Keys to fleet growth discussed at Fleet LatAm Conference 2022
Developing strong policies, sharing knowhow, and optimizing pricing are key to driving successful fleet management in Latin America, according to the executive representatives of the founding partners of the 2022 Fleet LatAm Conference in Mexico City.
On 19 September the 2022 Fleet LatAm Conference opened with an executive panel with Kent Bjertrup, Regional Director Latam region at ALD Automotive, Juan Cardona, VP of Sales in LatAm at Geotab, and Robert Donahue, Senior Manager for Channel and International Sales at Lytx.
The three executives agreed that developing a more regional or internatioinal fleet strategy certainly makes sense in uncertain socio-economic times, and comes with a series of corporate benefits when developed carefully and with attention for local realities.
“Strong policies, which are regionally specific, need to be develop and this means defining the types of vehicles each driver profile will use, as well as policies related to seatbelt usage, driver speeding, environmental issues, and more,” said Mr. Donahue.
Mr. Donahue also noted that EV implementation can be put into your policy but it does pose a few challenges of which most of us know.
The share of knowhow is important in international operations, according to Kent Bjertrup of ALD.
This could mean bringing knowledge from abroad into Latin America such as electric vehicle (EV) related topics from Europe, but it could also mean learning from Latam and applying it abroad. (e.g. telematics practices),” said Mr. Bjertrup.
The main concern for fleet managers in Latin America is price, according to Juan Cardona of telematics provider Geotab.
“As such, we are aimed at helping them define what is a cost and what is an investment. Through telematics, we support manager decisions related to topics such as maintenance, fuel type, and other aspects associated with optimizing fleet efficiency,” Mr. Cardona said at the conference.
Not all bad
Although many challenges in Latin America were brought up, not all talks were negative. As vehicles are usually less technological on average, there are less microchips, so some models are somewhat protected from the lack of semiconductor supply throughout the world.
There is also a large number of locally produced cars in countries like Brazil and Mexico providing for the region, so this independence also supports the vehicle fleet industry to some extent.
In terms of Mexico, also mentioned during the conference was that unemployment, inflation, and that fuel price hikes were not as severe as in most other Latam countries.
2023 and beyond.
As a final question, the three executives also gave us an idea of what will be taking place in the next year or so.
“In 2023, we will be pushing our suite for reusable components, a valuable Lytx tool that uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine vision (MV) to help detect and manage high risk behavior such as tailgating and the crossing of red lights, among other things,” said Mr. Donahue.
Lytx has already made its move into Mexico and other countries are also being tapped into in collaboration with partners, being Ecuador, Peru, Chile, and Argentina.
“Among the main things we will be focused on next year are EV and telematics consulting. In fact, ALD has a specific EV project on the way, and we are working on a partnership with an OEM in the region of which we will be announcing soon,” said Mr. Bjertrup, declining to give away who the partner was.
In 2023, Geotab will continue to use data analytics. The company’s goal is to increase the use of applications and solutions through its MarketPlace, an ecosystem of business-focused applications and add-ons which can be used to optimize security and safety, and many other things.
“We have yet to venture into other business segments we already cover abroad. In Latin America, we only work in the corporate segment but there are others such as the OEM and private lease segments we have yet to explore in the region,” said Mr. Cardona.
The Fleet LatAm Conference, entitled "Unlocking international fleet growth in Latin America”, took place 19-20 September in Mexico City.
Photo: left to right, conference moderator Steven Schoefs, Robert Donahue, Juan Carlos, Kent Bjertrup (copyright: Fleet LatAm, Daniel Bland)