Do you want to increase your auto part business in Latin America and the Caribbean?

o you want to increase your auto part business in Latin America and the Caribbean?Miami, FL (March 2, 2018) More than 350 international auto part manufacturers and distributors gather in Panama each year for one of the most widely-acclaimed automotive trade shows in Latin America and the Caribbean – the LATIN AUTO PARTS EXPO. This year, the show is set to take place July 25-27, 2018 at the ATLAPA Convention Center in Panama City, Republic of Panama. The LATIN AUTO PARTS EXPO is annually promoted by the US Department of Commerce, who endorses the exhibition as an excellent opportunity for companies to showcase their products.

“Central America has matured into a stable, lucrative market,” according to Aftermarket Business World, December 2017. “Within the seven-country [Central American] region, there are approximately 4.6 million cars and trucks in operation.”

o you want to increase your auto part business in Latin America and the Caribbean?The International Trade Administration (ITA), part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, has been working to attract more U.S. businesses to export to Latin America. As part of its “Look South” initiative, the ITA has identified 27 sectors of industry that would be especially attractive to U.S. exporters. For the automotive parts and supplies sector, nine countries are identified as specific market targets: Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Panama.

The aftermarket sector will play a major role at the exhibition this year, where several major brands will showcase a wide variety of aftermarket products. Some of those companies include Automann USA, Autopart International, Berryman Products, EMG International, Mighty Auto Parts, Omega Environmental Technologies, S&S Truck Parts, The Parts House, Walker Products, Zen S.A., Zeta Trading, to name a few.

o you want to increase your auto part business in Latin America and the Caribbean?According to studies at Global Market Insights, Inc., the “Latin America automotive aftermarket share will exhibit notable annual growth rate of more than 5% over the coming years of 2016 to 2024.”

Ronnie Barassi, the Director of International Sales for Might Auto Parts, a provider/distributor of lubricant products to the global aftermarket, says the exhibition has been worthwhile for his company. He states:

“We are exploring our products in the [Latin American] region, and there has been a lot of influence at the show from Colombia, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, to Panama”.

o you want to increase your auto part business in Latin America and the Caribbean?Members of the Overseas Automotive Council (OAC) of the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA) agree that Latin America is a major growth area for the global automotive aftermarket. “Mexico, South and Central America are opportunities for growth, due to older vehicle age and repair history,” a member commented.

For auto part companies looking to enter or expand their market share in Latin America and the Caribbean, Panama is the place to be this July 25-27, 2018.  Spaces are limited and the show sells out each year. For companies interested in joining a renowned list of international exhibitors, please email alexandra@latinpartsexpo.com, call +1 786-293-5186 or visit www.latinpartsexpo.com


Panama, Central America have matured into a vibrant, stable and lucrative market

By: Richard Mezadurian
Monday, November 27, 2017 - 08:00

For decades, when deciding on where to focus their marketing attention, Central America never seemed attractive as an aftermarket opportunity to sales executives. The vehicle populations were relatively small, the political and economic conditions hazardous, and the rules governing imports were a plethora of contrary regulations that made it difficult to harmonize a sales and distribution strategy throughout the region.
While it has gone mostly unnoticed during the past 20 years, Central America has matured into a vibrant, stable and lucrative market. Yes, even for the automotive aftermarket.

The development of the market shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s kept close watch of the region. The primary driver of this turnaround has been economic growth. As a sub-region, Central America was expected to grow 4 percent in 2016, as opposed to a .5 percent economic contraction in Latin America. The countries that make up Central America include Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. But within those seven countries, growth rates could vary dramatically.

In 2016, Panama grew its gross domestic product (GDP) by 5 percent, which led the region. In that same period, Belize’s economic activity shrank -1 percent, so due diligence should be used when considering a market strategy. Population demographics remain strong, with a combined population approaching 47 million people, with a significant number of millennials making up the population.
In today’s highly charged political climate, free trade agreements often are viewed with skepticism, if not outright derision. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a tri-lateral trade agreement between the U.S., Canada and Mexico, has its share of critics. But on purely economic terms, NAFTA has widely been considered a success.

Other efforts to emulate the NAFTA example led us to two agreements that govern the U.S. trade relationship with the region. One is the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). This includes six of the seven countries in Central America, but not Panama. Panama has a separate agreement with the U.S known as Panama Trade Promotion Authority (PTPA). The U.S. had total exports of $30 billion in 2016 to the CAFTA region, versus imports of less than $20 billion. This trade surplus makes it unlikely that CAFTA will come under the same kind of scrutiny in the U.S. that NAFTA has.

Essentially, what both the CAFTA & PTPA agreements do is eliminate tariffs on certain goods manufactured in a participating country. In the case of automotive parts and accessories, this benefits the U.S. manufacturers, as there is little manufacturing of automotive items within Central America that gets imported back to the U.S. However, this does give American manufacturers a small advantage over their Asia-based competitors.

“CAFTA has provided us with a slightly better competitive advantage due to the reduced import duties,” says Mark Marutiak, international sales director at the Fram Group. “Of course, this applies only to U.S.-manufactured products.” He laments that due to the competitive nature of the industry, “more and more product is being sourced off shore.”

Another difficulty one might discover in trying to sell in Central America is the variation of the vehicle parc. Within the seven-country region, there are approximately 4.6 million cars and trucks in operation. Vehicle populations range from a scant 40,000 in Belize, to nearly 2 million vehicles in Guatemala. The entire region would be considered a relatively small market, even if it were one country. But we must point out that from 2005 to 2015, the vehicle population in Central America grew 87 percent.

In most of the region, used car sales far outstrip new car sales, with many of those used cars being imported from other regions. Some of the smaller countries don’t track sales or registrations by make and model, making a comprehensive vehicle in operation list virtually impossible. At a macro level, the best-selling makes and models don’t vary too much.

Toyota has been the market leader in Central America for nearly 40 years. Across the region, Toyota has an average market share of  approximately 24 percent, with the Hilux pickup and Yaris small car being their two most popular models. The fastest growing brands over the past decade have been Hyundai and Kia, as they hold the second and third most market share, but they combine to form about 32 percent of the market. Nissan is a solid fourth in the region with an average 12 percent market share. Those top four brands represent about two-thirds of the overall market. The remainder of the market is made up of Suzuki, Honda and Chevrolet, each accounting for about 5 percent, while other brands have even less.

Many manufacturers currently selling in the region have dedicated sales forces designated for Latin America. Spanish is the dominant language in Central America, therefore it’s important to have your marketing programs developed with local cultural and language cues. Merely translating from English seldom suffices in such situations. Those brands that can bring quality and value always have an advantage. But there are many brands who meet that relatively low bar. The brands that exceedingly dominate in a crowded market are those that can share enhancements like electronic cataloging, marketing programs, technical and sales training and other value-added perks.

According to several manufacturers that are active in the region, the single most important thing a company can do to grow its sales in Central America is technical training. “There is not enough education on the difference between low cost/quality and high value-added brands,” said Marutiak. “Website and mobile application enhancements are absolutely required to grow business within the millennial market.”

The large manufacturers often organize both local and regional training events that cover technical issues like diagnosing a problem, installation techniques and product updates. These classes are highly prized by service professionals and are often very well attended.

If you are looking to expand into the region, it often helps to find a local representative that can navigate the landscape, and guide to customers who would benefit most from selling your products. The relatively small market size, combined with the variety of countries, often makes it hard to make individual trips to each country. Having a representative covering the market is efficient, and can alert you to potential issues before they become problems.

For those seeking to sell directly, there are several trade shows that are popular with Central American buyers. AAPEX is often well attended from people in the region, as is the INA/PAACE show in Mexico City. The newest show that has caught the attention of many in the U.S. is the Latin Auto Parts Expo, which is held in Panama City. In 2018, the show will take place in late July.

What may once have been an afterthought as far as the automotive market was concerned has matured into a potentially lucrative and growing region. While competition from Asia remains strong, the removal of tariffs through CAFTA and PTPA has given U.S. manufacturers an advantage, albeit a small one.  Leveraging on high quality, high value auto parts, and promoting enhancements like customer training, electronic cataloging and strong brand marketing will put U.S. suppliers in control of their own destinies in Central America.

Click here to see article online

Latin Auto Parts Expo: What's That Sound?

August 06, 2015 4:12 PM
by AMN Global Staff

Latin Auto Parts Expo: What's That SoundPanama, with its Duty Free Zone, turned out to be the ideal location for the Expo, held June 18-20. The Central American country has a stable democratic government that is business-friendly and uses U.S. dollars as its preferred currency. Panama is an international hub from both air and sea, enabling travelers and cargo to reach Latin America, the Caribbean and most of the globe.

The mega rock group Van Halen had a big hit song in the ‘80s called “Panama” from its “1984” album. For those of you who are familiar with the song, it should start playing in your head right about now.
This year’s Latin Auto Parts Expo, held in Panama City, Panama, was a success. It grew from the previous year with more exhibitors and attendees, but that is only half the story. What you can’t really measure about the show was all the networking and educational opportunities that were going on throughout the three-day event held in June.

Latin Auto Parts Expo: What's That Sound

According to show’s website, the global motor vehicle aftermarket is estimated be a $395 billion market. Show officials say that the Latin American and Caribbean markets have been growing steadily over the past few years and the outlook for the new vehicle and aftermarket automotive parts industry in the region seem poised for a bright future. One of the reasons that the market is changing is that the vehicle population has matured and more cars are now equipped with current electronic technology like electronic fuel injection (EFI).
We talked to a number of exhibitor and attendees on the show floor about their thoughts on the market and the show in general. Counterman contributor Mandy Aguilar of The Parts House said he thought Saturday would be a light day for booth traffic because many people he thought would be leaving to go back home. However, he said that it picked up pretty well as many of his prospects who were visiting Panama for the weekend showed up early on Saturday, and then many local shops closed early and came to the expo later in the afternoon, so it was a busier day than expected.

Show Director Linda Bassitt said on Friday afternoon the show had already surpassed the attendance at last year’s show and ended up with more than 3,000 visitors by Saturday. Bassitt said they estimated before the show that they would reach close to 2,500 visitors, so the extra 500 was a bonus.

Aguilar said that the majority of the people he talked to were from Central American countries or the Andes region with potential buyers from Ecuador, Venezuela, Honduras and as far as Paraguay. He was surprised there were so many people from Venezuela but thinks that with all the political issues that they are now trying to figure out how to grow their economy and businesses. He also noted that it was much more of an international show this year compared to last year, with pavilions for Taiwan, China, the United States and others.

Aguilar noted that what may not have been measured or talked about much is how many of the exhibitors picked up new suppliers from the wide variety of exhibitors represented in the 357 booths at the ALTAPA Convention Center.

The next Latin Auto Parts Expo will take place at the ATLAPA Convention Center, June 14-16, 2016.

Click here to learn more.
Click here for complete article


Panama, Latin Auto Parts Expo benefit from free-trade zone

By: Bruce Adams
Thursday, June 18, 2015 - 07:00

www.latinpartsexpo.comThe Latin Auto Parts Expo opened today at the ATLAPA Convention Center in Panama with nearly twice as many exhibitors as it had in its inaugural show last summer.

This year’s expo featured 357 exhibitors compared to 193 in 2014, according to Show Director Linda Bassitt. Two hours into the opening day of the three-day show there were 2,700 registered attendees, which included exhibitors.

Several exhibitors who also attended last year’s show said the increase in exhibitors this year is influenced largely by Asian companies that want to establish their business in the Latin American market.

“The growth in booths this year is all from the Chinese market,” said Mandy Aguilar, regional vice president of the Parts House. “Panama is a very small market, but the business of Panama is its free-trade zone. Panama is very adept at handling exports. This makes for a large and healthy aftermarket for distributors and third-party logistics providers.”

The port city of Colon in Panama is the second largest free-trade zone in the world, according to Bobby Hines, international trade specialist for the U.S. Department of Commerce. Hines and John Coronado, a senior commercial officer at the U.S. Embassy in Panama, were working from the department’s booth at the show trying to get more business abroad for U.S. companies.

“The Panama Canal is the granddaddy that the free-trade zone grew from,” Coronado said. The city of Colon is at the end of the canal and a convenient dropping off point for goods that are moved from the Pacific Ocean through the canal.

“Panama is a relatively small country – only 4 million people – but it has a sophisticated distribution and logistics business due to the free-trade zone of Colon,” Coronado said. “It also has a growing air distribution business through Copa Airlines, which routes many flights through its headquarters in Panama City.” Copa operates more than 326 daily scheduled fights to 72 destinations in 30 countries.

“There are many free-trade zones in almost every country, but the size, shape and reach of the Colon free-trade zone is impressive,” Coronado said. “Companies realize this, which sets up distribution and logistics opportunities here.”

Aguilar, who is scheduled to speak at the show on Friday, agreed with Coronado.

“The canal has made this country rich and Panama is very adept at handling exports,” Aguilar said. “There are real opportunities for business in the free-trade zone.”

Just what makes a free-trade zone so attractive to business? Free-trade zones are geographic areas where goods may be sent, handled, manufactured or reconfigured, and re-exported without the having to pay custom duties, or import taxes. Only when the goods are moved to consumers within the country or to another country are they subject to custom duties. 

- See more


Panama, Republic of Panama

Helio Castroneves Team Penske's elder statesman – is set to make a guest appearance at the LATIN AUTO PARTS EXPO on June 18th, 2015 in Panama, Rep. of Panama. Currently ranked 2nd in IZOD IndyCar Series, Castroneves will be signing autographs and taking photos during the expo in Hall A of the ATLAPA Convention Center.

Castroneves became the first driver to win back-to-back Indy 500s in his first two starts at the Brickyard in 2001 and 2002 and won again in 2009. In May of 2010, Castroneves released a popular book about his life and how he's met its challenges. "Victory Road - The Ride of My Life".

Castroneves enters the 2015 season once again ready to compete for the VERIZON IndyCar Series championship for Team Penske and battle for a record tying fourth Indy 500 victory.

For visitor information and for FREE registration to the LATIN AUTO PARTS EXPO please visit the website

www.latinpartsexpo.com or call 786-293-5186 or email info@latinpartsexpo.com.

By: James E. Guyette

A new south-of-the-border aftermarket industry convention is making its debut this summer with the inaugural edition of the July 9-12 Latin Auto Parts Expo at the Atlapa Convention Center in Panama City, Panama.

A series of educational seminars and business conferences will be offered to augment an array of trade show booths aimed at providing manufacturers, distributors and retailers direct access to the Latin American and Caribbean OEM, replacement parts and tuning markets. The plan is to foster “a warm and personal setting that forges long-lasting commercial and personal relationships,” according to show director Linda Bassitt.“

Our goal is to do what doesn’t currently exist – a regional auto parts show; everyone meets once a year in Panama,” she explains. “Panama is a central location to get to, and you can meet exhibitors that you haven’t met at other shows.”

Bassitt contends that the previous exposition offerings throughout the region fall short of delivering comprehensive coverage. “Before, you had to go to the individual countries because the buyers are usually from the countries where the show is being held. We started this because we think the industry is lacking a regional show, and this is much easier and more effective.” More...

www.latinpartsexpo.comNew auto parts show planned for Latin America

PANAMA CITY, Panama (Aug. 2, 2013) — Following the success of the fourth annual Latin American & Caribbean Tyre Expo, the show's organizers are planning a new conference for the region focusing on auto parts.

The Latin Auto Parts Expo will take place July 9-11, 2014, at the Atlapa Convention Center in Panama City, the same location as the Tyre Expo, which will run two weeks later on July 23-25, 2014.

The new show will be tailored to the OE and aftermarket parts business for buyers from South America, Central America and the Caribbean, said Show Director Linda Bassitt.

The owner of the expos is Latin Expo Group L.L.C., headquartered in Miami with an office in Panama. The CEO of the organization, Gus Lima, also is CEO of Oriente Triangle Latin America Inc. and Grupo Sailun Latin America Inc., also based in Miami. Oriente Triangle distributes the Triangle tire brand in Latin America and Florida, while Grupo Sailun distributes the Sailun brand in Latin America. More...