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It’s almost two years in which the Covid-19 has wreaked havoc on the domestic auto market.

Shortage of semiconductors, little product supply and price pressures are just some of the problems that brands have faced. Today in Peugeot Mexico, under the vision of its CEO, Gerardo Carmona, fully trust that this 2022 will mark significant growth and therefore a greater market share, two conditions that are extraordinary for an importing company.

What is the balance of 2021 for the brand you lead?

—Despite everything that happened in 2021 and the lack of product that almost all assemblers in Mexico suffered, it was a very good year for Peugeot; we grew practically 18% when the industry grew almost 7%, so we gained market share and it was above all a sustained growth in the first quarter. In the second semester we were much more affected by the supply issue but we still finished the year with a pretty good figure.

How is it possible to achieve growth when there is no product to put on sale?

—It is important to remember a plan we made in 2017, which was for 5 years, with the aim of doubling the market share we had. Because growing from 0.5% that we had in 2016 to 1% does not sound so strong but it was practically doubling the footprint that the brand had in Mexico, which was a strong ambition for an imported brand and also with issues such as the exchange rate, which had to solve, to grow profitably with a network that is also profitable.

We reached this goal in 2020, so for 2021 we wanted to do more than 1% and we did it, we ended up with a 1.12% share which, the truth is that we could have done much more because we had months with a record of 1.3% in the first semester but the second one was already very affected by the availability since practically all the products that we bring are imported, most of them come from Europe, which are the countries that had the most restrictions to continue producing due to issues of Covid-19, so the impact we had was a little higher than that of the rest of the industry in the second half.

For 2022 we expect better performance due to a higher level of availability and sustained demand for the models we recently launched.

The 208 has a great acceptance but above all our SUV range. We also see that, depending on the model, customers like the car so much that they know that there is a shortage in the market but they prefer to wait to have the vehicle.

—What will be the main topics on which you will focus your attention in 2022?

—Currently, the production of semiconductors and microchips. It is gradually being restored but we do see 2022 already at a level higher than 2021 and what we are seeing each month is an improvement in the production confirmation that we receive.

In this first semester we will have a much higher level of availability than in the second semester of 2021, but it is not in line with what we believe the potential of the brand could be. Rather, we believe that in the second half of this year it will be a little more aligned.

But in addition to the product, it is necessary to consider the necessary actions to be able to transport it.

—Yes, the second point that affects us directly is the logistics issue. From Europe not so much and depending on the country. For example, in France and Spain not so much but in Italy and Slovenia there is a little more affectation, however in Asia-Pacific it is more complicated.

In conclusion, the logistics issue is mainly affected by the time of arrivals. For example, we now know that there will be small delays at first due to this problem, but production is already being reorganized.

Could the exchange rate exert pressure?

—We see that the exchange rate has remained stable despite the entire situation, what I believe is that in 2022 as soon as there is a product again, there will most likely be a price situation that will maintain demand. I do not want to say that it will increase a lot because I do not see that in 2022 we will have overstock as before 2019 that will generate price competition between brands, but a healthier and more stable situation in the second half.

What will be Peugeot Mexico’s product strategy in 2022?

—The division of utility vehicles for Peugeot It is an important pillar. In Europe the brand is a leader in this segment due to the type of vehicles we have and the type of market.

In Mexico the situation is different because mainly work pick ups and work vehicles are sold, not so much in van form, which is mainly our product strength. Where we also see significant growth is with Landtrek that we launched at the end of 2020. But to understand the situation, before 2019 our suv sales mix was not even a quarter of what we had (…) It was maybe less than 2,000 units of the more than 10,000 that we sold, that is, it was 18% or 20% of the mix and half of the sales were utility vehicles. In 2021, more than a third, 35% of Peugeot’s sales, were suvs, that is, almost double what we had before 2019, and utility sales have remained stable with a market share but today They weigh almost the same as SUVs, that is, almost a third.

Will the new generation of 308 be in Mexico?

—The 308 will arrive in 2022 but not in the first semester, in fact, it is just being launched in some European countries. Due to availability issues, a launch was not made as normally happens in all the countries of the continent and now what was done was to choose only a few to cover availability and it will grow as production normalizes. It will not arrive in Mexico until the second semester and we are doing everything to make it happen sooner rather than later.

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