CABO SAN LUCAS, Mexico — Canada’s market share leader, Daimler, is now setting its sights on dominance of the Mexican truck market.
Daimler Trucks North America executives shared their ambitious plans for a Mexican market full of potential at a special press briefing here today. Daimler Trucks has been operating in Mexico for more than 40 years and runs two plants and more than 90 sales points across the nation, believed by many economists to be the one with the most growth potential over the next decade. Daimler Trucks Mexico is already the largest commercial vehicles manufacturer operating in Mexico, pumping out about 60,000 trucks per year.
“We are driving to become the undisputed market share leader in Mexico but that is easily said and you don’t just decide to be the market leader; you earn it, ” said Stefan Kurschner, president and CEO of Daimler Trucks Mexico.
One of the ways to “earn it’, according to Kurschner, is to concentrate on building a product portfolio that specifically addresses Mexican requirements rather than pushing products initially designed to serve American needs.
“We don’t want to just copy American products. We want Mexican products for the Mexican market,” he said.
Daimler Trucks Mexico currently covers the market with options from Class 4 to 8, which Kurschner said was the widest product range for all applications. The Saltillo plant in the state of Coahuilla was built in 2009 with a gutsy $300 million initial investment during the heart of the Great Recession and is one of the most modern in Daimler’s worldwide lineup. It has produced more than 136,000 Cascadia trucks since its opening. The Santiago Tianguistenco plant in the state of Mexico had a $45 million upgrade last year, aimed at process improvements. About 300,000 Freightliner models have been churned out at this plant.
But one of the challenges for Daimler, and any truck manufacturer trying to grow in the Mexican market, is Mexican fleet owners’ penchant for hanging on to old iron. There are fewer than 150,000 commercial trucks less than 10 years old in the Mexican market. In contrast, there are almost 118,000 aged 11-20 years and almost 155,000 that are more than 21 years.
“I don’t have to tell you what that means from a safety and environmental perspective,” Kurschner said, adding that’s a problem that can best be solved by placing restrictions on the age of used trucks that can be imported into Mexico and/or incentives to purchase new.