Elias Massri
CEO
Giant Motors Latinoamérica
/
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Giant Motors Conquering the EV Market

By Alejandro Enríquez | Mon, 05/10/2021 - 06:00

Q: JAC has climbed from 30th to 20th place in terms of sales, while almost doubling its market share from 2018 to 2020. What is behind this success?

A: Our formula is always to evaluate our strengths and see how we can adapt to opportunities, risks and challenges. In December 2019, we started to introduce our EV lineup. We then launched our JAC.mx platform in January 2020. Both decisions helped us through the circumstances we are living in, particularly the digital element. Our platform offers potential customers the opportunity to buy a car digitally.

We did in three months what we thought we would develop gradually over two years. Our digital tool placed us in an advantageous position compared to others in the market, since we already had given it thought and structure before the pandemic hit. We further took advantage of the pause in online searches for vehicles to bolster our digital channels. While our competitors’ search results dropped around 30 percent, ours grew by 110 percent. If you talk when everyone else is silent, customers listen.

Our employees have also become digital entrepreneurs supporting our JAC Stores, which remained closed during the lockdowns. We thought not only about how to sell but how to get closer to our customers and strengthen our relationship. The platform became an entertainment website with different activities for all family members. Our goal was to remain present for our customers in a critical situation and our site became a website that they would open in the morning and close at night.

We also launched GM University to train all of our employees. It was also open to the general public. Our goal is to provide strategic training in sales and customer relationships, among other topics, and it has become a really important digital education platform.

We kept our launch programs on track and we did not delay new models. From the very beginning of the pandemic, we prepared for the worst-case scenario and, despite the situation, we opened three new JAC stores hand-in-hand with large dealership groups. We were among the few brands to grow their dealership network in 2020. All these elements helped us to cope with the situation.

Q: What is Giant Motors’ role in the Mexican automotive industry and what added value do you bring to customers?

A: The story of Giant Motors began 16 years ago. Four years ago, we launched JAC to compete in the Mexican light-vehicle market, which required an investment similar to that of any other OEM as we needed to translate JAC’s values to the Mexican context.

We learned from launching JAC to answer questions before they were asked, which translates to our five key offerings. First is our five-year warranty, which is a great challenge. Second, we are focused on an innovative approach and on young customers. A vehicle is not only a primary means of transportation but also a reflection of a person’s image, which forces us to provide a fully equipped vehicle that aligns with a young person’s mindset.

Third is safety. The Mexican family is more demanding when it comes to vehicle safety, so all our vehicles must meet these demands. The best way to communicate this is to find the best dealership group in each city and share our values with them. In fourth place, we have strategic partnerships with different banks, dealerships groups and financing branches to offer the best customer service.

The fifth element is the most relevant, which is our made-in-Mexico stamp. Our vehicles are supported by significant investments. We do not compete with importers.

Q: How is Giant Motors promoting the development of local suppliers amid the pandemic?

A: We have a joint venture in EV manufacturing with Moldex. When we resumed operations, we made sure we had enough vehicles to supply our dealership networks. By having the plant here in Mexico, it became easier to adjust to market needs. We adapted to the circumstances to protect our suppliers and the Hidalgo government helped us to accelerate cash flows necessary to keep operations going. We also helped smaller suppliers to keep going. These kinds of actions result in an unprecedented level of loyalty. We have retained all of our suppliers from before the pandemic. We took a step further when supporting individual salespeople at dealerships, advancing commissions and other benefits even though they are not employed formally by Giant Motors but by dealership groups.

Q: What role will EVs play within your market strategy?

A: Electrification is not coming, it is already here. We differ a little from other brands that have plans to introduce an EV portfolio in 2025 or 2030. Globally, there are more than 3 million vehicles powered by alternative energy sources and 75 percent of them are electric.

In Mexico, the authorities have not set standards to restrict the use of ICE vehicles as other countries have. Meanwhile, we have what I call a cultural block, as there are many misconceptions regarding charging infrastructure, ownership costs and vehicle performance. We have vehicles with 500km of autonomy and even if a person were to drive 30km every day, a single charge could last more than a week.

Since we are focused on a young market, we have introduced an entire lineup of electric vehicles. All JAC models have an electric twin, which means we offer the exact same model in an electric version. We do the same with spare parts and accessories, which makes life easier for dealerships, users and workshops. We have also introduced last-mile-delivery EVs too. EVs can provide substantial savings for individuals but the savings are even greater for corporate fleets. Last month, our sales represented 60 percent of all new EVs in the country, both in the light- and commercial-vehicle segment, so we believe in what we do.

Q: What are Giant Motors' plans for the future?

A: 2021 is a year to grow and consolidate our brand. Today, we have 41 JAC stores. We continue to grow our market share, while also supporting our partners in their areas of influence. We will continue to launch new products, which leads to marketing challenges. We are working on adapting our models to meet the market’s requirements. In March, we celebrated four years with the JAC brand and we reported a 128 percent increase in sales compared to March 2020. Our strategy involving digital channels and dealership training will make 2021 a really important year for the brand.

 

Giant Motors Lationamérica is a Mexican automotive assembly company focused on the production of commercial and passenger vehicles for the Mexican market. The company partnered with JAC Motors in 2017 to assemble and market the latter’s passenger vehicles in Mexico.

Photo by:   Giant Motors
Alejandro Enríquez Alejandro Enríquez Journalist and Industry Analyst