D.Dembereldorj: Bitcoin holders can buy our car using cryptocurrency
On December 6, Mongolia’s first blockchain-based car assembly plant is to open. Last year, we reported that Bars Motors, a Mongolian automobile manufacturer, opened a joint automotive assembly plant in Hangzhou, China, and launched the production of MOZO, the first Mongolian car. We interviewed D.Dembereldorj, Director of Bars Motors regarding the factory and future aspirations of the MOZO brand. Photo: Founder D.Dembereldorj next to Bars Motors MOZO
Mongolian-made MOZO cars of Bars Motors LLC have gathered the attention of Russian, and Chinese media, but have gathered much attention from Siberia, questioning whether the harsh climate tolerant MOZO will be the new off-road ride to swear by. Being sold for 20,735 USD (59 million MNT), the company did not increase its car price even during the economic hardships of the pandemic. Leasing options are also soon to be available.
Click here to read: The Boston Post media coverage of Mongolia’s first automobile ‘MOZO’ launched in February (2020).
D.Dembereldorj says he decided it was time for Mongolia to have its domestic automobile manufacturer for a variety of reasons. Mongolia spends 500- 800 million USD on purchasing cars per annum. With no domestic manufacturer, this is a large leakage from the Mongolian economy and its small population of three million. He believes that with the MOZO cars, the number of money Mongolians spend on importing second-hand cars from overseas will decrease, and remain circulating in the domestic economy.
MOZO is an abbreviation for ‘Mongol Oyunlag Zun Olon’ meaning ‘The Bright Mongolian People’. Initially, Mongolians had doubts about the MOZO cars, questioning whether it was Mongolian when it was being manufactured and assembled in China. Throughout the past three years, the cars have been tested for their durability in Mongolia’s extreme climate, the demands of the consumers, quality, exterior properties, and fuel efficiency among others. It seems that Mozo has passed with flying colors.
“The creation of their automotive industry can be considered an indicator of the development of the state - even though Mongolia does not have any component base. This is intended to inspire investors, - told Sergei Burgazliev, an independent consultant on the auto industry, to the Russian media group Gazeta.
In the 10 minute Youtube video titled “How the Mongolian MOZO Automobiles were created” D.Dembereldorj tells the inspiring story of the journey, he embarked on when he decided to make the first Mongol cars, and help improve the lives of Mongolians, many of whom drive unsafe old cars that need constant repairs.
Click here to watch: “How the Mongolian MOZO Automobiles were created” Youtube video.
In addition to being the Director of Bars Motors, D.Dembereldorj has many feathers in his hat with outstanding accomplishments in both the public and private sectors. He is the Adjunct economic advisor to the Prime Minister of Mongolia, and the Chairman of the Mongolian People’s Party, and is a Managing Partner at Gurun Associates. He was the Director of the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Fund of the Ministry of Food, Agriculture, and Light Industry, and was an aide to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Mongolia.
What are the advantages of having a blockchain-based automobile factory?
The mobility blockchain platform will set the technical backbone to enable service providers to offer integrated mobility and added-value services for urban mobility, trucking, infrastructure, insurance, logistics, micro-mobility, car sharing, and public transport. Meaning that this new blockchain technology gives us a whole technical backbone for mobility services to enable customers to use mobility simply and effortlessly. There are also crossovers for future business models for urban and long-distance transportation, service, and open mobility access ecosystems. Through blockchain, car parts suppliers, original equipment manufacturers, insurance, logistics, and assembly plants like us are being offered the chance to be an integrated industry.
This industry also gives advantages to car owners and renters by providing information regarding when, where, and how the car parts are from, and which companies, and industries they are from, etc. Original equipment and original spare parts are very important to show that the car is made from not only authentic car parts but also produced sustainably.
Your plans include opening the MOZO Finance. Can you tell us more about how this would work?
MOZO Finance is a new company under Bars Motors that will allow individuals, companies, and institutions to buy the MOZO car using their credit score. The financial company will give leasing service to first-time or second-time buyers of our car. Soon, we have to shift towards a decentralized platform. Starting the MOZO Bank will be the second step in the development of our finance company. Through financing of the MOZO Bank, we might need one or two years to start this service. We are allowing Bitcoin holders to buy our car using cryptocurrency. There are several US and Singapore companies offering Bitcoin to the fiat services. This helps automakers like us and merchants to sell cars using coins.
For the past 3 years, the MOZO cars were tested for suitability in Mongolia. How did you test this and how effective was it?
Mongolia has many cars from South Korea, Japan, China, Russia, and other Eastern and Western manufacturers. Their cars were tested in Mongolia for the past three years. Mongolia has been dependent on imported cars for the past 100 years. Before that, we were horse riders. Our horses were tested as well. They had speed, strength, and were capable of transportation not only for moving from point A to B, but for invading other countries that are very far away in distance including South Asia, Eastern Europe, and the whole of the Euroasia continent. Cars are very important for Mongolians because, for 8 months out of the year, it is very cold. It is also dry, and the temperature difference between winter and summer is 60-80 degrees celsius and ranges up to 100 degrees for some regions. This tests your car. MOZO was primarily tested for durability in the Mongolian climate. Mongolia lacks the infrastructure and has a very large landscape with only three million people. Half the population lives in one city. During the summer months, everyone goes to the countryside to the four corners of the country.
During that time, people need sustainable vehicles. The cars of many companies break down frequently. Very few cars that have been tested in Mongolia survived in the last three years. MOZO was tested and one of the top advantages of our cars is that they do not need to be put in garages in winter like almost all cars in Mongolia. The fuel efficiency is very good and we are using the Mitsubishi engine, which is very famous for fuel economy. MOZO has an a 156 horsepower engine with a turbo. That gives us a very large advantage.
Half of the market was very skeptical about our car at first. According to our research, the market was very optimistic once our car was tested. The first 100 cars are already in the hands of the owners in the last 2 years. At least from our target market, 80 percent of customers are using second-hand crossovers, and SUVs want MOZO. They responded very positively to MOZO, which gave us the confidence to speed our factory process and offer financial leasing as well.
During the covid recession, you did not increase the price of the MOZO, and MOZO is very reasonably priced. How many sales do you expect within a decade and how much of an impact do you think the MOZO cars will have on Mongolia?
The import Mongolia is most dependent on is fuel. We have a 100 percent fuel dependency. Therefore, fuel efficiency is the top benefit that our customers have. One liter of fuel produces 2.3 kgs of Co2 emissions. This is especially important in regards to climate change, and Mongolia's air pollution problem.
Additionally, we are planting 100 trees per car that is sold. In that way, we want to be sustainable and aim to achieve net-zero. Car batteries of many companies are tested in cold countries like Mongolia. Due to the lack of electric chargers and infrastructure to support them, it is not sustainable to have one company in one country build the infrastructure for 3 million people in a very big area. In the further models of the MOZO, we will include hybrid options. Our cars are front-wheel-drive cars. We are working with the US and European companies to put in an in-wheel engine in the rear wheels, some call it a green wheel. This will make MOZO a four-wheel drive. It is to be a very big achievement for next year's milestone by introducing the new MOZO hybrid by the end of the year. We also plan to have smart affordable and electric sedans for the city riders.
The second phase will include the hybrid model and electric options. We are creating a lot of employment and will continue to do so. The car industry is very labor-intensive and people benefit from investing in our company. We are considering ICO and IPO options in some of our companies. We are still on the blueprint of all this with blockchain and everything.
It will create a lot of local jobs in Mongolia.
We do not think of ourselves as a car factory company, but rather a leader of the new economy, or the engine of the new economy. For Japan, Germany, and the US, their economy was driven by their automobile manufacturers. The industry provided economic development. By 2050, I want Mongolia to be 100 percent independent in some industries, and interdependent in others. The car industry will make us more interdependent. This way, lots of local jobs will be created as well.
It will bring lots of modern technological know-how. The local universities and colleges will benefit by working with us. This is because the requirements for our new employees would be based on knowledge and technology-based economy. Many young people will get the chance to work with world-class designers, IT programmers, critical thinkers, and the best engineers.
The financial system is moving towards a decentralized financing ecosystem. We would like to give the customers and investors a chance to benefit from the decentralized alternative financing ecosystem.
Mongolia has a market system that is not entirely free. The financial market system is still under the control of very few individuals. 85 percent of the capital market is controlled by commercial banks. The opposite is the case in most developed countries. In that sense, we need to bring in the alternative financing structure and ecosystem to the country so that the people could benefit from inclusive growth and inclusive capitalism. The automobile industry is a very capitalist one. However, it could also be very inclusive and sustainable.
MOZO has two factories, including one in China. What further expansions and models do you have in mind?
Our current new facility has the capacity of 1000 cars. We want to sell a minimum of 1000 new cars by next year. In the next three years, we are aiming for 5000 cars to be assembled and sold in the Mongolian market. After that, we will expand to sell in Central Asia and Russia. Just in Central Asia, there are 80 million people who are living in the same climate as Mongolia. For them, our cars will be quality guaranteed and excellent. We are aiming for Siberia and cold regions of Russia where they are still using second-hand, right-side steering vehicles from Japan. After three years, we will be more export-oriented. We are also considering Eastern Europe where the people can enjoy a new car with at least a 10-year guarantee without any problems.
After three to five years, the customers can come back and sell their car to us, pay the difference and get hybrid or fully electric cars. As a result, we increase the quality of life of our customers.
We will continue to develop the MOZO, the MOZO hybrid, and the fully electric sedans.
Furthermore, as Mongolia is a mining economy, we are focusing on heavy machinery assembly and electric equipment assembly shortly. The whole automotive industry, including the heavy industry, is a 1 billion USD market. The Mongolian GDP is 13 billion USD. Eight to ten percent of the economy is composed of automotive and parts, heavy machinery, and their parts as well. This is a big market segment that we can test.
We are also planning to host the ‘tested in Mongolia’ event. This new brand will invite all the electric car manufacturers to come and compete in Mongolia’s harsh climate and roads for one year. After one year, we will announce the winner. The ‘tested in Mongolia’ branding starts next year hopefully depending on the logistics.
What kind of warranty does the MOZO provide?
Right now, we are the only company in Mongolia that provides a factory warranty. If there are any problems, the customer can bring it not to the dealership, but our factory and replace it with a new car.
Bars Motors will work with other companies that want to sell their cars in the Mongolian market. We would be offering them an after-sales service on assembling their cars and we are targeting supercars as well. Mongolians love offroad cars and supercars. The premium market will benefit from the partnerships with world-class automakers.
Do you have anything else you would like to tell our readers?
Mongolia is a country that has a special relationship with horses. We call our cars a horse as well. If you have a nice car, you would call it the steel horse, or a stallion. If you have a bad car, people will call it a nag (the term for a worthless horse). Entering the Mongolian automobile is a task with many requirements. Aside from climate durability, we have high consumer expectations and demands. Surviving and being accepted in the Mongolian market was a very positive first step.
I would like to extend a warm welcome to world-class engineers, designers, and those who want to disrupt the auto industry and the financial industry. This is the place for you to come to and partner with us. I invite all pioneers, leaders, strategic thinkers, and developers to come and join our movement.