Miguel Plazas
Sales, Product and Marketing Director
GM Financial de México
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View from the Top

Different Brands Need Different Strategies

Fri, 09/01/2017 - 13:03

Q: What were GM Financial’s results in 2016 and how did you bank on the domestic market’s development?

A: The number of car loans we granted grew by 68 percent compared to 2015, totaling 177,428 vehicles. Our synergy with GM and its dealer network nurtured this development. Both the OEM and GM Financial have generated a strong message to target customers based on an attractive portfolio of vehicles and financial services easy to implement. The used vehicle market also holds potential and is already presenting the highest growth in the company at approximately 45 percent in 2016. Our dealer network is increasing used-vehicle sales, fueled by our certified used-vehicle program.

GM Financial has also benefited from overall growth in the domestic market and the importance the industry is placing on financing. Customers are finding it much easier to buy vehicles thanks to the array of credit options available. We offer low down-payments of about 5 percent of the car’s total cost and payment plans of up to 72 months.

Q: As the financing arm for all GM brands, how does your strategy differ for each?

A: We adapt strategies to the market we want to target. The celebration of our 85th anniversary in 2016 marked the launch of a successful project, separating divisions for each of GM’s brands. In 2017, we announced Chevrolet Servicios Financieros, Buick Financial Services, GMC Financial Services and Cadillac Financial Services, creating a specific branding strategy for each type of client. Chevrolet benefits from a focus on interest-free and low monthly payments, extended warranties and a wide portfolio of insurance options. Our luxury brands Buick, GMC and Cadillac show better results from our leasing solutions. We started offering leasing Chevrolet in 2016 but we already see an excellent opportunity for this market in Mexico market thanks to fiscal advantages and the attraction of being able to replace a vehicle every 36 months.

Q: What are your strategies to remain among the top two financing companies in the Mexican market?

A: Our main target is to create long-lasting relationships with customers. If we focus our efforts and innovations toward cultivating customer loyalty, success and industry leadership will ensue. In 2016, we managed to offer 84.7 percent of GM’s sales with financing, which was the largest participation any financing partner had with its own brand. This shows that our collaboration with dealers is paying off. We reached the top position in automotive financing in January 2017 and we are certain we will see this result sustained. We are subject to possible changes in the domestic market’s demand but we will keep supporting GM and its goals. We expect to continue financing at least 84.7 percent of GM’s sales and the first half of 2017 indicated we were at 86 percent.

Q: What role do you expect digital channels to play in GM Financial’s development?

A: We keep looking for easier ways for customers to replace their old vehicles with new ones. One of the best strategies to connect with them is through social media and other online resources, so we have invested heavily in our website and launched an aggressive social media campaign in collaboration with GM. We are already contacting customers via email and text messages with the goal of maintaining permanent contact with them. These investments are proving efficient and digital media is emerging as the future for brand awareness and market positioning.

Q: How risky do you think elongated financing plans are for the industry and for your operations?

A: Our overdue portfolio has remained stable. We have grown consistently by not risking uncertainty in payment plans. Although we offer elongated loan terms of up to 72 months, not all customers choose this option. Depending on their needs, we find the best payment scheme to finance their purchase. Even before the plan is paid off, we invite customers to renew their contract by leaving their used car at the dealership and get a new one. This strategy has been very effective for ensuring a healthy payment strategy and has helped customers move from an entry compact model to a higher-end vehicle or even an SUV.