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Sony Colombia

Colombia’s leader in entertainment

By Philippe Le Saux
- Nov 06, 2013
Credit : GMI Post

Sony Colombia President Takashi Kawano

In 2009, Sony set up a direct subsidiary in Bogota, recognizing the immense potential held by the thriving Colombian economy. Amid a rapid expansion of the region’s middle class, the Japanese electronics giant selected Latin America as one of its 10 “global focus areas,” with Colombia playing a vital role in the company’s business development plan.

“We think that the Colombian market has great potential for our industry. Population-wise, Colombia is the third–largest in Latin America, behind Brazil and Mexico. Demographics-wise, almost half of the population is less than 29 years old. Colombia is a very young market. This weighed heavily in our decision to come here. Colombia is one of the strategic markets for Sony, on a market-potential point of view,” explained Sony Colombia President Takashi Kawano.

Four years later, Sony Colombia has achieved impressive results in brand awareness and market position. By being in the country, it can identify trends early, quickly adapt to them and promptly deliver its products tailored for Colombian consumers.

“When the Colombian government decided to adopt a new digital broadcast transmission system, called DVB-T2, we were the first manufacturer to offer the Sony Bravia with DVB-T2. This is one of the achievements that we could not have attained if we were not here in Colombia. Thanks to our presence, we are able to offer the latest products adapted to the local market’s needs,” said Kawano.

Still reaping the benefits of its in-country advantage, Sony Colombia has introduced more of its latest products this year, including the Sony Bravia with Triluminos display, which expands the screen’s color spectrum.

Outside the TV segment, Sony has emerged as the market leader in audio component systems. It has also raised sales of its VAIO laptops, PlayStation gaming consoles and Xperia smartphones, reinforcing its brand not only as a maker of electronics, but more as a provider of total entertainment.

“We are looking at the convergence of all categories. We want to promote the connection of all Sony products with each other. We have a technology called One-Touch, which creates an eco-system where consumers can fully experience all the entertainment options offered by Sony. Our priority is to continue offering the best experience to the consumers for them to best enjoy entertainment, such as movies, music, gaming and even content- creation. We will keep offering this kind of experience,” said Kawano.

Aside from providing a seamless mobile office environment, Sony's VAIO laptops also offer the freedom of a portable home entertainment system

“First and foremost, we are an entertainment company. We cover the entire spectrum of entertainment, from software to hardware and content. Customer loyalty makes us responsible in creating new experiences for them and ushering them into the convergence age. We do not offer merely products, we offer a full experience,” added Kawano.


- Originally prepared by Global Media for The Japan Times Special Report on Colombia 2013 (Credit: Philippe Le Saux)

Incolmotos Yamaha

A perfect collaboration

By Philippe Le Saux
- Nov 02, 2013
Credit : GMI Post

Incolmotos President Francisco Sierra

A partnership dating back nearly four decades, the joint venture between Incolmotos and Yamaha Motors Corp. is among the widely cited examples of the success that can be achieved when a Colombian and Japanese company join forces.

Posting positive growth in all but two years of its existence, trust and confidence strengthened between the two sides. Between 1985 and 1999, Yamaha Motors steadily increased its participation in the joint venture from the original 19.2 percent to the 50 percent currently.

“In 37 years working with Yamaha Motors, problem solving has always been very easy. This can be attributed to the high level of trust that both sides have in each other. Our Japanese partners have the confidence that we represent their brand properly. This is something we treasure very much,” said President Francisco Sierra, who also served as ambassador to Japan from 2003 to 2007.

Operating in the second-largest motorcycle market in South America behind Brazil, Incolmotos Yamaha has steadily built its market share to its present 21 percent.

“We have a very healthy business over the past years. This allowed us to continue investing in the country,” said Director for Operations Daniel Restrepo Correa.

That investment includes a high-tech production facility located just outside Medellin, which aims to assemble 120,000 units this year.  In the same compound is an administration and sales building, which was inaugurated by Yamaha Motors CEO Hiroyuki Yanagi in January 2013.

“Our vision has always been to make Colombia a production hub for other South American countries. We want to produce Japanese products in Latin America for Latin America. Our partnership with the Japanese is not one we take lightly. It is a relationship for life,” said Sierra.


- Originally prepared by Global Media for The Japan Times Special Report on Colombia 2013 (Credit: Philippe Le Saux)


Toyota’s ever-reliable partner

By Philippe Le Saux
- Jun 01, 2013
Credit : GMI Post

Federico Pfeil-Schneider, President of Distoyota

Japanese vehicle maker and global giant Toyota could not be in more competent hands in Colombia than those of Distoyota, which has had 46 years of experience in the business of vehicle distribution.

“The best way to deal with the Japanese is by direct contact, so that you build trust. It’s something very German and very Japanese,” said President Federico Pfeil-Schneider, who flew to Japan in 1976 to meet with the Toyota Motors president at that time and secure business as an official distributor.

With the entry of other competing brands the past few years, business has grown more challenging, a change that Distoyota viewed as an opportunity to redefine the rules.

“When we saw it in Distoyota, we began a drastic change in our dealerships,” said Pfeil-Schneider.

The very first change made was improved communication between the importer and the dealer via homegrown, Internet-based software that allows any dealer to check for available spare parts or inquire about stocks in real time with the warehouses. The program even tells dealers which warehouse is closest to them.

The second improvement was better connectivity with clients.

“We have 35 special mobile workshops that guarantee our presence across the country. That allows us to overcome the lack of infrastructure in the country and be able to go to our clients using our rolling workshops,” Pfeil-Schneider explained.
In fact, Distoyota set up in-house shops to fulfill the needs of clients located in remote places, such as mining companies.  “We have our own guys with our own spare parts to serve them and offer them special discounts,” he said.

Distoyota is very proud that its customers, upon buying a vehicle, will enjoy a worry-free experience for three years or 100,000 km.
“They do not have to worry about anything — maintenance, brakes replacement and oil change — because we pay for them,” he said.  The three-year warranty has created a base of loyal clients who return after three years to purchase a new Toyota.

Distoyota has also defined punctuality in delivery. Because the distributor owns its own fleet of car transporters, while others normally rent them, it is able to bring the new cars from the port to its very excited clients in a very short time.

“Forty-six years of working with Toyota has taught me that, in the car industry, there is no better associate than a Japanese car manufacturer, like Toyota”

- Federic Pfeil-Schneider, Distoyota President

Creating a more personalized experience for its customers, Distoyota set up its own call center. The effort appears to have paid off.
“While the automotive market has shown a general slump in sales, Distoyota has not only held on to its top position, but also boosted its sales,” said Pfeil-Schneider.

And with the economic partnership agreement between Japan and Colombia on the horizon, Distoyota plans to expand its presence in the country even further, a clear commitment to a highly successful bilateral venture.

There is no doubt that Distoyota is an example of a successful Japanese-Colombian partnership. Its commitment to the brand is strong.  “Forty-six years of working with Toyota has taught me that, in the car industry, there is no better associate than a Japanese car manufacturer, like Toyota,” he said.

Seven years ago, Distoyota aspired to be best in service and, in that brief a time, the company has certainly attained its objective, while also gaining more loyal clients, employing the Japanese way.


- Originally prepared by Global Media for The Japan Times Special Report on Colombia 2013 (Credit: Philippe Le Saux)


Colombia 2013 was prepared for and originally printed in The Japan Times Newspaper.

PDF of the printed report

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