Colombia 2014 | INDUSTRY | B2B: CAR IMPORTS

As the potential of luxury brands grows, companies are moving quickly to position themselves for new clients.

Cristián Andrés Sierra Margenats
General Manager
Derco Colombia
Robert Kunzel Hernández
President & CEO
GP Cars

How would you assess the development of the automotive and machinery industries in Colombia?

CRISTIÁN ANDRÉS SIERRA MARGENATS The demand for vehicles in Colombia is growing currently thanks to the expansion of the Colombian middle class and its purchasing power. The middle class is one of the main economic drivers of this industry worldwide. At the moment, I have to say that Colombia still has an undeveloped middle class, but current trends allow us to be positive about the future; income per capita is still rather low at under $10,000, and banking penetration rates still have room to grow. We will see a turning point within the automotive industry as income grows, and people will start consuming durable and capital goods.

ROBERT KUNZEL HERNÁNDEZ Thanks to the free trade agreements (FTAs) with Europe, the US, and other American countries which are vehicle producers the prices are now more accessible, showing important credit figures that have been maintained in the last few years. This has also been due to the variety of financial arrangements and payment facilities offered by all brands. All this has led to some changes in market trends in our industry. For example, nowadays people can find for similar prices models from Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Volvo, and BMW, which are luxury market, and brands like Mazda. In our personal case, with the arrival of Ghibli (E segment) we expect our sales to increase taking into account that this car was not in our portfolio before. The same will happen at the end of next year with the release of the SUV (Levante).

How have your brand portfolio and market share evolved in Colombia since you started operations in the country?

CASM In Colombia, we started with two Chinese brands; Great Wall and Geely. Subsequently, we added Suzuki to our vehicle portfolio. Our market share, at 0.5% at the outset, is at 3.5% today. I should add that as our brands are rather new to the Colombian market we have plenty of room to for growth.

RKH Maserati's presence in Latin America has always been very much linked to the presence of Ferrari; wherever Ferrari had a footprint, Maserati was present, too. A few years ago, Maserati was present only in Chile, Brazil, Argentina, and Venezuela. In 2009, the brand entered the Colombian market through us, since we considered that the economic situation of the country was prepared to receive this brand and as a result we have placed 15 cars in the market. In 2013, Maserati handed over regional operations to Maserati US, which brought about a regional restructuring of the company's commercial strategy. The company selected us to represent the brand in Colombia.