Mobility Portal, Spain
Date: July 8, 2024
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By Lucila de los Santos
Latin America

Black: “There are no incentives for Mexican EV manufacturers, but there are for foreign ones”

There are complaints that cannot be overlooked by manufacturers. Black, CEO of Zacua, the first national car manufacturer in Mexico, is making its voice heard by the Government, but the message goes beyond that. Here, we take a look at the key points to see "the complete picture".
Nazareth Black, CEO of Zacua, acua, the first national car manufacturer in Mexico

Nazareth Black cannot hide her passion when she talks about Zacua. The entrepreneur behind the first national electric car is unwavering. She asserts, but at the same time is insightful. She asks important, perhaps philosophical, questions.

“Why doesn’t something happen that is good and will help Mexicans?” Black introduces, seeking an answer.

For the CEO of Zacua, there is no space in Mexico for 100 per cent national eMobility automotive companies.

Here, she slips in: “It is important that the echo of the complaint, our claim and that of others who are trying to manufacture locally, is heard by the new administration.”

The fact is that Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) emphasized the importance of the energy transition and included electromobility in his government plan.

Similarly, on various occasions, he highlighted the need to promote both public and private electric transport to reduce pollutant emissions.

Much ado about nothing? That seems to be what Black is putting on the table, with the firmness needed to say it.

There is nothing, absolutely nothing to incentivize local manufacturers. However, by presidential decree, foreign electric vehicles are exempt from tariffs. Practically the majority are Chinese,” the expert states.

It is worth mentioning here the free trade agreements that Mexico maintains with countries such as the United States, Canada, and the European Union nations.

These alliances, such as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and the Global Agreement with the European Union, offer benefits that include the elimination of tariffs for various products, including electric vehicles.

The reality is that AMLO strongly defends national industrialization, support for small and medium-sized enterprises, and the implementation of policies that favour the country’s economic and social development. So, is there a long way between words and actions?

A year ago, Nazareth Black told this outlet that she would have loved to meet the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.

A bit of eMobility philosophy

Now, it could be said that this is no coincidence. This scenario can be viewed through Nietzsche’s lens, who in his work discusses the “will to power” as an essential force of human life.

Perhaps this complaint is essentially a display of that Nietzschean narrative, where Zacua seeks to assert its value and fight for its place in the market.

The executive verbalizes it this way: “How do you have a discourse where you say you want to protect national firms, but you don’t grant them any support? There is inconsistency in the discourse.”

However, hope and optimism are the last things to be lost. The CEO understands this when she refers to Claudia Sheinbaum, highlighting the milestone of being the first elected female president in Mexico.

Betting on Sheinbaum’s performance

“I hope she aligns with the discourse she brings and that real supports begin to be generated, a structure and appropriate policies to boost the industry and Mexican manufacturers,” Black reflects on who will lead the country’s destiny for the next six years.

The idea proposed here is to have “a level playing field” where electric vehicle manufacturers can compete with, for example, the ambitious deployment of Chinese brands.

Currently, around 20 Chinese manufacturers sell cars in Mexico, but none have a plant there yet.

While we await the zero-emission measures that Sheinbaum will take from October 1, when the transition of the Federal Executive Power takes place, the former head of the CDMX Government is a firm promoter of electromobility.

“We will respect business freedom and promote and facilitate private national and foreign investment with honesty, which fosters social welfare and regional development, always guaranteeing respect for the environment,” the politician stated after the results that made her the winner were announced.

Nationalist boost for manufacturers

Simultaneously, a key factor referred to by the founder of Zacua is the “development of the industry”.

Why? According to Black, we must combat foreign technological dependency.

In this context, she points out: “That enjoyment lasts as long as the other party wants, that is, the owner of the technology. What would happen if one day China decides to withdraw it or sell it much more expensively? We could do nothing.”

However, the electric vehicle specialist not only asks questions but also expresses solutions.

One of the proposals for the incoming administration is investment in development laboratories where the Government injects money to accelerate innovation.

On the other hand, the leader explains: “The State also has to start acquiring national technology. There is a company that manufactures Mexican electric buses and there is us, but all the vehicles of government institutions are foreign. There is no consistency.”

Meanwhile, another proposed axis is listening to the sector. Zacua presented a plan to Congress years ago to eliminate VAT.

What does this mean? The elimination of the 16 per cent value-added tax when purchasing a vehicle in Mexico.

This initiative can extraordinarily boost the sale of electric vehicles without affecting the budget coffers. For some reason, it gets stopped. Why does it stop, or who stops it?” Black emphasizes.

Despite everything, Zacua has received great acceptance in the Aztec country to the point of currently being in a capital-raising process to scale the project.

Zacua and its vision

And not only that. The car manufacturer is creating new models, one of them aiming to conquer the US market.

It is a last-mile truck, handcrafted and completely modular, designed to adapt to the needs of various companies, providing flexibility and an integrated mobility system.

This strategy arose from an alliance with a Mexican-owned company based in California, an articulation that will allow the unit to be developed quickly and the homologations from American soil.

Nazareth Black speaks, questions, and exudes insight, but above all, is a constant example of how to put electromobility at the forefront.

Electric mobility is not a fantasy or a whim; it is a necessity to reduce vehicle emissions and improve quality of life. It is inevitable and has a future,” she emphasizes.

The request is not only to the Government; it is also a call to entrepreneurs because “Latin America has great potential, and it is important that we develop our own technology so as not to depend on foreign decisions. Here we are in Mexico to support those who want to dare to create a brand.”

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