Several Latin Auto Parts Expo (LAPE) exhibitors said they are seeking new distributors in Central and South America during the June 15-17 show at the Atlapa Convention Center in Panama City, Panama.
Hernando Gordils, international business development manager for NAPA Auto and Truck Parts, said he is looking for investors who want to open a NAPA store in Central and South America.
“I am here selling the business franchise model, not parts, he said. We have 44 franchise stores in Central America, South America and the Caribbean. We are in every Central American country except Costa Rica, and we would like to have a presence there.”
Low-cost competitors are his biggest challenge, he said.
“We have a very successful brand and are known for quality parts,” Gordils said. “But some markets are not familiar with the NAPA brand and quality and it is very difficult to compete with the generic ‘white box brands.’”
He said NAPA has a presence in four countries in South America and is looking to expand in Chile this year.
Gustavo Guzman, manager of Latin American sales for DENSO Products and Services Americas, said he is seeking brand recognition for the company’s line of air, oil and cabin filters, as well as its new wiper blade. He also is seeking distributors in Central and South America for air conditioning parts and heavy-duty equipment.
“This is a branding effort because we want to be recognized for products beyond our spark plugs,” Guzman said. “We also have a new wiper blade line called EnduroVision at the show. It is our first launch of a wiper blade that is aimed at more of a mainstream audience seeking a value line.”
Guzman, who is based in Los Angeles, said the Central and South American region is “saturated” with shows of this type. He said he attended a show in Colombia last week that was well attended and that there is a show in Ecuador in July.
“This is a very important show due to the huge potential of the Central American market,” Guzman said. “There is a heavy emphasis on Japanese and U.S. brands and we have faith in the Central American market.”
Daniel Moroles was representing the Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance at the LAPE show. He said he would like to add to the 12 Alliance shareholders in Mexico and one in Honduras. This is his third year exhibiting at LAPE and he was one of 43 exhibitors recognized during the opening reception for exhibiting all three years of the show’s existence.
“We are looking to grow in all the Spanish-speaking markets and this is a major show in the region,” he said. The Alliance has 34 shareholders in the U.S. and Canada.
Pablo Paredes, regional sales manager for Latin America and the Caribbean for Brake Parts Inc, said this is the first year his company has distributed at the LAPE show, and he has met with customers from several Latin American countries. His company wants to increase its distribution in Costa Rica and is seeking distributors from that country.
He also said this show would be better for exhibitors if the exhibit hall opened later in the day and stayed open until 8 or 9 p.m. to allow for more local companies to attend – both distributors and end users – without missing a full day of work.
Frank Flores, aftermarket sales representative of the Turbocharger Division of Mitsubishi Turbochargers, said his company wants to expand in Central and South America. “We have no distribution in Central America and we want to address that,” he said.
Flores and Gordils were two of the six conference speakers presenting during the show’s second day. Other speakers were Roy Martinez of Autoland Scientech USA, Juan Manriquez of Cloyes Gears and Products, Teolindo Vall of TVA Automotive and Jorge Luis Carbonell of Kashima Systems.
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