8 sales are vocational and straight trucks.

Volvo also is selling used trucks in Mexico through its dealer network.

Among some other figures Volvo presented about its presence in the Mexican truck market and more specifically its dealer network since 2010.

Update corrects title of Walsh.

Related Story:

Mexican Trucking: More Professional Than You May Think

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