Living through a pandemic has caused dramatic shifts in people’s lives, priorities and consumption habits. It has also presented an opportunity to find purpose in new identities, roles and jobs – a time to reinvent oneself and follow one’s dreams and make them come true.
Such is the case for Edgar Carranza, COO of Hyundai Motor Mexico, who says being able to oversee a company’s operations in his native country was a dream come true, as he tells The CEO Magazine.
After more than 20 years with Nissan, six of which he spent in the US, and with growing responsibilities that took him (remotely) to Japan as General Manager Global Sales, responsible for planning and defining sales strategies for the US, Canada, Mexico and Latin America, Edgar saw the allure of this relative newcomer to the Mexican market.
“Hyundai made a presentation together with Boston Dynamics because we have an investment there, and they talked about very interesting things: the future, modernity. And I liked that vision.”
“It is very clear that Hyundai is a brand that is vertically structured in an interesting way. It is not only 100 per cent involved in automotive themes but is also diversified and has recently been investing in new technologies,” he says. “For example, Hyundai made a presentation together with Boston Dynamics because we have an investment there, and they talked about very interesting things: the future, modernity. And I liked that vision.”
Edgar also points out that the Hyundai product has been very revolutionary in the past few years. “It has made a dramatic change in improving the quality, design and service it provides to its customers,” he reveals. According to him, when these things are combined, coupled with his dream of one day running operations in Mexico, switching jobs was an easy choice. “There was little to think about.”
Now, he is focused on a new dream: changing the car buying experience. Edgar believes that the most important partnership Hyundai has is with its 68 distributors, which all comes down to the client. “In fact, we are strengthening our organisational structure, with a group focused on improving our customers’ experience,” he shares.
Last year, the firm was recognised by JD Power with second place in satisfaction, in sales and service, but for Edgar, it is not enough. “Customers’ consumption habits have changed radically. They are now used to buying online from the palm of their hand with a smartphone, and the automotive process is going to migrate there,” he predicts.
“Customers’ consumption habits have changed radically. They are now used to buying online from the palm of their hand with a smartphone, and the automotive process is going to migrate there.”
Hyundai has a website-based program, Hyundai Life, where customers can learn about a car’s features and specifications through live presentations. “This means we can accompany them throughout the purchase process, in a personalised way,” Edgar explains.
He believes customers should be able to choose which experience they want, whether that’s going to a dealership, buying online or having a test drive. “We must be able to give them what they ask when they ask for it. In the next 18 months, our customers are going to see how Hyundai stands out,” he promises.
Edgar acknowledges there is still a long way to go. For him, the biggest challenge will be automating the credit granting process. “Given that about 90 per cent of Hyundai sales in Mexico are made on credit, we have to digitalise that, and we are working with our partners to achieve it,” he says.
Despite the global microprocessor shortage, Hyundai Mexico closed 2021 with a 3.7 per cent market share. It was a record number for the company established in 2014, which by the end of February this year grew to 4.2 per cent. Responsible for directing the strategy and execution of all product, sales, marketing, after-sales and market development initiatives, as well as maintaining and strengthening Hyundai’s market share in Mexico, Edgar is pleased and optimistic with this performance.
“Based on what I have been told, by the end of 2022, we will begin to have a more regular supply of microprocessors and therefore vehicles.”
“I think 2020, not only for Hyundai, but also for the industry, was a year of learning,” he reflects. After the microprocessor shortage impacted everyone’s inventory, Hyundai globally started working on new partnerships to ensure dedicated chain supplies. “Based on what I have been told, by the end of 2022, we will begin to have a more regular supply of microprocessors and therefore vehicles.”
Last year, the company launched five new models and this year, Edgar reveals it has plans “to enter the hybrid vehicle segment in a more relevant way”.
Finally, there is a message that Edgar wants to convey to young people starting their professional careers. “Impossible things can happen; in reality, they just take longer. Dare to dream and work hard to achieve those dreams,” he advises.
“I believe if we all think that way, Mexico is going to come out even better off, better positioned, and ahead of all the complexities that we face on a day-to-day basis.”
“When I joined, I found a series of interesting virtual meetings and checkpoints, which I had not seen before, where people explain the situation they’re going through, their needs, the decisions they have to make, and together we communicate and work them out,” Edgar says.
“The truth is there are still people on the team that I don’t physically know. It was very interesting and the first thing I did was schedule one-on-ones with people, whether they were my direct reports or not. I tried to meet with the whole team; it doesn’t cost you much and it is something we can value.”