Multi-brand strategy to counter the crisis

The arm of the Linde forklift truck takes hold of the handle of the white sack. It raises the heavy load and positions it with pinpoint accuracy above a large metal funnel. The driver operates a single control and over a tonne of sweet-smelling sugar whooshes down the funnel. Close by, plastic bottles are rattling through the washing system before being filled, labelled and sealed by machine. ‘Guaraná Mineiro’ lemonade is a household name is Brazil. You always see the green glass bottles at children’s birthday parties and in cafés serving sandwiches and pastries. For Brazilian beverage maker Refrigerantes do Triângulo, based in Minas Gerais, it is the sugar that makes all the difference. The company uses real sugar to sweeten its lemonade and cola rather than replacing some of the sugar content with cheaper sweeteners, as many of its competitors do.

Nearly 200,000 litres of sparking water, cola and beer leave the factory in the city of Uberlândia every day. The agile STILL trucks load the containers onto waiting lorries. Sales Manager Zé Arnaldo da Silva explains: “We are working under extreme conditions. Production runs 24 hours a day and the engines can never cool down. We had eleven Linde trucks in operation but there was no local after-sales support and our machines regularly broke down through lack of maintenance.” Nowadays, da Silva is working with Linde and STILL and receives support for both brands through the local dealer Moviminas. “Finally, we have spare parts and after-sales with no waiting times,” he notes enthusiastically.

"I now have a wider choice of products from the same seller"

Fabio Pedrão

Founder of the company Retrak, which offers machine rentals from Linde MH and STILL

To address the economic crisis in Brazil, KION Latin America is following a decisive strategy that focuses on a multi-brand approach. Since April 2016, the Linde and STILL brands have been marketed together here. “Our revenue fell by almost 80 per cent in three years – we had to change something in order to survive,” explains Frank Bender, CEO of KION Latin America. In just three months he set up a new sales structure with his team, which sees the Barueri and São Bernardo do Campo sites combined under the name GoDirect. There was so much interest in the KION stand at the engineering expo in São Paulo that you would think Brazil was no longer in the midst of an economic crisis. Trucks from Linde and STILL were on display side by side.

“Combining the two was a sound decision,” says José Bordas, dealer from Chile. “I now have a wider choice of products from the same seller.” Fabio Pedrão, founder and manager of the company Retrak, which now offers machine rentals from both brands, adds: “The two cater for different segments of the market.” Kareen Ratton, Business Development Manager at KION Latin America, says: “Linde and STILL continue to be two distinct product brands with their own brochures and websites.”

"Linde MH and STILL continue to be two distinct product brands with their own brochures and websites."

Kareen Ratton

Business Development Manager at KION Latin America

Paulo Cabbia is the proprietor of Moviminas in Uberlândia, which provides customer support to the beverage manufacturer Triângulo. He had just started to build a new office and workshop when he received news of the new strategy. “The changes actually meant additional costs to begin with,” he says. “Instead of a basic exterior, we built an elegant glass facade, and the concrete floor that had been planned was replaced by a bright blue epoxy floor to allow us to showcase the premium Linde brand in an appropriate way.” Up until that time, Moviminas had sold and rented out STILL trucks and was one of the largest dealers in the country. Since April, Cabbia has visited all the Linde customers in his catchment area – an area that is larger than Germany. “We knew some of them already as, on average, eight out of 20 Linde customers buy STILL as well. Just like Refrigerantes do Triângulo, they all now benefit from our excellent service department.”

For the KION Group, the new dual-brand approach has led to an increase in market share. “It’s quite simple,” explains Frank Bender with a smile, “everyone dreams of having a Linde truck. We are now able to offer STILL trucks to those customers who are not yet able to afford the Linde brand, instead of losing them to our competitors.”


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