Kun.uz correspondent interviewed UzAuto Motors CEO Bo Andersson about UzAuto Motors’ activities and future plans.
- I want to start our conversation with the issue of competition. As you know, customs duties have been reduced in Uzbekistan. How will this affect UzAuto Motors? How do you feel about competition?
- That’s a good question. I came here as a foreign expert to help develop the automotive industry. I am confident that UzAuto Motors can compete with any other manufacturer.
I believe in competition, it’s good to have competition! If there is competition, life itself will force you to be better.
I like the competition. I’ve always learned to compete with Hyundai, Kia and Lada. I am absolutely confident that our new product will be competitive.
- Are you satisfied with the ratio of price and quality of cars?
- First of all, I would like to say that the most popular car on sale was our bestseller Lacetti. At this point, I would like to emphasize that I personally like Lacetti very much. When it comes to price, it should be noted that $14,000 is a great price for such a car.
According to sales results, the second most popular car is Damas. Its price is also very competitive. This also applies to Cobalt cars.
As a foreigner, the car prices in Uzbekistan are very competitive, and their quality is much higher than Lada cars.
- The company’s decision to produce cars without a tape recorder has caused a lot of criticism. Why was such a decision made?
- First of all, I want to say that in the last two years, every car manufacturer has faced the problem of semiconductors, every car manufacturer has faced the problem of car radios to one degree or another. Unfortunately, our supplier suddenly shocked us. We are currently holding talks with other suppliers. This, in turn, allows us to use a modern car radio in our cars.
In this regard, I would like to emphasize that I was surprised that the requirements of our customers are much higher than the requirements of European ones. Every buyer in Uzbekistan wants to buy a car with a touch screen. Every buyer wants to buy a car with a built-in rear camera.
In my native Sweden, the requirements are completely different. For example, our most popular car radio is – DIN 1.
So, as your TV journalist colleagues said, “Stay tuned, keep watching us”. Soon we will bring to your attention a new solution and new technology cars with new radios.
- You spoke about your homeland. Which of the Cobalt, Damas, Nexia, Gentra cars would you drive in Europe, especially Sweden?
- My favorite car is the Lacetti. In Sweden, I would drive a Lacetti with pleasure.
- If you had a choice of Volvo, Fiat or our cars, which cars would you choose?
- I think such a comparison is not fair, because it is impossible to buy a car in Sweden for $14 thousand.
- Tell us about the new models and their production dates, when and what cars to expect?
- This year we will introduce a new model to the market – Chevrolet Tracker, and early next year Chevrolet Onix. I am confident that our customers will love these two modern cars.
Both models have six airbags. They have a five-star rating on accident-resistance. These cars will be equipped with a modern entertainment system, Wi-Fi and a stop-assist sensor. In addition, Chevrolet Tracker and Chevrolet Onix are very economical in terms of fuel consumption – 6 liters per 100 kilometers.
- How much will the new cars cost?
- We are currently developing options for equipping cars, and for this we are in direct contact with our customers. We ask our customers questions about what aspects of a previously purchased Tracker car they like and what they don’t like. By the way, it turns out that Tracker customers are very satisfied with the cost of car maintenance.
When it comes to options, keep watching us and we will definitely let you know soon.
- Recently, there have been a lot of complaints on social networks about water entering the car. What is the company doing to address this issue?
- I would like to emphasize that I deal with quality issues every day. We have already managed to solve many quality problems and raised the performance level by about 25%. To do this, we work both in the factory and with dealers. We have organized a permanent work of Quality Service representatives at all major dealers.
In the last two weeks, I have seen many reports of water entering the car interior. I don’t like rain either – the issue is under my personal control and I deal with it on a regular basis.
- Once buyers pay for the car, they have to wait a long time in car showrooms. How do you explain these cases?
- Last year we produced 235,000 cars. This year we have set a huge goal – to produce 340,000 cars.
My main task is to produce cars in large quantities, at a reasonable price, with quality. We increased production of Lacetti cars by 100 per day: from 262 to 366 (27%), Cobalt cars from 342 to 420 (18%).
We have reduced the delivery time of cars by half.
Is that enough? No, of course not! That’s why we work harder!
Undoubtedly, there is a priority issue where all my efforts are concentrated: the production of high-quality cars at a reasonable price.
But at the same time, we are seeing cases of systematic resale of cars. Often, some of our customers sell the cars they buy right away. In Sweden, if you are not an official dealer, it is illegal.
- And our last question is – how do you see cars of the future? Could this be an electric car or another option?
- I first came across the topic of electric cars in 1993. I think most cars will be electric, but about half of the cars will be traditional internal combustion engines. In most countries where electric cars are now popular, interest in them is supported by special privileges.
I can’t say a country where people switch to electric cars without privileges and subsidies.