COLOSSAL COLLABORATION

Colombia 2019 | TRANSPORT | INTERVIEW

There is a reason why GM moves half the country's cargo and 43% of its bus passengers each day.

Ernesto Ortiz
BIOGRAPHY
Ernesto Ortiz holds a degree in business administration from Austral University and a PhD in business and electronic commerce. Within GM, he has held various positions in finance, sales, and marketing in Argentina, Mexico, and Brazil. He was also CFO for South America and Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Brazil and South America.

You closed 2018 with a 19% market share, and project an even larger one for 2019. What is your strategy for doing so?
In 2018, the industry in Colombia saw positive growth for the first time after three consecutive years of decline, closing with 255,682 units sold and 18,086 more than 2017. At the end of 2018, Chevrolet obtained 19.5% of market sales, some 49,866 units sold, which positioned the brand as a leader in the automotive sector for 32 consecutive years. Currently, General Motors South America West is working intensively to consolidate its operations in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Uruguay, and Paraguay. Our main objectives in the region are to ensure the competitiveness and sustainability of the company, exceed customer expectations with innovative products, and strengthen Chevrolet as a brand that continues to evolve with a broad and renewed portfolio of global vehicles and trucks. At GM, we are optimistic about the future and committed to the country. The projections in market sales are between 255,000 and 260,000 units. Chevrolet seeks to have about 21% market share, leveraging the evolution of the brand with a broad and renewed portfolio of global vehicles and trucks that incorporate the latest in technology, design, and safety.

How is GM investing to reach its country targets?
GM intends to take advantage of commercial agreements that provide the opportunity to reach new markets such as the agreement with Mercosur countries. The short-term objective is to achieve the allocation of new production projects and expand our exports to other destinations such as Central America, Brazil, and Argentina. In the last 10 years, General Motors has invested nearly USD300 million in innovation in its Colombian plant and is the only vehicle assembler in the country to invoice USD56 million to purchase materials from local suppliers in Colombia and Ecuador. The consolidation of General Motors South America Oeste has allowed the plant in Colombia to increase exports to Chile, Bolivia, and Ecuador with vehicles such as the Chevrolet Spark and NQR bus. In 2018, General Motors exports totaled MXN384.2 billion, equivalent to 12,827 units. The 2019 projections for exports amount to MXN444,500 million, or 13,357 units.

What is the role of the automotive sector, and GM Colmotores in particular, as a driver for Colombian growth and employment?
At General Motors Colmotores, we are focused on the competitiveness and sustainability of the business and are confident that with an open dialogue and working hand in hand with the government, workers, suppliers, and business allies, we will strengthen operations in Colombia to continue being the engine of development for the country. General Motors today contributes to the economic and social development of Colombia through the generation of more than 1,033 direct jobs (plant workers, administrative, and Zoficol free zone) and 16,000 indirect ones (concessionaires, suppliers, and contractors). For the development of business activity in Colombia, Chevrolet moves 50% of the country's cargo with its trucks and transports 43% of Colombians on their buses. The first Corporate Contact Center operated by Colombia for Spanish-speaking South America was recently added to the services of Chevrolet. Through this platform the customer is taken care of for any information related to the brand, sales, and booking of appointments in dealerships. In addition, Chevrolet has a solid network of 28 dealers and 106 service points.