On September 7, the international exhibition of commercial vehicles Comtrans opens in Moscow. On the eve of the Vedomosti exhibition, we talked with the general director of the main Russian truck manufacturer Kamaz, Sergei Kogogin. The pandemic has brought down the passenger car market, but the commercial vehicle market has not only held up, but is growing. Moreover, Kamaz prudently made a stock of microchips, which are now lacking in many manufacturers. According to Kogogin’s forecast, this year the market for heavy trucks will grow by 30%, although the shortage of microelectronic components will remain in 2022. “They will buy whatever we do,” he is sure. But from exhibitions as a way to promote products “Kamaz” (and not only he), perhaps, will refuse.
– What are your plans for Comtrans 2021?
– We and many other manufacturers of commercial vehicles began to doubt the effectiveness of exhibitions, since our audience is not always there. Dealers and corporate clients are important to us – those who mainly use and promote our cars, but we communicate with them anyway. Plus, the cost of participation in the event has increased significantly. Everything has risen in price – stand building, catering, rent itself. Many of my colleagues decided not to participate. JV “Daimler Kamaz Rus”, in which we have 50%, – so they were in the last exhibition [в 2019 г.] refused to participate. I didn’t insist, because with the money that we pay for participation, we can spend 5–6 days for a client in different cities in a year. The overall level of participation costs increased by more than 30% compared to the previous time. We discussed this with [президентом группы ГАЗ] Vadim Sorokin and came to the conclusion that this year we will still participate, but then we will seriously think about it.
– What are you going to show at the exhibition now?
– We will show the coming tomorrow: cars of the K5 generation. This year the company is working on the launch of about 30 models based on the K5 chassis – a number of dump trucks, transport vehicles, tractors with a wheel arrangement of 6 x 2 and 6 x 4, all-wheel drive trucks. This reserve will provide a sharp leap in production volumes next year.
The plan was to release 2,400 of these machines this year, but I’m not sure what will happen – due to the lack of microchips. Cars of the K5 family are saturated with microelectronics, it is not surprising that they turned out to be the most susceptible to this problem. In all other respects, the shortage of microelectronics was not seriously affected. We continue to work, and work in a plus.
Also, a lot of attention will be paid to the passenger transport segment. At Comtrans we will show an articulated electric bus, a bus and a hydrogen truck and a trolleybus.
Our electric buses are now in series production, which means that we were not mistaken looking into tomorrow, when the commercial value of this story was not so obvious. The time has come today. Following the example of Moscow, many cities are beginning to show interest in this transport, asking for one or two electric buses to try. We try not to succumb to such “provocations”, because it is pointless, but it distracts a lot of the company’s resources. So far, we have sent for tests to St. Petersburg and Kazan – cities where there really are prospects for implementation. Interested in electric buses and abroad – Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan. The positions of Kamaz in these countries are quite strong, they are our traditional partners. There we are ready to agree to provide several machines for review, because it is important, at least to a minimum, to form an understanding of how such a technique works.