SUSTAINABLE PROWESS

Colombia 2019 | TRANSPORT | INTERVIEW

Producing more than 70,000 cars per year of which 40% are exported to more than 10 neighboring countries, Renault-Sofasa has clearly struck the right tone in the region.

Matthieu Tenenbaum
BIOGRAPHY
Matthieu Tenenbaum graduated in engineering from the Center for Advanced Industrial Studies (Cesi) in France and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School. He joined Renault in 1997 as an intern and has held various management functions in the body assembly area, leading projects in France, North America, and Korea. In 2007, he became the leader of the Electric Vehicle Project, and was promoted to Vice-Director of the Electric Vehicle Program in 2008. He went on to become Executive Director and Director of Business Development in the newly created Africa-Middle East-India region where he advanced strategic negotiations of new partnerships to help Renault expand in the region. He has been CEO of RENAULT-Sofasa in Colombia since 2017.

What were Renault-Sofasa's major achievements in 2018?
2018 was an historic year for RENAULT-Sofasa in that it was the first time we reached the top position in the market. It had never been our goal to be first, though we knew that we were in good stead to do so based on our work. We achieved this based on our strong work on our portfolio of products and services. For many years, we have been working to develop vehicles that are well suited for the Colombian market. We managed to do so with products such as Sandero, Sandero Stepway, Logan, and Duster, which are the top four produced here and adapted to the needs of the Colombian market. In addition, we did a great deal of work on customer experience within our network. We have the largest network of dealers in the country and have worked extensively with them to increase the quality of service in sales and aftersales for our customers. Another part of our success is our financing company, Renault Credit International (RCI Colombia), which we launched in 2016 and which finances more than half of our sales. It is the number one firm for the financing of new vehicles in the country after merely two years of history. Now, we have perfect financing and excellent products and service, which is how we reached such sales levels and a top position in the market. The electric market is still a small one but is growing rapidly. We have been a pioneer in Colombia with electric vehicles since 2014, first with the Twizy and later with the Kangoo Z.E. In 2018, we launched the new Zoe and reached the number-one position in the electrical vehicle market. We also had more than 78% market share in the electrical vehicle market in 2018.

What did the modernization process of your plants entail, and what will it mean for Renault-Sofasa in the coming years?
We produce about 70,000 cars per year and export about 40% to more than 10 other countries in the region. It is extremely important for us to maintain these exports. This is not just based on its efficiency, but also on having modern installations, new lines, and new investments. We invested USD5 million in our plants to make sure we retain our high level of competitiveness. We are the most competitive plant in Latin America and a top seven global Renault plant and want to keep it that way. We have an extremely labor-intensive plant; we do not have many robots or automation and invest a great deal in our human resources and talent to make sure we continue to be the most competitive in Latin America. This year we will celebrate our 50th year in Colombia; if we want to be here for another 50, we have to continue to stay competitive.

Which markets are currently the biggest destinations for export?
Mexico is our biggest customer; in 2018, we exported 13,751 vehicles there, most of which were Dusters. The second is Argentina, where we exported 6,044 Dusters in 2018. Chile and Ecuador are also successful markets, while we also export to all the smaller countries in the region.

What plans do you have for the coming year?
Our entire focus is on sustaining our leading position. Our midterm vision is to be the leader of the market, industry, and people. We reached 23% market share in April, which is excellent, and we will continue to meet the high demand we have seen.