Sales Opportunities South of the Border

SEMA News—May 2011

Upcoming PAACE Automechanika Excellent Venue to Explore Market

By Alysha Webb

     In 2010, 13,871 Ram pickups in Mexico were sold, of which 10,548 were heavy-duty models.
The Mexican market favors pickups, especially heavy-duty trucks. In 2010, 13,871 Ram pickups in Mexico were sold, of which 10,548 were heavy-duty models. The tilt toward HD models was similar for Ford and Chevy.
     
     

Despite some negative press lately due to drug violence, Mexico remains an important market for U.S. automakers and for SEMA members. Pickup brands from the United States are very popular. The economy in Mexico grew by 5.5% in 2010, and that economic growth is lifting personal incomes and growing the middle class. Those factors have created a growing market for SEMA members’ products.

“It is a very active growth market for us,” said Randy Norris, managing director of international markets for Warn Industries.

Winches account for about 80% of Warn’s sales in Mexico, Norris said, and while unsettled security has hit Warn’s sales in northern Mexico, sales are still growing in central and southern Mexico.

Mexico is the home market of SEMA member Big Country Truck Accessories. Big Country produces its own products and distributes products to Latin America for other SEMA-member companies, such as Warn, K&N and Undercover. Marcos Alvarez, Big Country’s product and marketing manager, said that rail guards, side steps, bedliners, roof racks and tonneau covers sell well in Mexico, and he said that Mexico has been a growth market over the last five years.

“Starting in 2005, our sales grew by 15%–20% each year for three years in a row,” said Alvarez. “There is a growing market for SEMA products we make and SEMA products we distribute. The past two years have not been good, but Mexico is a good market.”

SUVs are popular in Mexico’s larger cities, but pickups are the vehicles of choice outside those large cities, Alvarez said. Ford pickups are the favorite among Mexican buyers of fullsize, light-duty pickups. Total fullsize segment sales in 2010 were 52,496 units, according to sales figures provided by J.D. Power and Associates. In the midsize pickup segment, Nissan ranked first, followed by Ford. Total midsize pickup sales for 2010 were 89,281 units.

The Ford F-Series pickup was the best-selling light-duty, fullsize model in Mexico in 2010 at 14,464 units. In the midsize segment, the Ford Ranger sold 13,049 units of the total 16,798 midsize Ford pickups sold.

Chevrolet was the second-best-selling fullsize pickup brand in Mexico in 2010 at 17,071 units. The heavy-duty Silverado was the most popular fullsize model in units sold at 10,154 units. Sales of the regular Silverado included 6,480 units.

The Chevy Tornado was the most popular midsize Chevy pickup in Mexico in 2010 with sales of 8,727 units. The Colorado model accounted for the remainder.

     
     
    To learn more about opportunities in the Mexican and Latin American market, SEMA members are invited to participate in the upcoming PAACE Automechanika Show
The PAACE Automechanika Show, Latin America’s largest trade show featuring the automotive aftermarket, takes place July 13–15, 2011, in Mexico City. 
     
     

Dodge, the third most popular fullsize brand, sold 13,871 units in Mexico in 2010; of that, 10,548 were Ram Heavy Duty models. In the midsize segment, Dodge sold 7,151 pickups, led by the Dakota at 3,778 units. The H-100 was close behind at 3,373 units.

The popularity of U.S. brand pickups in Mexico is a boon for SEMA members because products produced for trucks in the United States also fit pickups produced in Mexico, said Warn’s Norris. “You don’t have the same (product) certification issues as with Europe and Asia,” he said. “Mexico is very, very transparent.”

Warn reaches customers through typical 4x4 market advertising venues. The Mexico market is about a year behind the United States in terms of the kinds of products buyers there demand, Norris said.

Big Country sells to distributors and wholesalers rather than retailers. Its customers are mostly medium to small companies, jobbing shops, mechanics and car dealers, Alvarez said. Big Country works with the automakers to develop applications especially for the Latin American market. For example, it is working with SEMA member Undercover and others to make products for a new Volkswagen truck that is not produced in the United States.

“If we don’t make a product, we work with the manufacturer to make an application that will fit,” Alvarez said. “Don’t think of this market as a small opportunity,” he said. “It could be a big opportunity if the work is done right.”

To learn more about opportunities in the Mexican and Latin American market, SEMA members are invited to participate in the upcoming PAACE Automechanika Show, Latin America’s largest trade-only show featuring the automotive aftermarket. The event takes place July 13–15, in Mexico City. Last year’s show featured 647 exhibitors from 19 countries and was attended by more than 12,000 buyers. For more information, contact Kristen Woodburn.  

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