Mozambique: Daimler Optimistic of Expanding Business in Mozambique

Pretoria – The German vehicle company Daimler is optimistic that the new southern African regional centre it opened in Pretoria on Thursday will greatly expand its truck and bus business in Mozambique.

Currently very few new trucks are sold to Mozambican consumers. Wolfgang Bernhard, the member of the Daimler Board of Management responsible for Daimler trucks and buses, told AIM that in 2015 only 62 new Daimler trucks (of the Mercedes-Benz and FUSO brands) were sold to Mozambican clients, all of them sourced from the Daimler factory in the South African city of East London.

Bernhard recognised that “80 to 90 per cent” of the market for trucks in Mozambique is for used vehicles, and he was confident that Daimler is well positioned to meet this market. Across the world, the company frequently leases out trucks. The leases expire after three or four years, and the trucks revert to Daimler. These used trucks, still in good condition, can be sold to customers, with a guarantee that Daimler will continue to provide service and spare parts.

“We could support these customers in the same way that we support the purchasers of new vehicles”, he said. The Mozambican companies who distribute Daimler vehicles, he added, were enthusiastic about expanding their services to cover used trucks.

Mozambican customers, he insisted, deserved the same level of service as anyone else who bought a Daimler vehicle. “Customers should have seamless access to supplies of spare parts”, said Bernhard. “We want the same level of service and parts supply wherever the customer is”.

He said he was optimistic about the future of southern Africa, despite the region’s immediate economic problems. Bernhard took a long view: “southern Africa is a region of vast natural resources and there are hundreds of millions of people who need to be transported. The fundamentals are there”, he said.

“We are prepared to do our job for the region”, he added. The company had a long term interest in southern Africa, and its determination to stay and to expand “shows our commitment to the region”.

Daimler’s first involvement in southern Africa was in Namibia, in about 1905, “and we’re not going to walk away now”, said Bernhard.

He said that Daimler does not fear its competitors, but it does take them “very seriously”. However, he did not believe that any of them could better the “seamless” level of service which Daimler offers its customers.

As part of the policy of decentralizing the company to regional centres, Daimler would soon, he promised, roll out “new products” from its East London factory, but he declined to forecast exactly what kind of vehicles these might be.