We got our start when NAFTA came into effect,” says Gabriel Garcia, president of Utility Trailers de Mexico, S.A. de C.V., a company that specializes in state-of-the-art trailers and transportation products and services. “Our objective was to import utility trailers into Mexican territory.” To that end, the company signed a contract with Utility Manufacturing Company, a leading producer of lightweight trailers based in the United States.
From that point on, Utility Trailers de Mexico began importing trailers from the United States, an activity that Garcia notes was not possible before NAFTA came into effect. Over the years, the company has added a number of other brands to its product line. “What we’ve tried to do is have a product line that is as complete as possible,” Garcia explains.
Today, the company has branches set up in five metropolitan areas: Monterrey, Guadalajara, León, Nuevo Laredo, and Tepotzoltán, a suburb of Mexico City. In addition to selling other products, the company has started its own brand, known as Optima. “We started the Optima line as a way to complement the products that we bring in from the United States.”
“We started with Utility products, and still carry that product line,” says Garcia. The line includes dry vans, reefers, flatbeds, and curtain-sided trailers. In the dry van line, Utility offers the 4000D-X Composite, a lightweight trailer designed to carry large loads. It also has an interior made to prevent snags, air ride suspension, and a weather tight floor system, among other features.
Utility’s reefers, which are set up to carry material that needs to be refrigerated, hold a high percentage of the Mexican market. “The reefer is Utility’s premium product,” explains Garcia. “In the United States it has a market share of more than 50 percent. In Mexico, we have a market share that is higher than 65 percent in the refrigerated sector.”
The 3000R model is the best selling reefer in North America. Known for its durability and versatility, the 3000R is equipped to maintain the desired temperature inside and keep out the humidity. Its floor is designed to hold up to 16,000 pounds, and has additional support in the back to accommodate freight elevators and lifts used to load the goods.
In the area of flatbeds, Utility offers clients a number of options, including the 2000S, an all-steel flatbed made for heavy-duty use. It can carry up to 30 tons of material. The flatbed itself, however, weighs just 4,890 kilograms.
The Tautliner by Utility is the only one of its kind to be manufactured completely by just one company. As a combination of a dry van and flatbed, this curtain-sided model allows clients to load goods onto the bed of the truck. The curtain sides protect the material from outside elements.
In addition to Utility products, the company also carries a number of other brands. In the area of tanks, Utility Trailers de Mexico carries a wide assortment of Polar products. Its tanks are designed to haul critical materials such as chemicals, acids, and alcohols. It also has tanks for milk, dairy products and honey, among others. Polar produces dry vans for carrying grain products, plastics, flour, sugar, and other goods.
Utility Trailers de Mexico carries a line of CEI Pacer bulk trailers, which are geared for the animal feed industry. “We are the absolute leaders in Mexico in this market,” says Garcia. “We are the only ones in the industry that offer this type of transportation for these products.” Top companies in Mexico have taken notice of this. “Bachoco, the absolute leader in this market, uses only our products for its animal feed.”
Recently Utility Trailers de Mexico added another brand, Wilson Trailers, to its product mix. Its product line includes livestock trailers, as well as bulk trailers designed to carry products for the grain industry. “We added Wilson to our line last year,” notes Garcia. “It was a product we had spent a long time looking for.”
In order to complement the products that it imports, Utility Trailers de Mexico began its own line, known as Optima. An Optima product that has helped the company carry out its operations is the dolly. “It’s very common to see double loads in Mexico,” Garcia explains. “The dolly is used to connect the two trailers. Since our providers do not manufacture it, we make it ourselves. When we sell two trailers, we can use a dolly to connect them and haul them with just one tractor.”
QUALITY AND SERVICE
Garcia points out two characteristics that have helped Utility Trailers de Mexico become a successful company. The first of these is quality. “We have adopted a policy of not importing second-rate products in terms of quality. We’ve always looked for leaders in quality rather than volume.” Doing so has earned the company a high reputation in Mexico. “Our clients know that with us they will find the best, state-of-the-art products.”
The second differentiating factor for Utility Trailers de Mexico can be found in its services. “Since the beginning, we have offered spare parts, qualified labor, guarantees, and taken used equipment. No one else in Mexico has this type of service available for its clients.”
In recent years, the company has worked on improving its infrastructure. “The company began 15 years ago as a family-owned business,” explains Garcia. “A few years ago we began to transition it from a family-run company to a corporation.” While this process has involved many steps, company officials believe it will benefit the company greatly in the future.
When it began operations, Utility Trailers de Mexico sold less than 100 units during its first year. In recent years, it has sold significantly more, and some years it has sold more than 2,000 units. It currently employs 150 people.
Looking into the future, Garcia expects the company to continue growing, and eventually export to other countries. “We currently operate in the Mexican market. One of our objectives for the future is to create a sales force for the south, including Central and South America.”
The company is also planning to build a plant where it can manufacture trailers under the Optima brand. “Eighty percent of our sales are based on imported goods. With the new plant, we could import around 60 percent of our goods, and produce 40 percent of them here. This would help with our goal of reaching markets in Central and South America.”
Throughout the years, Utility Trailers de Mexico has continually looked for high quality goods to offer its clients. After starting out with Utility products, it has slowly expanded its product line. Today it offers a wide selection, which helps clients find trailers that fit their precise needs. In the future, as the company begins to manufacture its own trailers, it will continue to emphasize quality in is end products. By doing so, Utility Trailers de Mexico will be able to roll smoothly through the coming years.