Mendoza (special envoy).- The last months have been of movement in the world Renault. Between news and celebrations, the French firm presented in the province of Mendoza the new oroch, with its own identity and several surprises to continue its momentum in the compact van segment. In the middle of the launch Paul Sibilla, Chairman and CEO of Renault Argentina, met with THE NATION and left his vision of what happens behind closed doors and the difficult context that the industry is going through around the world.
With this product in hand, the goals are set. By 2022, Renault plans to sell 500 units and, in a full year, to reach 2,000. However, if the context is different, explains Sibilla, “We would probably sell more.” In Argentina, we talk a lot about obstacles to imports, lack of products and dollars and it is in this world that all international companies operate. There are many measures to mitigate the consequences and none is, for sure, an infallible recipe; in the case of car manufacturers, for example, the strategy focuses on the selection of marketable cars.
“We decided to put on hold the launch of other vehicles like the Kwid because we could offer substitute vehicles to customers and spend the dollars to import other models that we cannot replace in any way like a Duster or an Oroch,” he explained. Their advantage, he said, is that they are “the only brand to offer such a wide range of vehicles made in Argentina”, which allows them to avoid some of the many import problems. “Like any brand, you have a certain quota [para importaciones] that you negotiate with the government and You decide what you want to bring or not. These are tough decisions but they have to be made.”
This causes a reversal, of course. And in addition to changing import priorities, there are also productive ones. Locally produced vehicles must have sufficient volume so that stock lost due to the inability to enter cars does not hit the company. The premise: “How can I optimize my portfolio given the given scenario and available dollars? » In addition to the above, domestic manufacturing is becoming a priority and in this Renault has found good results. “This year we are going to manufacture 78,000 cars, 65% more than last year. We took a second shift very recently that we would have done before, but we weren’t clear on semiconductor availability,” Sibilla explained.
However, this scenario also has its complexity. “[El tema] tires are problematic for pickup trucks. Tires, components and semiconductors too. The supply chain is very complex and continues day after day. Sometimes there are micro-stops of half a day or two hours. This is one of the most stressful times for our industrial workers,” he warned. On the other hand, with regard to the units stopped at customs, Sibilla acknowledged not too many locks in the port. “We need to have 1,000 to get in,” he calculated.
“To export there are not many stops but it is important to count that when the pandemic arrived and the global market came to a complete standstill, the shipping companies canceled the routes that were perhaps less profitable and the ships that were doing those routes and were old flayed (discarded). So when the market came back the boats were missing. You want to export and it is difficult for you to get space. I happen to have cars stopped in the port because the passing ship had no room and I was only able to get 60%“, he also added.
Sibilla was very moved by the work that Renault is getting ready in terms of design. “The brand is moving in this direction: more C-segment vehicles, more enriched, with a more technological design and good vehicles. In the next two, three years, super cute things will be seen, the designs that are going to be seen are really very beautiful and they are going to see a very substantial change in the exterior design of the brand”, he summarized.
Concretely, by 2023, several plans are in preparation and in Argentina Mégane E-Tech, Kwid E-Tech, Kangoo E-Tech and Arkana E-Tech could be seen in addition to the return of the Kwid in all its versions. “It’s a car we like, the restyling was very nice and it will come back. When there are more dollars available, it will come back“, he explained.
Meanwhile, the bet is on the plant in Santa Isabel, in the province of Córdoba, whose aim is that “become a hub for commercial vehicles.” “It’s an ambition that we have, then we will have to continue to work with projects that align with the parent company. Recently, José Vicente de los Mozos, CEO delegate for Latin America, was there and confirmed this trend. We are working well in this direction. I feel comfortable saying that we are on the right track“, he concluded.