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Australian auto manufacturer broadens export horizons to include Asia

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Australian auto manufacturer broadens export horizons to include Asia article image
Australian automotive manufacturer MtM aspires to increase its exports from 20 to nearly 50 percent of its total business over five years, with a major focus on Asia. After achieving success in North America, where the company now operates a warehouse and sales office, MtM have expanded their international export strategy to include China, India and Malaysia. "Once you export to your first market you begin to understand a great deal about exporting more broadly," explained MtM’s Business Development Manager, Peter Sloan. "After working in America we re-did our strategy," he said. In order to develop new relationships within the Asian market MtM joined AutoLink, the Australian consortium of global automotive suppliers, and enlisted the support of Austrade, the Victorian Government and other AutoLink partners. Sloan said Austrade’s staff in particular have opened many doors for MtM, as well as contributing to the company’s understanding of the economic and political situations in its target countries. MtM quickly recognised that the local Asian manufacturers lacked the experience to produce the high quality product increasingly in demand across the region’s booming automotive markets. "Demand in Asia is changing rapidly," said Sloan. Fortunately, the company’s experience in mature markets such as the United States provided the company with a comprehensive understanding of the consumer’s expectations of quality, which, as Sloan stated, "really gives [MtM] an advantage in newer markets." "So while we don’t supply a unique product, we do have capability that is unique in Asian markets" claimed Sloan. In 2011, the MtM’s automatic gear shift boxes were used by Indian company Mahindra & Mahindra in the manufacture of a Sports Utility Vehicle planned for export to the US, while in Malaysia, the company has established a Memorandum of Understand (MoU) with resident manufacturer, Proreka, which will market its door check and gear shifter technology throughout the country. MtM Autoparts was established in 2008 in Shanghai, China to deliver door check and gear shifter technology from a local base. The company has recently achieved technical certification [TS1694] and begun the small-scale manufacture of door checks. Sloan identified MtM’s significant local involvement, such as working exclusively with local staff, as aiding the company in establishing and maintaining its relationships within the Chinese market. "As a foreigner, you can learn the tax rules, you can learn the language and you can try to understand the culture. But you’ll never do it better than someone you can trust who has grown up and worked in the culture," he said. Over the next five years, MtM will replicate its China strategy in other parts of Asia where export potential is greatest, with the goal of growing exports to around $10 million per annum.

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