7 Jul 21

2021 first semester review: Latin America fleet, mobility

The automobile fleet and mobility industries have had to innovate themselves in face of the COVID-19 pandemic but what happened in Latin America in the first semester of 2021?  

For more information on the state of the fleet market in Latin America and other fleet and mobility topics in the region, visit the Latin America regional stream of the Global Fleet Conference 2021. 

Below is a brief snapshot of some of the things that took place in the region from January to June this year, mainly actions related to automakers, vehicle leasing companies, and telematics firms. 

First of all, Brazil’s largest car rental and leasing company Localiza and US-based telematics solutions provider CalAmp kicked off the year announcing a new multi-year agreement aimed at revamping the car rental industry and providing innovative mobility solutions in Brazil. 

In 2020, Localiza had a fleet of 292,159 vehicles, being 216,334 rent-a-car and 61,652 fleet leasing (source: Localiza)

With CalAmp's intelligent telematics powering connectivity and Localiza's Fleet Management Software Platform, the car provider can manage vehicles across its rental fleet in real-time to better understand vehicle status, such as battery health, road traffic, location, preventative maintenance, and servicing.

Also in the first semester, Israel-based video telematics firm Cipia kicked off a partnership with US-based IT solutions company Intcomex to provide driver monitoring solutions for commercial fleets in Latin America and the Carribean.  

Formerly known as Eyesight Technologies, Cipia provides AI computer vision in-cabin automotive solutions, an essential tool in preserving road safety in face of the rising number of vehicle accident related injuries and deaths in the region. 

Meanwhile, IoT and connected transportation specialist Geotab has recently announced its entry into the Brazilian fleet market through Geotab Telemática Ltda, a move that will further expand the Canadian-based company's service offerings and overall reach throughout Latin America. 

A global leader in solutions for fleet management and vehicle tracking, Geotab leverages data analytics and machine learning to help customers improve productivity, optimize fleets through the reduction of fuel consumption, enhance driver safety, and achieve regulatory compliance. 

In terms of automakers, the region's leading player General Motors (GM) announced in May that it is planning to launch a new compact Chevrolet pickup in Brazil and Argentina next year (2022). 

The new model is reported to be positioned below the S10 pickup and be produced at the São Caetano do Sul plant in the Brazilian state of São Paulo and the Rosário plant in the Argentinian province of Santa Fé. 

It will join the ranks of the growing popularity of smaller sized trucks in the region such as the Fiat Toro, Ford Maverick, Renault Oroch, Hyundai Santa Cruz, and Volkswagen Tarok. 
Meanwhile, up north in Mexico, GM security and connectivity service OnStar has kicked off its online vehicle fleet management platform Fleet Complete in the country. The platform is a tool designed to help companies reduce operating costs by providing fleet managers with useful and relevant vehicle usage data in real time. 
Regarding Ford in South America, however, it has announced that it will be shutting down all its vehicle production in Brazil as part of its global restructuring plan aimed at cutting costs and increasing efficiency.  

The company, which has been operating in Brazil for more than100 years, has seen significant losses in sales in face of the COVID-19 pandemic and will be closing down its factories in Camaçari (Bahia), Taubaté (São Paulo), and Horizonte (Ceará) by year-end 2021.  Regional production, however, will still be occurring in Argentina and Uruguay. 

Executive Appointments 
In the first semester of the year, Mercedes-Benz appointed Dirlei Dias to head post-sales for its Cars and Vans unit in Brazil and Hilke Janssen was announced as the new CEO of Mercedes-Benz bank in the country. 

Roberto Gasparetti was also appointed director of marketing and sales for the company’s car division in Argentina and Jose Marcelo Calonga has taken over for Mr. Gasparetti as manager of dealership network development for Latin America. 
Meanwhile, Mike Manley started off the year as head of operations in the Americas region for automotive manufacturing corporation Stellantis (PSA-FCA) and Sétimo Spini was appointed by Volkswagen as after sales director in South America. 

In terms of leasing companies, Localiza appointed Eugenio Matter as Board of Directors Chairman, Oscar Bernardes as Vice-Chairman, and Bruno Lasansky as CEO. At the same time, multinational group Arval appointed Luc Soriau as General Manager in the Latam region (Brazil, Chile, Peru, Colombia). 

Lastly, Brazilian bank Itau Unibanco appointed Silvia Barcik to head VEC Itaú, the bank’s shared electric vehicle (EV) solution. 

Authored by: Daniel Bland