Global manufacturer Shacman Trucks recently expanded into Mexico, aiming for the Class 6-8 market for heavy- and medium-duty trucks.
The company is creating a distribution and service network throughout Mexico, and plans to open a truck assembly plant within a year or two, said Carlos Pardo, chief executive officer of Shacman Mexico.
“My responsibility goes from Mexico to the United States to Canada. And our plan is to start in Mexico, set a strong footprint in Mexico and from here start going up north,” Pardo said from Mexico City. “We are planning to assemble vehicles in Mexico to meet the specifications of the [United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement].”
Shacman Trucks is based in Xi’an, China. The company, known as Shaanxi Heavy Duty Automobile Co. in China, is one of the largest truck manufacturers and dealers in that country, according to its website.
The company has factories in 13 countries, around 35,000 employees worldwide, and 100 dealerships in countries throughout Asia, Europe, Africa and Latin America.
Shacman launched in Mexico in December, when Pardo came aboard as CEO. Prior to joining Shacman, Pardo had been the CEO of Navistar Mexico since 2011.
The company plans to develop an assembly plant in Mexico sometime in the next two years, Pardo said.
“We’re going to start with a small assembly line and grow from there, step by step,” Pardo said. “We are in the process of looking logistically at what will be the best place to be located, in terms of suppliers, customers, finding the best spot.”
Currently there are only two truck manufacturers in Mexico, including Daimler Trucks North America, which produces its Freightliner Cascadia in the cities of Saltillo and Santiago, and Navistar, which has a large truck assembling operation in the city of Escobedo.
Shacman’s products include military off-road vehicles, heavy-duty trucks, medium- and light-duty trucks, medium and large coaches and buses, mini vehicles, mini vehicle axles, Cummins engines, heavy-duty axles and various vehicle components.
“In Mexico, we are starting with two type of trucks — a Class 8 truck in different applications, tractor trucks, mixers, heavy duty; and also a medium-sized truck,” Pardo said.
The two trucks — the Shacman X3000 and Shacman L3000 — can be configured with a diesel engine, concentrated natural gas (CNG) engine or liquefied natural gas (LNG) engine.
“Our strategy is to be the number one natural gas engine option in the country,” Pardo said. “The three main [truck] players in the market don’t have a [CNG] option, or if they have an option, it’s a modified truck or it is very expensive, and doesn’t fit the necessities of the market.”
Shacman has opened or will soon have dealerships/distributors in Mexico City, Monterrey (northern Mexico), Guadalajara, Veracruz and Bajío (central Mexico) by the end of year.
“The most important thing is that we are developing all the service points throughout the country in order to make sure that our trucks can be served and maintained, wherever they are,” Pardo said.
Pardo said the coronavirus pandemic has slowed the company’s plans, but Shacman remains focused on growing the dealer network and brand awareness across North America.
“Right now our focus is Mexico, but we do see opportunities in the U.S. and Canada,” Pardo said. “We want to set a firm foot in Mexico first, gain a reputation of quality, gain a reputation of profitability for our customers, set up our manufacturing facility, then we’ll start exploring going north.”