MARCO A. PASTRANA

Colombia 2021 | TRANSPORT | VIP INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Marco A. Pastrana, General Manager of Motorysa, about electric vehicles, the automotive market, and sustainability in 2021.

What factors are driving the automotive industry in Colombia, and where is Motorysa placing its bet?

In 2020, the automotive sector fell by 28%, and the development and performance of the Colombian market was not good due to the lockdowns at the beginning of the pandemic. However, the few segments in the whole market that saw growth were new energy vehicles including hybrids and electric vehicles. This is a new market mover and relates to around 4,000 vehicles sold in the EV segment. The growth is more than double digits and counts in some segments along with non EV vehicles as almost 100%. Colombia is one of the first countries in Latin America in terms of the sales of the EV segment. We held the number-one position in 2019 and 2018, and we also expect to be top within Latin American countries in 2020 in the sales of pure hybrid and electric vehicles. Motorysa has always looked to the future, and our portfolio is one of the most complete in the Colombian market. We are the distributors of the Mitsubishi Motors brand from Japan and were among the first electric vehicle sellers in Colombia in 2012. We have great experience in that electrical mobility vision with more than eight years' experience. We also distribute the brands of Mercedes-Benz including Freightliner, Fuso, and all the line of heavy trucks and premium vehicles.

What factors drove your decision to establish a partnership with BYD?

We were looking for a partner that could complete our portfolio and allow us to have the best one for the Colombian industry. Some five or six years ago, we started conversations with some brands, among them BYD, which is a Chinese company that started developing electric vehicles in 2006. Since 2013, it became one of the most important manufacturers of new energy vehicles NEV in the world, not only hybrid but also electric vehicles. BYD is one of the most complete and biggest conglomerates in that new energy vehicle segment and clean transportation systems in the world. When we met with BYD, we saw how the possibility of electrification was already realized in China and wanted to participate in that vision and technology in Colombia. We signed a deal to be the exclusive representatives of the BYD brand in Colombia at the end of 2019. Our strategy and business plan were to open the first showrooms in March 2020; unfortunately, due to the pandemic we had to stop everything, though we were able to launch the brand in July with a completely new digital format. At the end of 2020, we ended up with three new showrooms—two in Bogotá and one in Medellín—with some sales; already, the BYD brand is number one in sales in electric vehicles in Colombia. With the BYD brand along with Mercedes, Freightliner, Fuso, and Mitsubishi, we have one of the best offerings for the Colombian automotive market. In 2021, we are certain Motorysa will become the number-one seller of electric vehicles EV in Colombia.

Why is there so much interest in Colombia for electric and hybrid vehicles?

The vision of the government is extremely important; the last president also had a vision to make Colombia one of the most developed countries in Latin America in electric transportation. Since 2016, we have had one of the strongest regulations in getting incentives for importing and selling electric vehicles. That means the Colombian government already has, for example, zero duties, VAT, and consumption tax for electric vehicles imported into the country, which is great for customers and brands like Motorysa to import vehicles. Many believe electric vehicles are expensive; however, with those tax incentives, they are becoming similar in price to a normal internal combustion engine. Secondly, there is a clear vision and roadmap for electrification. For example, tier-one cities, such as Bogotá, Medellín, and Cali, must have a number of charging stations by 2023, and tier-two and later tier-three cities will subsequently have charging stations as well by law. New buildings being built in tier-one cities must have at least one or two charging stations for residents, and new commercial centers must have around 2% of total parking spaces completely dedicated to electric vehicles. By 2030, almost 100% of the replacement of the total government fleet must be electric. This is the perfect storm for having electric vehicles in Colombia. In Colombia, almost all the brands that are present worldwide can be found here. Importers are making a great effort to import the latest technology, and along with those incentives and media coverage, we are leading the way in Latin America. We are far ahead of Brazil and Mexico, the largest automotive market countries in the region. We are extremely pleased that some of the customers are starting to be more aware of electrification and clean energy missions.

What is your mission toward sustainability, and are you a Certified B company?

A Certified B Corp. company (B Impact Assessment, along with United Nations) is one of the most important certifications a company can receive. It is a brand that accounts for sustainability, equal gender rights, the environment, ethics at work, and financial responsibility. The company is evaluated in many areas, and when it reaches a particular score, it will get a badge and certification. We launched this process in 2019, and even during the pandemic we continued working toward the certification. At the moment, we have surpassed the minimum score for a Certified B company and hope to receive our certification this year. This is extremely important not only for Motorysa Colombia but also for our international relationships.