Jan Hegner
CEO
Daimler Buses México
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View from the Top

New Buses and New Shops to Keep Them Running

Fri, 09/01/2017 - 10:16

Q: Mexico is the number three market for Daimler Buses globally. How will you keep growing your presence here?

A: We have been a leading player in Mexico for the past 19 years. This country is so important for Daimler that we developed a unique bus for the domestic market that is not sold anywhere else in the world. This model, the Boxer, has been the most-sold bus in the country for many years. In 2016, we unveiled new innovative solutions that are fully oriented toward the needs of our clients, including the new Toreto bus. Other strategies include the launch of the Safety Bus system, which makes Daimler buses the safest in the market, and the inauguration of Center Bus service points across the country that guarantee our customers receive constant attention. Our broad and technological product portfolio and an aftersales service approach has helped us maintain our foothold in the market, coupled with our financing solutions supported by Daimler Financial Services México and a strong distribution network.

Q: Now that Safety Bus will be available in Mexico, how do you expect that to boost demand for Daimler units?

A: A high percentage of bus accidents are caused by human error. Passengers want to travel safely and bus operators want to offer safe travel. With Safety Bus, we can offer a special platform for the bus segment, with state-of-the-art technology that can decrease accidents and minimize their impact. We have shown the advantages of Safety Bus to clients around the country and we think it will be a great incentive for companies to renovate their fleet.

Q: In terms of distribution, what advantages does the Center Bus program offer to clients?

A: Center Bus is our innovative concept for the care, preservation and maintenance of Mercedes-Benz buses. It is a joint service offered by dealerships and our aftersales division, with the goal of increasing customer satisfaction. We already have a highly experienced distribution network and the services offered by Center Bus will take it to the next level. Our objectives with Center Bus are to offer a service that is 100 percent specialized in buses, with trained and qualified technicians. Facilities are adapted to optimize response times and clients always receive clear, professional and quality information to help them in their decision-making process. Lastly, all our Center Bus service points are built to enhance the comfort of our operators and are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It takes a dealership approximately one year to become a certified Center Bus point. Personnel must be trained, including collaborators, managers, technicians and the entire sales force. Currently there are four Center Bus service points in Mexico and our goal is to open two more by the end of 2017.

Q: How are you protecting revenues against the peso’s weak position versus the US dollar?

A: The Mexican market requires constant vehicle renovation, which is why despite the unfavorable economic conditions the country might face, the industry remains stable. This helps us have a clear perspective of how the market will behave. Whatever economic certainty we can offer to our clients is a key factor in maintaining our company’s profitability. We know that 80 percent of our clients invoice their operations in pesos and for this reason we have changed our own pricing to pesos since March 2015. In an effort to keep this from harming our finances, we have established a nationalization strategy for our parts and components-sourcing operations. We follow that same strategy with our spare parts portfolio.

Q: How has the Toreto been received in Mexico and what are your projections for this model?

A: Marketing Toreto was an excellent idea. The bus was designed to meet the mobility demands of large cities, including Mexico City. We sold 150 units in the first six months of the year and we are confident that its success will continue during the second half of the year. We see Toreto as an opportunity to renovate the microbus fleet in the city. This will transform Mexico’s vehicle park and will reinforce our commitment to urban mobility.