CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO -- Daimler Trucks North America, approaching 40% market share in the U.S. with its Freightliner and Western Star brands, has set its sights on Mexico as one of its largest opportunities for growth.
Daimler Trucks Mexico is already the largest manufacturer of trucks and tractors in Mexico, and has been a growing presence in Mexico for more than 40 years.
In a press briefing for the North American trucking press Tuesday, Stefan Kurschner, president and CEO of Daimler Trucks Mexico, explained that the company already is number one in the country in production and exports, but is in second place in sales. Kurschner, who has been on the job about five months, aims to change that.
The task is not without challenges, he acknowledged, including a lack of hard data and the lack of restrictions on imports of used trucks.
"I was asked what surprised me most about Mexico. One of them is, data is pretty hard to get. Registration data as you are used to having it does not exist for the Mexican market."
The second thing that surprised him, he said, was the number of very old trucks on Mexican highways. Running right alongside large-fleet, late-model trucks are vehicle that are 20 years old.
"I don't have to tell you what that means form a safety perspective," Kurschner said. "I don't have to tell you what that means from an environmental perspective."
Part of the culprit, he said was "open borders to whatever exports that come in." The government, he said, will need to take steps to tighten that up, as many other countries in Latin America already have.
Daimler Trucks Mexico has many strengths in its endeavor to achieve "undisputed market leadership."
Kurschner pointed out that the company has two manufacturing plants, a parts distribution center, aftersales services, and nationwide dealer coverage, noting that he has only managed to visit about half of the 90 dealers in his time so far on the job.
"We're very fortunate we can tap into Daimler Trucks North America's offering," he said, "but we also can tap back into Daimler's global product portfolio to meet customer needs."
The company already offers the country's widest product range for all applications, covering from Class 4 to Class 8, but Kurschner said one of the company's goals is to focus more on making sure it's right for the market.
"We want to create a product portfolio that is right for the Mexican market, by listening to what our customer needs."
The company has two manufacturing facilities– one in Saltillo, Coahuila; the other in Santiago, Tianguistenco, both manufacturing Freightliner vehicles. The two plants produce approximately 60,000 units per year. Additionally, Daimler Trucks Mexico has a parts distribution center in San Luis Potosi and sales and aftersales, human resources, compliance, IT and finance departments functions in Santa Fe, outside of Mexico City.
Daimler Trucks Mexico's new strategy is supported by four pillars:
1. Product Portfolio: aligned to the demands of every customer segment and anticipated market growth in Mexico, providing the lowest cost of ownership.
2. Dealer Network: A complete network featuring high quality customer service, aimed at meeting the needs of each client.
3. Ease of Doing Business: With a total customer focus, a culture of innovation and continuous improvement, as well as comprehensive solutions that feature the best product, affordable financing plans and the highest quality after sales service.
4. Internal talent: Employees are vital to the success of the company, for Daimler Trucks Mexico, it is essential to enhance individual professional development, promote leadership and ensure the balance between personal and professional life in a diverse and inclusive environment.