With three companies in the mobility and transportation industry, Ezequeil Calcarami has an inside perspective on just how powerful the Argentine car consumer market is, but also how fickle it can be depending on economic health. Ezequeil owns a Toyota dealership, a motorcycle manufacturing and importing company, and a car tech business called Simplicar.
When it comes to the car industry in Latin America, Argentina is a huge consumer. “There are three big markets for car companies in Latin America,” says Ezequeil. “Brazil, Mexico and Argentina. In fact, two or three years ago, Argentina sold almost 1 million cars – that’s more than Mexico!” Ezequeil reports that this year, due to the economy, car purchases declined to about 650,000 cars (during the 2001 Argentine economic crisis only 8,000 cars were sold).
The motorcycle business is also huge. According to Ezequeil, a single year of motorcycle sales equates to roughly the same volume of motorcycle sales in all of Europe. That’s because in Argentina, motorcycles are a true way of mobility, especially for those located in the suburbs or rural areas without access to public transportation. In fact, Ezequeil’s motorcycle business has been extremely important during economic slumps when Argentines tend to purchase motorcycles over cars.
While Ezequeil has been taking advantage of the large consumer market for cars through his dealerships, he’s also revolutionizing the way Argentine consumers purchase cars through Simplicar.
Simplicar is an online platform where consumers can search through over 50 dealerships located in Argentina to receive the best possible deal, with the best possible price. “Transparency is key to Simplicar,” says Ezequeil. To date, over 1,900 cars have been delivered through Simplicar. The business model is built off of membership fees from the dealerships, whom in return for being members of Simplicar, gain access to new prospects.
While Ezequeil is grateful for his success, he cautions wanna-be entrepreneurs. “It’s hard to be an entrepreneur. Not everyone can become one. Don’t become an entrepreneur unless you see it as part of your passion and it makes you happy. Ask yourself, if your venture doesn’t become successful, would you still do it?”
He points out that today, entrepreneurship has become a fad. People see the success and attractiveness of being an entrepreneur in the media and strive to become one for the wrong reasons. “Being an entrepreneur doesn’t mean you’ll be the next Mark Zukerburg. Success doesn’t always happen. It is tough and you need to have the passion for it.”
"Last year, we were this close to going bankrupt in our motorcycle business. You have to be strong and love what you do in order to get through adversity. If you don’t love what you do, then your business won’t succeed.”