The connection between Argentina and Mercedes-Benz It began in 1951 and it was so fruitful that it was the first factory of the star brand in our country installed outside Germany. So far, however he never had an Argentine president,
"We now have all the open spaces, no offices and no office," he says. Manuel MantillaThe new president of Mercedes-Benz Argentina refers to the new building in which the company operates.
"This design generates another dynamic that the current market requires, we are in a transition to what the future requires, the question is not what will happen, but how do you do it."
Manuel Mantilla, at the entrance of the new offices of the brand in the country, in Munro.
The only predecessor of the Argentine title "Mercedes" was that of Juan Manuel Fangyo, Yes, El Chueko, who in 1974 chaired the board of directors and was then named as the company's honorary president from 1987 to 1995 when he died. It can also be mentioned Jonathan Holcomb (2000-2004), born in the country, although he is Argentinian he had only DNI,
Only 68 years later, the subsidiary in Argentina has a local president. Mantilla, a graduate business administration, joined the brand 10 years ago and until then was responsible for the most important business Mercedes has in the country: Department for vans,
"We are thinking of launching the new generation of Sprinter produced in the country for the last quarter of 2019."
The arrival of Mantilla in the management of the local subsidiary takes place in a general context of an unfavorable market and, in particular, with a company simply canceled one of the most ambitious projects in recent years: the Class X pickupThe development in which Argentina has been involved from the outset will not be produced in Cordoba with the Nissan-Renault Alliance as planned.
– From the very beginning with the development of the Class X pick-up, what taste did you leave the decision not to do in the country?
– It was true. I was at the beginning of the project in 2011 or 2012. There was a whole team working very closely with Germany. We knew this was a huge challenge, but we were quite ready to face it. Last year the car stayed but we stayed readinessFinally, no agreement could be reached between Daimler and Nissan. And the truth is that it is very sad the solution that has been taken for all the efforts we make in it. But we really enjoyed the trip because we challenged many brand, process and what we did or did not succeed in doing.
– Why did the project work in Spain, the other enterprise where class X is produced, not here?
– It is true that the project started with the production in Barcelona and Latin America was a second step. I think this question is probably more about Nissan.
– Will you sell Class X in Argentina, even if imported?
– No. It is not part of the project.
– Have any units imported? What will happen to Class X?
"We are now in Chile. There were about 50 units.
– This year they have announced the end of the national production of the Vito …
– La Vito will continue to market. This will be imported from Spain. Here it stopped producing because it caught us very complicated first with the Brazilian market and now with Argentina, which also does not justify it.
– All industrial energy seems to be putting in the new Sprinter, how is the new generation coming?
– The big working horse we have is Sprinter. We think about launching in the last quarter of 2019. This is the new generation of this model, the third that is produced in the country. Our focus will also be on Argentina and Brazil, as well as other Latin American countries. Brazil is selling very well, as last year was the first in its segment. And in Argentina we have number 1 many years ago and it's very hard to stay there. That's why the idea is to surprise the market before you need a refreshed car.
The new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter was introduced last year in Europe.
– And what will this new generation Sprinter surprise?
– I'll tell you at the end of the year … the design changes. It will have a completely refreshed board, engine efficiency …
– But the new Sprinter will arrive in a market that is so difficult now, how do you see the automotive sector?
– The balance for us remains positive in terms of production in spite of everything. We have added an Accelo truck to the production line, and our plant works in two shifts with full capacity, with which we are very good in terms of employment. The big disappointment began last year when the market began to collapse in April. And I think the rest of 2019 will be more or less the same as what we live in. There is the field sector that contributes Vaca Muerta and the demand for the Brazilian market to help the economy. But with that we only compensate the sectors that are still bad. On average, we maintain this level of activity. Today there is a lot of uncertainty about the October elections. Once this is clarified, I hope you start seeing growth.
– How do you think the relationship between the automotive industry and Brazil will develop?
– Brazil is a strategic partner and this vision is bilateral MERCOSUR is convenient for both sides and any decision taken must be taken together because ultimately the two sides are interdependent In the short term, I do not think that with Mercosur something unusual happens. What is the way? That is exactly what is being discussed.
"The savings plan is our other big tool, with Vito and Sprinter working very well, we had the expected drop in subscriptions due to market news, but we have no gaps"
– Are there any chances to expand export destinations with the new Sprinter?
– Today, the Vans Division has a factory in the US, one in China, another in Africa, Germany, Spain and Argentina, of course. This presence of plants is strategic. And our focus is placed in this region. The same happens with other regions. We are currently focusing on Mercosur and some Latin American countries.
– It is not possible to send units to the United States. for example.
– We did it last year, but because the American factory I just started making and I had difficulty getting started. This speaks of the quality of the product we produce here, which can be sold without problems to the American market, made by Argentineans and components, which in many cases are also produced here.
"Developing electric cars is a country's policy rather than an automobile"
– Can we continue to support the local market, especially the commercial vehicle market, with the scarce funding available here?
– It helps us a lot to have Mercedes-Benz Financiera, our own financial company. They are focused on the automotive industry and this is essential for commercial vehicles. And here we offer opportunities in which we become competitive with the plans we imagine. Not with national levels that are very high. But we can subsidize these prices and make them attractive to customers.
Mantilla arrived at Mercedes-Benz 10 years ago.
– In the case of mass brands, the mourning plan has decreased a lot and there are many complaints from consumers, with quotas going to the clouds. How did you deal with commercial vehicles?
"This is our other great tool. With Vito and Sprinter it works very well. I do not know the plans of other brands in detail, but ours have quotas that change only by increasing the price list. I'm not saying there was a bit, but in other brands, in addition to the increase in price lists, there are plans with a deferred payment, with low fees at the beginning and then a lot. When you combine the two things that happen discomfort. We have the expected drop in subscriptions due to market news, but we have no gaps.
– car sharing is growing more and there are already some opportunities in Argentina. Can you apply such a system, but with commercial vehicles?
– It would be technically possible, but it would be necessary to define the legal framework to do this. And we do not have it today. With transport and freight vehicles there is a regulation that will not make it viable.
– The global electrification plan for Mercedes is very large. What are the projects for the country?
– The products we have. It is clear. Here we now offer the plug-in hybrid version of GLC. A few days ago, the first 100% electric unit of the Bremen factory, the EQC, the SUV with 500 km of autonomy and acceleration from 0 to 100 km / h in 5.1 seconds came out … Performance! But even though the products we have need to be accompanied by an appropriate infrastructure. This is a country's policy rather than an automobile. The Mercedes is to encourage all these changes and to accompany the country in future development. There are many mobility initiatives that are happening. Cars are there, infrastructure is needed.