Since May last year, Gustavo Salinas has been the head of Toyota’s local subsidiary. The senior executive, a historic member of the Japanese automaker, spoke Clarion follows the Merco ranking. This year Toyota is ranked second among the companies with the best reputation in the country.
“It is very clear that a challenging year is closing. Despite the difficulties, we made a big bet by implementing the third production shift. If you look at the effort involved in doing so, this is a double challenge. By the end of the year, we are confident that we will reach the planned 180,000 units of production,” he said.
-This year the Government has strengthened restrictions on imports and there are waiting lists to buy 0 km. How does this affect you?
-It is necessary to carry out very precise micromanagement with all Toyota collaborators, with the supplier network and also with the dealers. Not only to meet the planned production plans, but also to the customers. Although people understand the restrictions and the state of the economy, when they decide to buy a car, they want to know when they can get it. That increases the level of challenge.
-What crisis are we going through?
-Each crisis has a different character, but each one also finds the company at a different stage. Of course, we learn from every crisis and gain experience, but you can’t relax because you can’t use a recipe that worked before.
-How do you solve the problem of lack of supplies?
-The year was very difficult, because we depended not only on our plant but also on direct suppliers. Toyota is also working on the satellite manufacturing concept, so we don’t have stock to reduce the impact. And the truth is that until now we have not stopped production for the whole year.
-What is Toyota’s situation regarding commercial debt?
-All companies face the same difficulties. We give priority, as I see happens in most cases, to continue production and work beyond these difficulties. We also know that at some point it has to become normal at some point. That’s part of the complexities and challenges I mentioned earlier.
-Can you stock the country level in 2023? What do you expect from the next government?
-If I have to tell you something, it is the value of creating work -and quality- as a contribution so that people can progress. For me that is important: in the future, education and work are the keys to Argentina’s development.
Days ago, ADEFA (the chamber of automobile manufacturers) asked the future government of Javier Milei for a solution to the exchange rate, to be able to “fulfill foreign payment commitments to suppliers.” Consulting firm Abeceb estimates that the terminals owe US$6 billion.
However, in November, 573,742 units were produced, the highest figure since 2014. Next year, Toyota will start producing a new model at its Zárate plant (where 8,600 employees work) : the Hiace minibus. The Japanese automaker produces 30% of the units produced in Argentina.
-How many workers have they hired recently?
-Between April last year and the beginning of 2023 we hired 2,000 people, mainly to make the third shift in production.
-What production volume do you plan for 2024?
-In the domestic market we see a year similar to the current one: between 430 and 440,000 units. At the production level, it is very similar to 2023 with some growth. In the last 4 years we have a market of 400,000 cars. I think Argentina should be a market between 700 and 800,000 units.w