BRAL: Can you give me an overview of the Company?
JM:General Motors Colmotores was created in 1956. It is a subsidiary of GM Company since 1979. They have significantly contributed to the economic and social development of the country by generating jobs, supporting the auto industry and contributing to the national treasury in taxes.
Our mission is clear: "Manufacture, market and export profitably, the best vehicles, highlighted by the happiness of our customers and employees as well as the growing industrial value added to Colombia."
Most important milestones in the history of GM Colmotores
1956:Foundation of the Colombian Automotive Factory SA, Colmotores.
1961:They began construction of the assembly plant in Bogota.
1962:Colmotores inaugurates a plant and begins producing Austin vehicles.
1965:Acquisition of 60 percent of the shares by Chrysler International.
1966:Colmotores produces their first 4,000 vehicles units. They start to assembly Simca vehicles.
1979:GM Corporation acquires the Colombian operation.
1982:Chevrolet automobile assembly starts with Chevette and Celebrity.
1986:Internal quality control programs are initiated.
1991: Change of name to General Motors SA Colmotores
1996: A new advanced painting plant gets built.
2003:Unit 500,000 occurs in Colombia and Chevrolet receives the ISO 9001-2000 certification.
2006:The company celebrates 50 years.
2011:Industrial project reconversion and creation “Zona Franca”.
2012:GM Colmotores stamps the first piece in their new manufacturing plant.
BRAL: Can you give us a background on yourself (years in the industry, education, etc.)
JM:My full name is Jorge Alejandro Mejia González, I studied Business Administration at CESA (Colegio de Estudios Superiores de Administración), and I have a Masters degree in Business Administration from Inalde. I have held various management and leadership positions in the areas of marketing, sales and administration, among which stand out the position as global manager for Ofiexpress, business director for General Motors Venezuelan, sales manager for GM Brazil (Southeast Region), marketing manager for GM Brazil and GM Argentina, and CEO for La Floresta Automotive; as well as various commercial projects for the Corona Organization. Before joining GM Colmotores I was the general manager for Finandina bank. In 2012, I joined the Company as Chair for GM Colomotores.
BRAL: How is the automotive industry market today?
JM:It is a very open market in which there are more than 60 brands of vehicles and 1,000 references. The automotive market in our country is about 70 percent lower than in countries such as Brazil, Chile and Argentina when viewed in proportion to its population, and 30 percent less than of Ecuador and Peru. Contrary to what many believe, in Colombia 69 percent of the sales of new Chevrolet vehicles are made to customers at levels 1, 2, 3 and 4, and 43 percent is located in socioeconomic levels 2 and 3. The automotive industry is a major contributor and driving force behind various sectors including financial, lubricants, insurance, fuel, trade and tourism, among others.
BRAL: What are some of the challenges GM Colmotores has faced in recent years?
JM:The Colombian market has fallen about 15 percent therefore they have created incentives for demand when it does not behave like we all want.
Another challenge is related to problems in the backlog of infrastructure. The logistics cost accounts for 13 percent of total costs of a vehicle, using the most sophisticated systems we have in the country. When we think of competing globally, these costs do not reach 5 percent in highly efficient operations and export, making it very difficult to conquer other markets.
We firmly believe that the industry should have structural reforms to achieve the competitiveness that we seek. Our dream is the day when many of those who want to sell in Colombia, set up their plants in this country and exploit it to promote employment and development of the national economy. At that time, we can ensure that we have a policy of promoting the Colombian automotive industrial development.
Finally as a company we have a major challenge to regain market share and continue to maintain leadership in the automotive sector.
BRAL: What programs does GM Colmotores have to develop skills in your employees?
JM: The GM Colmotores social responsibility begins at home. Since 1956 the company has contributed significantly to the economic and social development of the country by a high generation of productive employment, administrative and technical and financial support to nearly 20,000 Colombian areas. Each employee is committed to maintaining a competitive level with exemplary quality processes and a good working environment, which ultimately translates into delivering the best products and services for the happiness of their customers.
To create a good work environment that allows employees to fulfill their full potential in achieving business objectives and career goals, the focus of the human resources management of the company is aligned with the principles of Workplace of Choice the Best Place to Work.
The combination of actions to personal and professional development consists of health and well-being, teamwork, internal equity and the recognition of integral leaders. All of them have resulted in having highly motivated employees, who trust your business and work with great enthusiasm to meet the challenges of the industry and the market and to make customers happy. Colmotores has invested in training programs, promotion and development, and has become an important support for employees and their families by providing tangible and intangible benefits aimed at improving their quality of life.
BRAL: What are some technological advances GM Colmotores has implemented?
JM: Since 2007, GM Colmotores has a medium-term strategy to improve competitiveness, focused on optimizing industrial processes, improving products, contributing to the development of suppliers and have higher returns. The most important initiative in this strategy is the Industrial Restructuring Project with which the company is giving a great technological leap from assembly, manufacture of vehicles, and significantly increasing domestic value added in the production process. This project began to materialize in 2011 with the addition of robots, a new line of engines, automation, transport cabins of two new models in 2012 and the construction of the new plant “Zoficol”. With this, the Company is prepared to be able to not only make the vehicle bodies that are assembled in Colombia, but producing auto parts for other plants in the region.
BRAL: What are your current expansion plans or capital investments?
JM: We recently invested $ 200 million to transform our industrial model and adapt to current market conditions. With this project, we aim to increase our levels of competitiveness for continued growth in the Colombian market and look for export opportunities.
BRAL: What defines your business from competitors?
JM: The industrial vocation of GM Colmotores of 57 years has made significant contributions to the national industry, offering the broadest product portfolio and sales services throughout the national territory.
We have been important generators of employment, and in history more than 20 thousand people have passed through our manufacturing and administrative areas.
In 1985, thanks to the strength of the brand and the excellence of our people, we achieved the market leadership position we have maintained for 28 consecutive years, beyond the economic liberalization policies developed in the country.
We have a unique "Personalized Service" which seeks to always give customers a special treatment, having a portfolio of services available within the network and adjusted to what they really need, they receive permanent support from experts who listen and are committed to address their concerns.
A solid brand is synonymous of support, innovation, design and technology that transformed this 2013 to become a global brand that has a greater presence in 140 countries where Chevrolet operates.
BRAL: What are your green or sustainable initiatives?
JM: The green policy of GM Colmotores promotes the preservation of the environment through clean processes, production improvement and participation.
It focuses on:
■Reduction and proper disposal of waste/substances used in the manufacture and marketing of vehicles.
■Conservation of natural resources.
■Active participation in the education of stakeholders regarding the conservation of the local environment.
■Optimizing the use of water and energy.
■Treatment of industrial wastewater.
■The consumption of electricity, natural gas and water was optimized.
■The implementation of Energy Management System under the requirements of ISO 50001.
GM Colmotores has increased the recyclability of waste per unit produced. These are the following recyclable results regarding the use of waste:
■Hazardous waste: 99.6 percent in 2012, compared to 99.5 percent in 2011.
■Non-hazardous waste: 99 percent by 2012, compared to 99.2 percent in 2011.
BRAL: Who are some of your key partners?
JM: Our business contemplates important partners, such as suppliers, with whom we have been important catalyzers of technology for the manufacture of auto parts in the electrical, chemical, metal and assembly branches. As a result, we have a solid supplier base, committed to the development, to supply local and international markets.
Dealers are key partners because through them we market our vehicles nationwide. We now have the most comprehensive and professional Chevrolet dealer network in the country with over 180 points where nearly 7,000 people provide sales and post-sales service to all vehicle owners in Colombia.
Financial institutions are key players in this business because 70 % of sales are conducted thanks to bank credit given to our customers, as it is the case of GMAC, Finandina, Sufi Bancolombi, etc.
BRAL: Where do you see the business in five years and what are your plans to achieve those goals?
JM:In five years I see a market growing at the same rate as five years ago. As a company we want to continue growing in line with a strong brand, with the best products, a differential service and a larger presence in the country.