With operations in some major markets, Brazilian manufacturer aims to expand its business worldwide
Marcopolo, the main Brazilian manufacturer of bus bodies and one of the largest in the world, participates in Busworld Europe 2019, which takes place in Brussels, Belgium, with the objective of expanding its global presence through new businesses and presence in different markets to offer mobility and transportation solutions. The company's focus is to be the ideal partner in offering mobility solutions that can be applied in the various world markets, which demand different technologies, from 100% electric by batteries, to Euro 6 diesel (as it has in Chile), including hybrid, natural gas and electric with external network power.
In this context, Marcopolo's differentials are the high quality and production capacity, flexibility and customization of products according to the needs of customers and the markets where it operates, and is attentive to the new opportunities that arise in the sector, especially due to the diversity of transportation modes to meet the demands of mobility.
With 70 years of activities, completed last August, the Brazilian manufacturer has produced more than 430,000 vehicles and has been operating in the international market for almost 60 years. Last year, its consolidated global production increased 29.8% - 23,627 units, against 18,202 units in the previous year.
"For this, we invest heavily in innovation, new technologies and business to provide the best solutions for mobility and mass transportation for each potential market," says André Armaganijan, director of Strategy and International Business at Marcopolo. "The market is in continuous and accelerated transformation and mobility will depend on the integration of different modes and services in addition to the bus itself. We are aware of all this movement, such as vehicles powered by electric technology, and we seek to act strongly, with or without partners, ”he says.
In Brazilian factories were produced in 2018, 13,958 units against 8,633 in 2017, with growth of 61.7%. Part of this production volume of the Brazilian units was exported to about 100 countries from different continents: 3,938 units against 3,271 in 2017, with growth of 20.4%. “We are market leaders in Brazil and Latin America, with around 45% of the market share, and we intend to continue growing in the markets we already operate and join those we do not already participate in,” says Rodrigo Pikussa, Marcopolo Bus Business Director.
Innovation and new mobility modes
An example of Marcopolo's focus on innovation and the development of new mobility solutions is the recent creation of Marcopolo Rail, a business unit focused on the development of products for the railroad metro segment.
With the creation of Marcopolo Rail, the manufacturer aims to integrate the know-how acquired in the production of bus bodies for passenger transport, as well as in BRT systems, to provide products for both high-track modes (People Movers and similar) and Light Rail Vehicles (LRVs).
“Marcopolo Rail reinforces our focus on innovation and complete transportation solutions. The future in transport and urban mobility is increasingly multiple and focused on sustainability and plurality of modes. The solutions in which manufacturers are working and developing need to contemplate different and new modes, such as trains and feeder systems, and be complete, integrating infrastructure and digital industry, among other areas," explains André Armaganijan.
Busworld Europe 2019
At Busworld Europe 2019, Marcopolo highlights the strength of its global footprint . With operations in nine countries on four continents, the company has intensified, over the past few years, its operations in some of the main world markets, such as Asia, Africa, the Americas and Oceania. This global presence allows us to offer a diversified product portfolio, with bus models for different markets, developed to meet the transportation and mobility characteristics of each location.
Today, Marcopolo employs more than 18,000 people worldwide. In Brazil, there are nearly 12,000 employees and the capacity to produce 20,000 units per year at four plants in three different states, two in Caxias do Sul, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, one in Rio de Janeiro and another in the city of São Mateus, in the state of Espírito Santo. It is the market leader with about 50% market share, producing from minibuses with 5 tons PBT to bi-articulated buses, with 27 meters in length and capacity for 270 people. Brazilian factories are also responsible for providing bodywork to customers around the world, especially in Latin America, Africa and the Middle East. Per year, almost 4 thousand units are exported.
In South America, the company is also a leader in the segment and has operations in Colombia, Greater Bogotá, with Superpolo, a joint venture with the Fanalca Group, and in Argentina, with Metalsur's plant in the Province of Santa Fe. In Colombia, the renewal of the BRT Transmilenio system fleet increased demand and this year production was 754 units in the first half, up 26.9% from the first half of 2018. In Argentina production was just over 1,000 units in 2018.
Another important market for Marcopolo is Mexico. With local operation, since 2000, through Polomex, joint-venture with Daimler, the company foresees to grow 30% this year and to reach the production of 1,4 thousand unities. At the Monterrey plant, small vehicles, conventional city buses and short, medium and long-range buses are produced. In the first half of this year 750 units were manufactured, with growth of 90.8%.
In Australia, Marcopolo owns Volgren, the leading manufacturer of full service buses in the Oceania market. Headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, Volgren produced 542 units in 2018 (403 units in 2017). Recently, the company signed the largest supply agreement in its history with the Public Transport Authority (PTA) of Western Australia, the state-owned government transport operator, to supply 416 buses in five years. The deal is in line with the strategy of expanding its activities worldwide and the largest ever in the Asia Pacific region.
In North America, Marcopolo is present through a 10.5% equity interest in NFI Group Inc., the leading manufacturer of city and bus services in the United States and Canada. Headquartered in Winnipeg, Canada, the company is a technology leader and offers the widest range of products, including clean diesel, natural gas, diesel-electric hybrid and electric vehicles.
In China, Marcopolo has been present since 2001. Initially, through a technology transfer contract for local production of bus bodies and, since 2005, with the opening of an office for development of new suppliers and global sourcing and the production of disassembled bus parts, components and bodies, as well as the production of buses in PKD for export to different countries in Asia and the Pacific region.
On the African continent, the company has been operating since 1999, and has a factory in Johannesburg, South Africa. The operation was a major player in vehicle supply during the 2010 Football World Cup and continues to serve the entire southern and central African region. In 2018, the unit produced 344 units, a reduction of 2.8% compared to 2017 production (354 units).
Marcopolo also has commercial offices in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, and in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to expand business opportunities, in addition to a 20% stake in GB Polo, a manufacturer of urban and intercity buses in Egypt.
Electric vehicles with sustainable technologies
For more than a decade Marcopolo has participated in some of the most relevant projects, in Brazil and abroad, for the development of buses with sustainable technologies and fuels from renewable sources, such as 100% electric, hybrid (electric/diesel) and powered by CNG and hydrogen.
In Brazil, the company has, for some years, projects for local development of models. Different vehicles have already been produced with 100% electric motorization, from 10 ton PBT micro-buses to conventional and articulated urban vehicles, which are being applied in some of the main Brazilian cities, such as São Paulo, Campinas, Brasília, Santos, Curitiba, Florianópolis and Bauru, among others.
In Mexico, it also develops a 100% electric minibus, already under test. In Chile, it supplied in the first half of this year, in partnership with Mercedes-Benz and Volvo, the first Euro 6 diesel models from that country for the RED mobility system.
Image credit: Vinicius Pauletti
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