J. Arturo Zapata
President
Corporación Zapata
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View from the Top

Blockades to Evolutionary Steps Must Be Demolished

Tue, 09/01/2015 - 16:31

Q: How will Corporación Zapata seize the new opportunities that are arising after a number of challenging years?

A: Beyond the potential return of investment for prospective projects, Corporación Zapata looks at three factors when evaluating business opportunities. The first is how to add value to our potential customers and partners in a differentiated and sustainable way. The second is how to better meet our potential customers’ expectations, while going beyond the scope of our competitors. The third is how to provide opportunities for growth to our employees. In terms of customer and employee satisfaction, Corporación Zapata wants to be the absolute leader in its industry. We are already a Great Place to Work® and a reference in terms of customer satisfaction, but our goal is to be the best in our industry. With that in mind, we will continue investing, hiring exceptional people, empowering and training them, listening to our customers, and researching and developing new solutions to our customers’ problems and challenges. The areas of opportunity that Corporación Zapata will pursue going forward will depend entirely on these three pillars. Whatever projects our board decides to pursue, we must do so in a way that supports the community, which is something that we and our stockholders are committed to. We do not want to be perceived simply as a socially responsible company; to us, social responsibility is a way of life. We dedicate a significant percentage of our profits to the needs of those who are less fortunate, and work with all of our employees to encourage them to donate part of their time and talents to the same cause, whether in Mexico or throughout Latin America.

Q: How are you taking advantage of the increased demand for light vehicles that has resulted from the growing popularity of ride sharing services such as Uber?

A: It is a very interesting market. We are working with Mazda and Ford on leasing projects for people who have contracts to work for Uber. In general, a contract with Uber provides a reasonable guarantee that the driver will be able to make the payments in time. Uber is also supporting this perception by agreeing to deactivate drivers who fail to make consistent payments. This is an example of mutual collaboration that ends up helping all of the involved stakeholders. The main challenge right now is that the government is unpredictable. Many finance companies are worried that the government may succumb to pressures by taxi unions, and start restricting Uber’s operations. If individuals lease a vehicle for this purpose, and then Uber is shut down a few months later, they will be in serious trouble. Even if the owners were willing to pay, they would not have a source of income. As citizens, we need to show the government that we support Uber and other similar efforts by private companies to address challenges that people face on a daily basis. If the government publically expresses its support for all types of ridesharing services, then it will significantly stimulate their growth and development in an orderly and lawful way.

Q: How is Corporación Zapata helping to create an environment in which the government is more susceptible to these kinds of changes?

A: We are in the process of forming an association of leasing companies in Mexico called Asociación Mexicana de Arrendadores de Vehículos (AMAV). The objective of the association will be to work with the government to resolve concerns from both sides, and develop solutions that support the development of more efficient and sustainable transportation models. One example is to work with Congress to improve laws and make leasing much more widely available. Under the current laws, it can take years for leasing companies to repossess vehicles. That is why according to the best estimates, leasing represents about 0.5% of the total new vehicle market in Mexico, while in more developed economies it surpasses 20% of all new vehicles sold.

Q: What can be done in order to address the needs of the citizens?

A: The world is truly adopting a more dynamic, flexible, and concentrated working culture, eventually resulting in less traffic and an increase in people walking to work and riding bicycles. We have to make our cities friendlier towards this trend. In Mexico City, for example, cyclists risk their lives to ride in a place where cars are king, but this has to change. One of the potential changes that we will have to embrace is the construction of functional parking buildings on the city’s outskirts, so that people can then use public transportation within the city’s core