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Héctor Hirata

Managing Director, Lexus

Nazareth Black

CEO, Zacua

In such a competitive automotive market like Mexico, companies differentiate themselves with more customized offerings and better customer service.
What steps is the company taking toward introducing EVs in Mexico?

HÉCTOR HIRATA Lexus will do this step by step, which is our company’s way of proceeding; we are extremely methodical. We are starting strongly with hybrids. That is the first step, and our mother brand Toyota has facilitated our work. The technology is already well-known, especially in Mexico City. In just a few months, we managed to make 70% of our vehicles hybrids and intend to keep the level high. This is among the highest level on a regional level. For example, last year in the US, we had 18% hybrid vehicles, and so we have started on the right foot. We aim to be a carbon neutral brand and already have a complete electrification plan for 2030, as announced last December. It will be gradual, though. We will not launch electric vehicles in Mexico until we are sure that the market is ready, although it is a certainty.

NAZARETH BLACK: We entered a niche market as a small electric car brand. It is like swimming upstream; the industry works one way, and we are going in the opposite direction by focusing only on electric vehicles. We have dealt with the challenges well because our staff is made up of dedicated people, and we have experience in the subject. You need a great deal of emotional intelligence, determination, motivation, and patience, because you know it will not be easy. Why not a Mexican electric vehicle brand? The country is among the top five of assemblers, vehicle, and component exporters globally, it has the skills and industry, so why not a local electric car? You do not require that much funding to produce an electric car, unlike a normal one, only intelligence and creativity. With that idea hanging there, we bet on starting this project.

How do you look to differentiate yourself from other luxury brands in the country?

HH: Lexus is still engaged in a local expansion process. We are a young luxury brand, born just 32 years ago. Lexus is already present in many countries, including in Latin America, and Mexico is the 92nd market for Lexus. Here, we have heard many people eagerly awaiting our vehicles. It is incredible how much people already know the brand. We do see an opportunity to differentiate ourself here. One of our foundations is the spirit of Motenashi, which brings Japanese hospitality to the industry. This is a foundation for the brand globally. We have had much training with five agencies to instill this philosophy. It is not just about hospitality, but also about offering excellent service for sales and after-sales. That is where we can mark a difference in service. We enjoy substantial logistics support. The corporate assistance from the of US is important, and compared to the industry, we have shorter waiting times, which clients appreciate We intend to improve the sales and after-sales service standard. We have dedicated many hours of training to the sales force, and they have been assimilating the philosophy. We created a figure called Lexus Coach, unique to our market who trains staff to ensure that the best possible customer experience.

How do you plan to expand and diversify your business model?

NB: We have to rebuild the main idea and evolve rapidly. We started with this idea of an electric car, and when it arrived, we started to receive different data than what we had expected. We evolved and adjusted accordingly, and now we are working on a second electric vehicle brand that will only focus on utility vehicles. Instead of being just an electric car brand, we have become an electric mobility group. We will have a second brand of utility vehicles. We are also working on some micro transportation projects, like small vehicles schematics. We initially only planned to be in Mexico, but there has been so much interest from many other countries, and we are working on exporting projects and exporting our own ideas. We will create a model, similar to a franchise, that we will send with our technology to other countries, so they can build their own similar factories. We have held talks with Turkey, Spain, and others in South America and Africa. Another part of our business has to do with soft landings, where we offer any vehicle brand that comes to Mexico housing, infrastructure, manpower, facilities, and so on to settle here, like an assembler. Everything is under the name of Motores Limpios, the group that manages Zacua.

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