Made in Madrid

From the July 2020 issue.

The second largest country in the European Union, located on the Iberian Peninsula, Spain, is diverse in its geography and culture – much like its truck, trailer and ancillary component market.

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Spain was worth $1,460 billion USD in 2019, according to official data from the World Bank and projections from Trading Economics. The GDP value of Spain represents 1.21 per cent of the world economy.

Economic forecasts going forward in light of Covid-19, however, remain somewhat uncertain although the Spanish Government is committing to extending tax and labour measures in response to the coronavirus crisis.

Word from Moncloa Palace, Madrid, confirmed that the country’s governors consider it essential to guarantee the protection of workers, the solvency of the social security system and the liquidity of the production sector (SMEs and independent contractors). The Government, during May, also culminated the process of bringing the salaries of National Police and Guardia Civil officers in line with police officers and decreed a 10-day period of official mourning for coronavirus victims.

As for the need for arrangements between Spain and Europe, politician María Jesús Montero confirmed that eight out of 10 people who have died in Spain were over the age of 70. She thanked them for their contribution to the construction of today’s democracy by having committed to “leaving divided Spain behind” and working hard to lay the foundations for the “social State under the rule of law that subsequent generations have been able to enjoy”.
The minister encouraged their example to be followed by reaching cross-cutting agreements in the Committee for the Social and Economic Reconstruction set up in the Lower House of Parliament. “We now know that we are all more vulnerable than we thought just a few months ago and that we need a strong Welfare State that protects us all”.

Montero reflected on some of the key aspects of this debate on strengthening the health system, providing quality care for the elderly and strengthening the economy. At a European level, she described the establishment of the unemployment insurance scheme, the stability mechanism and loans to companies and to the productive fabric promoted by the European Investment Bank (EIB) as essential.

A reconstruction fund was also presented by the Spanish Government which requests an allocation 1.0 to 1.5 trillion euros, offering a ‘coherent and resounding response that rises to the enormous challenge’ the country faces.
Amid this health crisis, the country’s leading trailer manufacturers carry on.

Lecitrailer’s factory in Zaragoza continues to manufacture vehicles according to Export Director, Guillermo Maestre.

“We have adapted the production process to the new situation, making work shifts more flexible and incorporating PPE to guarantee the safety of our workers and our suppliers,” he said. “Our aftersales service bases in Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia, Seville, Zaragoza and Lyon have remained open and provide service to carriers so that they do not stop, complying with all the regulations on safety and hygiene measures that this situation exceptional requires.”

Maestre said the inauguration of the OEM’s KTL plant stands out as one of the largest and most modern facilities of its type in Europe.

“Our KTL process ensures a uniform coating over the entire surface of the chassis, with a thickness of 50 microns of the 50 micron KTL (e-coat) primer chassis, the best anti-corrosion system on the market guaranteed anti-perforation,” he said.

Following the launch of the KTL plant, Lecitrailer now offers a 10-year anti-perforation guarantee for the chassis of its vehicles in addition to quality finishes.

“The customer satisfaction with this improvement is considerable both in the domestic market and in the export because we speak of a premium finishing,” Maestre said.

“Right from the foundation we have opted for quality, for the continuous improvement of our products and services, for the customer service and for increasing the productive capacity of our plant. We have one of the widest ranges on the market and we fully customise the vehicles to adapt them to the needs of our customers.

“We are also ready to launch our new range of reefers, which continues with the identity of previous versions with an updated and modern image, having obtained, without increasing the weight, providing them with greater resistance while gaining a greater interior width with the same lateral thickness.”

Lecitrailer reportedly finished 2019 with a 22 per cent market share in Spain, delivering 2,732 units – almost four points above the next brand and 11 of the third.

“These good results in the domestic market have also been repeated in foreign markets,”  Maestre  said. “Lecitrailer has finished as the fourth brand in France with more than 2,500 units with an 8.0 per cent market share and the same position in the Portuguese market. Similarly, it has established itself as a reference manufacturer in other markets such as Italy, Russia, Belgium, the Netherlands and Denmark. By product range, Lecitrailer has finished as the first brand in curtainsider, the most important family in the Spanish market. In vans more than half of the vehicles registered in Spain are Lecitrailer. Something similar has happened in container carriers, where Lecitrailer has got a 45 per cent market share. If we talk about the market share from the first quarter of 2020, the market has decreased by -7.20 per cent while Lecitrailer has grown by 30 per cent, reaching a market share of 24.94 per cent, growing in practically all product range.”

Meanwhile, another major player in the Spanish market, German OEM, Kässbohrer, claims to have the widest product range, delivering vehicles with a high level of specialisation and customisation enabling the company to provide more than 1,000 different solutions to satisfy the needs of the Spanish industry. As every product group undergoes continuous improvement to increase performance, Kässbohrer can meet the demands of the global market and the specificities of each local segment. It delivers extendable container chassis trailers, low-beds, reefers and curtainsiders.

The recent creation of Kässbohrer Ibérica further strengthens its support and distribution capabilities in the country.

“According to official traffic registration data the Spanish market is the fifth largest trailer market in Europe in FY2019,” Kässbohrer told Global Trailer. “Spain is the biggest refrigerated trailer market in Europe and 30 per cent of this market comprises reefers. As reported by other research [industrial real estate firm, CBRE], demand for food has increased due to coronavirus and so it is predicted that cold chain transportation will be less affected by the current situation.

“In any case, the Covid-19 crisis can re-age a heavy vehicle park that took a long time to renew, putting companies at the crossroads of deciding between investing and continuing fleet renewal of losing competitiveness because of the increased operating costs of a ‘pass-through mile’ fleet.”
Again, the economic situation in Spain as a result of Covid-19 is unprecedented.

“The forced economic shutdown of Spain – on an economy based on services, tourism and automotive – is further exacerbated by its current fiscal position,” Kässbohrer said. “Of course, if appropriate action is taken by the Government of Spain and structural change is faced, the situation can be alleviated and first and reversed in a relatively short period of time.”
In the weeks and months to follow, it will be vital to see if measures are taken to promote fiscal transparency and fight against the submerged economy, which is one of the biggest stresses for the country’s competitiveness according to Kässbohrer.

At the beginning of 2020, Jordi Llecha joined Kässbohrer Ibérica as Spain Country Manager. During his 30-year career, Llecha has served as Production Engineering Manager, Senior Project Manager and National Sales Manager of Spain. For the past nine years he has worked as Managing Director for chassis-related systems and components for trailers, trucks and buses.
Llecha and his growing sales and aftersales team continue to meet the needs of their Spanish customers especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, Kässbohrer has implemented precautions for the protection of its employees, customers and all stakeholders and meticulously follows the guidelines of the Federal Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization and the European Center for Disease Prevention,” Llecha said.

“By diligently following hygiene rules, our production and delivery operations continue in all our facilities in Ulm and Goch in Germany, Adapazari Mega Campus and Tula, Russia.

“During vehicle deliveries, from our plants, we are reducing physical contact and paying attention to social distancing. During deliveries in customer sites or third-party areas, we are diligently following the hygiene rules as instructed. Moreover, our supply chain operations continue and are not disrupted by the Covid-19 outbreak.”

Kässbohrer’s spare parts business, customer service, breakdown suppport, sales and other departments are continuing to offer the best service for the new and used Kässbohrer vehicles as well. The OEM is also accessible to its customers during this period.

“Through the ordering process, we focus on the fastest delivery time to our customers,” Llecha said. “Our expert sales team is fully adapted to the current situation and sales teams are in contact with the customers with phone calls and video calls to help them with their requests when they need.”
Also, Kässbohrer has rapidly digitised its operations following the launch of its Video Conference Now (VCN) feature available on the OEM’s website in Spanish along with seven other languages enabling easier connection on the customer’s side.

Moreover, Kässbohrer applied digital upgrades on its website for its service network in 560 locations. With the latest upgrade, customers can better plan for repairs and maintenance.

With ‘Enginuity’ staying true to the company’s inventive spirit, Kässbohrer maintains its R&D projects to continue to develop new vehicles and services to its customers in more than 55 countries.

“Kässbohrer sales continue despite the fall in demand as logistics is a strategic sector designed by all countries and our recovery faster compared to other sectors,” Llecha said. “As Kässbohrer, we are active in Spain since 2017 with our network of sales and aftersales partners. With our widest product range in the industry with over 1,000 unique products with versatile options, we are ready to meet the needs of our Spanish customers even during the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Supporting trailer manufacturers across Spain, global equipment specialists have also established a presence.

JOST is a leading global producer and supplier of safety-critical systems for the commercial vehicle industry with the brands JOST, ROCKINGER, TRIDEC, Edbro and Quicke. With sales and production facilities in more than 20 countries across five continents, JOST has direct access to all major truck, trailer and agricultural tractor manufacturers worldwide as well as relevant end customers in the commercial vehicle industry. JOST currently employs more 3,500 staff across the world and has been listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange since 20 July 2017.

JOST Ibérica is supporting JOST business in Iberian Peninsula from the facilities in Zaragoza, Spain. From a logistics point of view, Zaragoza is one of the best locations in Spain to distribute JOST products. In the facilities of more than 1,900 square metres, a team of 13 people take care of the activities focused on fifth wheel production, logistics and distribution, technical support and sales.

JOST Ibérica delivers fifth wheels and towing hitches to the IVECO plant in Madrid and also supports and delivers JOST products to trailer customers including Lecitrailer and Granalu.

It is reported to be a reliable partner for the entire JOST World product range, from JOST fifth wheels and landing legs to ROCKINGER towing hitches and drawbars and from JOST Axles to TRIDEC steering systems to Edbro cylinders. On-site trainings are one the field activities of the JOST Ibérica team.

Similarly, SAF-Holland has offices and warehouses 40km north from Barcelona.
“SAF-Holland España supports and distributes to the entire network of Spanish dealers,” said Managing Director, Bernat Anducas. “From there SAF-Holland España supports and distributes to the entire network of Spanish dealers.”
The SAF-Holland España team also has sales and field support members to give the shortest and closest solution to all its partners.

“The majority of SAF-Holland España’s work volume is distribution, even so, we have the capacity and certification to manufacture and assemble as we already do with some products,” Anducas said. “SAF-Holland España uses its more than 25 years of expertise to optimise the stock and have the parts that the Spanish market demands the most. Even so, the fact of being a global company makes it possible for SAF-Holland España to respond to any customer request.”

SAF-Holland España has maintained close contact and support to its partners without interruption despite Covid-19  due to its commitment and professionalism.

“We used this opportunity to adapt and reinvent ourselves to answer all the requests in the new conditions of the pandemic and this has served to be able to review and improve some work processes used,” Anducas said. “This will help us to continue improving our response to an increasingly demanding customer in price, quality and, especially, speed.”

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