For Iveco, fiat’s commercial truck subsidiary, the year 2011 was one for the record books in Brazil. Not only did the group’s Brazilian affiliate finish the year with unprecedented sales, but it also increased its business by a whopping 50 percent in relation to 2010. In performing this feat, Iveco managed to gain a bigger chunk of the market; in the space of 12 months, it increased its share from 7.8 to 9.3 percent and geared up to surpass the 10 percent benchmark in 2012.
CONQUERING ALL SEGMENTS
According to Marco Piquini, Iveco’s director of communications, a number of factors came together to explain these impressive figures. One was the launch, in 2010, of the brand new Vertis model of medium-sized trucks. The first vehicle developed specifically for the Brazilian market, the Vertis was the company’s entrée to a whole new segment of trucks with an 8-15 ton capacity, representing 20 percent of the Brazilian truck market. Business also boomed due to the catching on of the Tector. With a 16 -26 ton capacity, this truck, introduced in 2009, paved the way for Iveco’s arrival in the even more important semi-heavy segment, which represents 33 percent of the overall market.
“Together, these two segments account for over 50 percent of the market. So the fact that we are consolidating our presence opens up a lot of future growth opportunities” underlines Piquini. “As it is, due to the Tector, we have already captured 10 percent of the semi-heavy segment. Since it’s such a big part of the total market, we also ended up increasing our overall share. Proportionally, we grew more than anyone else in the industry.”
The truth is that while other competitors – namely the leading triumvirate of Volkswagen, Mercedes, and Ford – have been operating in Brazil’s truck market for decades, Iveco is only just revving its engines. Although the company is no newcomer to Latin America – its plants in Venezuela and Argentina date back to the mid-20th century – it wasn’t until 1997 that it set up shop in the region’s largest automotive market. That year, Iveco invested in a 25.3 million square-foot site in Sete Lagos, Minas Gerais, close to where Fiat’s plant – today the largest in the world – had been installed since 1973. Over the next three years, the company set to work creating the most state-of-the-art truck manufacturing facility in the country.
Currently, around 15 percent of Iveco’s products are customized and the tendency is that this percentage will increase.
Other important market trends revolve around Brazil’s upcoming hosting duties of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, events that are propelling a massive increase in infrastructure projects, which in turn is driving a big demand for trucks destined for construction related activities. Meanwhile, as Brazilian cities are faced with increasingly snarled traffic – a result of a boom in car sales combined with woeful public transit systems – a number of municipalities have passed laws banning large trucks within urban zones. Predicting the continuation of this trend, Iveco is stepping up its sales of light trucks (with a 3.5-ton capacity) to transporters who are being forced to invest in smaller vehicles.
Speaking of benefits, 2012 promises many of them for Iveco. “We’re entering 2012 much better prepared to sustain growth because we have the structure, capacity, development, dealerships and trucks for every segment. Our plan now is to continue to grow ahead of the market so that we continue to increase our market share. If you consider that we’ve more than doubled it in the last five years – from 4 percent in 2006 to 9.3 percent in 2011 – we’ve definitely got the momentum. And now that everything else is in place, we’re in a position to really drive forward.”