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Matthieu Tenenbaum

CEO, Renault — Sofasa

Lara Zhang

Regional Director, BYD

The high level of talent in Colombia combined with the government's extremely attractive policies have meant car manufacturers have much to be optimistic about in the medium to long term.

How do you ensure you remain at the forefront of innovation and succeed in the upcoming transition to electric vehicles (EVs)?

MATTHIEU TENENBAUM We are global pioneers in the EV world. Colombia comprises over 50% of EV sales in the region. A great deal of work was done to bring the right electric vehicles to the market. We just renovated Zoe, Twizy, and Kangoo. The ecosystem, namely the providers of electricity and infrastructure, are key as well. Moving forward, we want to make this leadership sustainable. First, we are looking at other possible vehicles to bring into the country that could fit the needs of the customers here. We are also looking at other technologies that could bring value to the market, like hybrid technology. We want to ensure we maintain a solid portfolio.

LARA ZHANG Right now is the moment for EVs; the segment is growing fairly large within the automotive industry, not only for BYD, but for other brands as well. Second, the Colombian government has a great promotion policy for electric mobility. Companies that invest in electric mobility could get a reduction on the income taxes too. The third factor is that more and more investors have a green mobility strategy and are keen to invest in Colombia. We have international investors coming here, including some important players, such as international funds and energy companies, as well as local investors. Besides, the infrastructure is ready to receive this new technology with the investment from local energy companies.

How is Renault-Sofasa contributing to the economic reactivation of Colombia?

MT Employment is one way in which Renault-Sofasa contributes to the economy. We are working hard with our suppliers to follow trends in the industry, invest in new technologies, and step up their speed, capability, and quality to make sure the entire industry is moving up, which contributes to the country and the reactivation of the economy, thereby maintaining employment and continuing to develop our capabilities. We also help our suppliers be a platform for exports. We started two years ago and now have six parts that we are exporting. This is key because it brings more business to our suppliers, which is positive for us as well.

BYD formed a partnership with the Mayor of Bogotá for the biggest acquisition of electric buses globally outside of China. What does this mean for the company?

LZ When TransMilenio decided to accept electric buses as its public service solution, it became an example for many other cities and will influence their change. Public transportation standards of TransMilenio in Bogotá are quite high, which is why we developed several models and did a great deal of testing and improving. The fact that our buses have been accepted is an important recognition for BYD of our brand, technology, complete solution, and services. Because of this, the company is giving more attention, support, and investment to Colombia to deliver on our commitment and guarantee the best transport services as another successful example for the world and other companies to see.

How have export-led growth and expansion to the Central American and Andean market remained principles for the company?

MT Renault-Sofasa has been extremely successful in exporting, and it is due to innovation and having the best production standards. Our competition as a manufacturing plant is not GM in Colombia, but other Renault plants in other countries. We need to be competitive, and it is key for our industry. We need a stronger supply base in Colombia and a competitive supplier base in Colombia. One of the key areas that we are extremely focused on is excellence, meaning we benchmark every possible plant of Renault and then locally adapt things to our philosophy to allow for continuous improvements, based on our talent. We have 500 of our operators in small teams working every day on improving quality, ergonomics, competitiveness, and productivity, and it is an ongoing process.

How big of a role does innovation plan in BYD’s operations?

LZ Innovation always remains part of our company’s core mission. We have a strong R&D team, and we pay high importance in the investment of R&D all the time. In March 2020, we launched BYD’s latest battery technology called Blade Battery. This is the newest achievement in the world, and the technology enables batteries to be made with higher density, smaller size, and higher safety. BYD is constantly leading in battery technology. We also invest R&D on other technologies related to electric mobility, such as motors, high voltage controlling systems, and other vehicles systems. We maintain the leading position in the world because we never stop innovating.



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