BEST IN CLASS

Mexico 2018 | INDUSTRY | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Flavio E. Rivera M., President & Director General of Daimler Vehículos Comerciales de México, on constant innovation, competitiveness, and Mexico's market potential.

Flavio E. Rivera M
BIOGRAPHY
Flavio E. Rivera M. has been in his current position since July 2017. He joined Daimler Trucks in 2005, after an almost 20-year career at Chrysler in diverse positions. He holds a degree in electrical and mechanical engineering from Instituto Tecnológico de Toluca and is a graduate of the Executive Management Program of IPADE.

What is your strategy to remain ahead of the competition?

Daimler has been leading the innovation and new technologies for the automotive industry not only in Mexico but worldwide. Since 2016, we have been leading the market. In 2017, for example, our brand acquired 39.5% market share in classes six, seven, and eight. There are a few features that helped us gain the number-one position. We have an extraordinary product; our Freightliner products are recognized in the market as leaders in every segment. We also have an extraordinary dealership, with over 80 different sites around the whole country that not only provide attention in sales but also service maintenance aftersales. Number two is our strength in financial services, Daimler Financial Services. We also have diversity in terms of different fuel systems or power systems, though the quality is the result of our factories in Mexico.

How is Mexico adapting to keep its industrial competitiveness in times of greater automation and digitalization?

As Daimler is a significant manufacturer with a high number of employees, this is a relevant topic for us. We are used to seeing people installing components and parts; however, even with technology we will require people. We will need technicians to provide maintenance as well as developers to create those patterns for processes. We will need people who analyze processes and continue to make improvements to the robots' efficiency. Probably, the number of people will be lower, though the diversity of functions will be higher. We need to enhance education levels and orient our education system to new technologies and innovation. Some time ago, Daimler was a pioneer in a concept called dual education, wherein one simultaneously studies in schools and practices their skills in the real world. Now, we continue to enforce this for Daimler, particularly for Daimler Vehículos Comerciales México, and it is absolutely a significant part of our social responsibility efforts.

What is the size of the Mexican domestic market in the big picture of your global commercial strategy?

In the commercial market side, Mexico's market is not as big as it should be. To grow the market in Mexico for commercial vehicles, we need investment, both private and public. Specifically regarding public investment, Mexico needs investment in infrastructure, roads, rail, communication, and more. For this, trucks and drivers will be needed, jobs will be created, and the commercial vehicles industry will be reinforced. Furthermore, Mexico has an old truck fleet. Other countries have fleets aged between five and seven years, while the average in Mexico is 18 years. There are more than 400,000 commercial trucks registered in Mexico, and truck owners need government-sponsored incentives to renew fleets. In Mexico, 80% of transportation companies own fewer than 30 trucks and only 20% of the companies registered in Mexico are large companies. This 80% of companies with smaller fleets do not necessarily have access to credit, incentives, or the means to renew their fleets. The third is providing transporters, and the industry in general, with greater trust in security. Security on the roads is crucial.

How do you cooperate with the Minister of the Environment to improve air quality in Mexican cities?

On the issue of pollution and how to control it, Daimler Vehículos Comerciales México has been one of the promoters of moving to new emissions standards. The new regulation for emissions was recently published, establishing the emissions regulations for diesel engines. We will adopt the most recent European regulations and incorporate them in Mexico. However, there are a few issues to iron out before these regulations are implemented in 2021. If we do not have the diesel with the highest quality needed for this technology, then our efforts will not work. We are asking the authorities for extremely low sulfur diesel in every single gas station across the entire country.