Marcelo Tezoto, GM South America: Recent Achievements, Upcoming Goals
Despite South America’s recent economic downturn, auto industries in many countries have begun to show signs of comebacks. General Motors, which actually fared well during the slump, is focused on even bettering its vehicle sales, especially in Brazil and Argentina.
The US automaker’s regional head of direct sales Marcelo Tezoto tells Global Fleet about the company’s recent achievements and upcoming goals.
Economies in South America are improving. Which countries is GM focused on?
As we have been the sales leader for 17 consecutive years in South America, the region is definitely strategic for the company. We intend to continue to offer products and services that best meet demands, and this is especially so for Brazil and Argentina, both of which are recovering economically.
With our renewed portfolio focusing on new technologies, energy efficiency, and connectivity, we see much opportunity in the region.
What is the profile of the South American car buyer?
Historically speaking, the demand for vehicles in South America entails cost effective compact cars.
However, consumers are increasingly looking for more equipped vehicles and those with more technology, so much so that Chevrolet Onix has taken over as the No. 1 seller in the region. It has even surpassed other models which are smaller and more affordable.
Specifically in Brazil, the Onix is a phenomenon. Besides reaching record sales in November, we have been selling nearly twice as many cars as the second place contender.
In Argentina, the car has also shown tremendous success. It is the fastest growing model in terms of volume and market share, for both the sedan and hatch versions.
2018 Chevrolet Onix (CREDIT: GM)
What does GM have to offer to corporate fleet managers?
As GM offers innovative technologies for connectivity and energy efficiency, the company has a complete product line designed to meet the needs of both retail and wholesale consumers. We also offer differentiated and exclusive services through preferential fleet programmes through our dealership network.
What is the company doing in terms of electric vehicles (EV) and autonomous vehicles (AV) in the region?
Electrification and autonomous cars are two major changes around the corner. There is no doubt that South America has much to benefit from these technologies and we want to be a part of it.
For EV, GM wants to be the worldwide leader in the market so much so that it is planning to launch 20 new EV models by 2023. As for AV, the company has already produced its first large batch of true AVs, a total of 180 units.
Overall, GM believes in an all-electric, emissions-free, and non-congested future.
In comparison to many regions around the world, adopting of these technologies is a bit slow in South America. Why is this?
The biggest challenges right now are those related to the development of policy and regulation, in addition to the need for improved infrastructure.