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When Naeem Hassim looks back on his school years in South Africa, he recalls how, in geography class, none of his classmates could precisely pinpoint Indonesia on the map due to its vast spread of 17,000 islands.
While at the time this seemed inconsequential, the country’s footprint would take on a new personal significance many years later when he took on the role of President Director at Daimler Commercial Vehicles Indonesia (DCVI).
“When I came here, I realized that spread across these 17,000 islands are 280 million people, and 84 percent of the population are less than 50 years old,” he tells The CEO Magazine.
He was impressed by the country’s good economic principles, which have delivered consistent gross domestic product growth, reaching 5.3 percent in 2022.
When he put all of these factors together, what he saw was a thousand islands ripe with opportunity.
But that didn’t mean smooth sailing as he settled into his new role.
“Coming into Indonesia, we do have various challenges as a corporate environment,” Hassim admits, specifically highlighting the industry’s shift toward carbon neutral emissions.
He came in at a time when the Indonesian government had just started mandating the use of Euro 4 launch vehicles, which adhere to European emissions standards.
“We had to introduce our vehicles at the Euro 4 emission level standard,” he explains.
“I cannot do this alone as an individual, and as the leader of the company, I need my team.”
At the same time, Hassim adds, the increased cost of the recommended fuel for these vehicles presents a challenge for this transition.
“As the manufacturer, it’s our job to bridge the customers’ wishes within the national regulation standards,” he says.
Educating customers about the importance of reducing emissions and how to operate in this new generation of vehicles also remains an ongoing mission for DCVI.
Meanwhile, in December 2021, the spin-off of the former Daimler to the now two separate companies – Daimler Truck Holding and Mercedes-Benz – required significant work, ultimately impacting Indonesian operations. Today, DCVI represents Daimler Truck Holding as the main distributor of Mercedes-Benz trucks and buses in Indonesia.
“We had to separate different processes within our own two companies,” Hassim says. “We had to make sure that we had a proper parts warehouse, and in October last year we managed to launch our own dedicated Daimler truck parts warehouse to support our customers.”
Since joining DCVI as President Director in 2022, Hassim’s major focus has been on getting to know the people, reviewing the company’s processes and determining how DCVI can enhance its customer service offerings.
With his team, he has devised a new strategy for taking DCVI forward entitled ‘Together We Can’, or ‘Bersama Kita Bisa’ in Bahasa Indonesia.
“It means that I cannot do this alone as an individual, and as the leader of the company, I need my team,” he explains.
“We have to work together to make DCVI one of the most prominent brands in Indonesia.”
“We need to make sure we provide a good public transportation system to the people of Indonesia.”
Its growth plans are unashamedly ambitious. In 2022, the company held an eight percent market share, but it’s a number that Hassim is determined to raise into the double digits.
“Looking at things going forward, we have huge aspirations,” he reflects. “We are looking at our current model lineup. We are looking at how can we support the different industries and the commodities that Indonesia has to offer in terms of where our vehicles can play a pivotal role.”
He specifically highlights mining, construction and logistics as a few of the areas DCVI will be exploring.
“We want to double the current business volume if we can by 2030,” Hassim says, pointing out that this goal relates to both Daimler’s truck and bus operations.
“If you consider the infrastructure and population of Indonesia, it’s evident why buses remain a dominant source of transportation. This is particularly true from some routes like the Trans Java Highway or the Sumatra main road, which prove more effective and efficient by bus,” he explains.
“We need to make sure we provide a good public transportation system to the people of Indonesia, which is why maintaining a sustainable market share of Mercedes-Benz buses in Indonesia is so important.”
Purpose runs deep in the Daimler Truck veins. The overarching mission statement is: ‘We work for all who keep the world moving’, and Hassim says DCVI has a very similar motivation, with a more local focus.
“Our purpose is to work for all who keep Indonesia moving,” he says. “And our vision is that we want to be the most sustainable commercial vehicles company with the highest reputation and customer retention in Indonesia.”
In order to bring a truly positive impact to the country, the company has to focus on ESG and work in line with national goals to achieve a carbon neutral status by 2060.
Protecting its reputation through compliance, transparency and the right partnerships with domestic suppliers – such as tire manufacturers like Gajah Tunggal, parts suppliers or logistic vendors – is crucial to building trust as the group works toward this common goal.
“We want to lead in sustainable transportation and ensure we become carbon neutral. Our CEO is very clear on that and I believe every Indonesian deserves a safe and healthy environment today, as well as a sustainable future,” Hassim says.
It is this drive to make a difference to the people of Indonesia that motivates him.
“We want to be the most sustainable commercial vehicles company with the highest reputation and customer retention in Indonesia.”
“I really want to see the future of Indonesian people grow,” he says. “I want to support them; I want them to be successful.”
It’s a mission that begins within DCVI’s own ranks, with Hassim actively pursuing greater diversity at all levels of the company.
“To successfully fulfill our vision in Indonesia, we need to unleash the potential of our people,” he says. “Each of them play an important role in achieving this vision and how we collaborate with each other makes all the difference.”