Interviews – Tires & Parts News https://tiresandparts.net Your News Source for Everything Automotive Tue, 28 Jun 2022 12:02:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.0.16 Interview with Mr. Silvano Michieli, Chief Procurement Officer at Lamborghini https://tiresandparts.net/news/interview-with-mr-silvano-michieli-chief-procurement-officer-at-lamborghini/ https://tiresandparts.net/news/interview-with-mr-silvano-michieli-chief-procurement-officer-at-lamborghini/#respond Fri, 24 Jun 2022 10:57:20 +0000 https://tiresandparts.net/?p=40157 Since 2020, global supply chains have been faced with exceptional political, social and economic circumstances due to the pandemic, the semiconductor shortage and the Russia-Ukraine war. Lamborghini’s resilience ensured that the company remained extremely solid as it not only took on these challenges but also achieved record-breaking results on the sales and financial fronts. What […]

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Since 2020, global supply chains have been faced with exceptional political, social and economic circumstances due to the pandemic, the semiconductor shortage and the Russia-Ukraine war. Lamborghini’s resilience ensured that the company remained extremely solid as it not only took on these challenges but also achieved record-breaking results on the sales and financial fronts. What strategy did Lamborghini adopt to ensure that production could continue uninterrupted? What approach is it taking as it prepares for the future? These were the topics discussed with Silvano Michieli, the Chief Procurement Officer at Automobili Lamborghini, along with the exemplary cooperation with the Ukrainian supplier Leoni.

How is Lamborghini reacting to the supply chain challenges presented by the current geopolitical situation?

“First Covid, then the issue with semiconductors, not to mention the conflict in Ukraine and protectionist policies: against this backdrop, Lamborghini has been taking risk limitation measures and securing its supply chain. One of the main initiatives that we’ve taken here has been to forge even closer ties with some of our strategic suppliers, going from a more traditional “Supplier – Client” relationship to one that’s more of a partnership. At the same time, we revise our processes to a more proactive, analytical approach. This will enable us to anticipate any new problems in the industry. “

Referring specifically to the war in Ukraine, Lamborghini is in close contact with its suppliers in the country thanks to an emergency task force established by the Volkswagen Group that is responsible for ensuring that a steady flow of supplies continues to arrive. One of the stories that has emerged concerns is the cooperation with Leoni, which produces wiring for the Huracán in the West of the country.

How are Lamborghini suppliers selected? What are the necessary indicators and other requirements?

“We place great importance on checking the financial reliability and sustainability of our suppliers and their supply chains. While the economic side of things must be considered, at the same time we’re having to deal with significant financial strain caused by the series of global crises that we’ve seen in recent years. As well as the margins, we now also look very closely into the solidity of our suppliers. The increasingly partnership-like nature of the relationships that we tend to establish enables them to learn about our requirements from the very beginning and optimize future supplies in terms of times and costs. In addition to financial stability, we also pay close attention to development performance and innovations, quality and logistics in terms of delivery security.”

One of the keys to the success and high standards of the Lamborghini procurement strategy is the balanced blend between extremely well-organized big suppliers with connections to the Volkswagen Group that can provide certain forms of technology or specific components, and a number of smaller but highly specialized suppliers that can provide specific products for the unique Lamborghini manufacturing systems.

Lamborghini is part of the Volkswagen Group. In terms of synergy, what are the greatest benefits that this brings to the supply chain?

“There are considerable advantages to being part of a group like Volkswagen and this is demonstrated by situations such as the semiconductor shortage. Lamborghini has one of the highest contribution margins in the group, so it is prioritized when it comes to supplies. In addition, the group gives us access to a number of forms of technology that play a crucial role in our evolution”

From current challenges to future prospects: at present, Lamborghini is reorganizing stock management along its supply chain because it realizes that in the future the biggest risk of irregular supplies will be with the core materials and components, which play the most decisive role in the whole production cycle.

Globalization as we know it is set to change. Many economists and historians are talking about a decline in globalization and the start of a deglobalization trend. What’s your point of view on the matter?

“I think that phenomena like globalization are irreversible. Numerous geographical areas contribute to the production cycles of items that are made today. In my opinion, an extreme form of deglobalization is a Utopian, short-sighted idea. I’m more of a believer in rethinking the current supply processes and outlooks, which are in any case undergoing a natural evolution in the industry due to the new circumstances.”

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Interview with Mr. Thierry Sabbagh, Managing Director, Nissan Middle East https://tiresandparts.net/news/interview-with-mr-thierry-sabbagh-managing-director-nissan-middle-east/ https://tiresandparts.net/news/interview-with-mr-thierry-sabbagh-managing-director-nissan-middle-east/#respond Wed, 26 Jan 2022 06:48:48 +0000 https://tiresandparts.net/?p=38588 What is your estimate of the size of the spare parts market in the UAE? The UAE is a regional trade hub and an extremely important market for Nissan, one that we have been strongly committed to for over five decades. While the size of the automotive spare parts market is challenging to measure due […]

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What is your estimate of the size of the spare parts market in the UAE?

The UAE is a regional trade hub and an extremely important market for Nissan, one that we have been strongly committed to for over five decades. While the size of the automotive spare parts market is challenging to measure due to the number of automotive and non-automotive stakeholders present, a conservative estimate would be between the AED 30 to 40 billion mark.

How would you describe the importance of the UAE market to this industry?

Experiencing rapid growth in recent years, the importance of the UAE as a market for automotive spare parts both regionally and globally cannot be undermined. The UAE’s geographical location and high standards of business contribute to its role as a major hub, as do the freezones across all emirates that provide excellent logistical gateways for spare parts businesses in the country. Serving as a host through multiple parts-related exhibitions such as Automechanika, the UAE has further cemented its role as the nerve center for businesses and the importance of the booming automotive parts sector.

Nissan’s commitment to the UAE has solidified over the past five decades and is evident with a footprint of over 250 authorized genuine parts wholesalers, service centers and over 25 spare parts outlets operated by our trusted partners, Al Masaood Automobiles and Arabian Automobiles in the UAE. Nissan also offers customers a broad range of genuine spare parts including oil filters, brake pads, timing belts, spark plugs, and air filters, for the highest level of safety and reliability at competitive prices.

Fake spare parts are widely spread. What damages do they cause for companies, individuals, and the economy in general?

The damaging effects of counterfeit spare parts are countless – they represent serious threats to the safety of drivers and those around them and continue to be a major cause of accidents in the region. Together with the UAE government and local partners, Nissan has made great strides in eliminating the number of counterfeit spare parts in the market through awareness campaigns that improve the safety of our customers. An often-overseen downside of fake spare parts is the wastage caused due to the shorter life span, leading to more parts required per car in the long run. An associated issue is also the impact on authorized parts dealers, diminishing revenue generation due to the significantly lower prices of fake spare parts.

What solutions are needed to overcome the semiconductor chips crisis, which has greatly damaged the automotive industry?

The semiconductor shortage has not only affected the automotive industry but also had a negative multiplier effect in the consumer electronics and lighting industries amongst others. As Nissan continues to make innovation accessible for all, we continue to coordinate with global colleagues and local partners as we inch closer towards rectifying the shortage, by increasing manufacturing footprint globally and refining logistical concerns that surround the semiconductor shortage.

What are the main challenges facing this sector?

While multiple stakeholders are working together towards the betterment of the industry, I believe some of the main challenges facing the automotive spare parts sector are the widespread presence of low-quality counterfeit parts that have damaging effects to customers, businesses, and the economy. To combat this, Nissan is working with government entities while introducing multiple awareness campaigns to educate drivers about the dangers and risks of fake spare parts.

The other challenge facing the spare parts industry is the global supply chain backlog and the limited production of spare parts in the GCC region. By working closely with our local partners, we are expanding inventories to cover any potential gaps due to logistical constraints. In doing so we can ensure our customers aren’t affected and receive the high-quality service and parts that they have come to expect from Nissan.

How would you describe the competition in the market?

Serving as a land of opportunity for businesses in the region and globally, the UAE market is competitive by nature for all industries, automotive spare parts included. That said, at Nissan customers remain at the core of our operations and so we are constantly evaluating the requirements of the market to offer customers products and services that cater to their evolving needs.

How would you describe your performance in the UAE market, and how important is this market to you?

The Middle East remains a key region of opportunity for Nissan and our presence in the UAE dates back over fifty years. This has been possible with our trusted partners, Arabian Automobiles Company, the official distributor of Nissan vehicles in Dubai and the Northern Emirates, and Al Masaood Automobiles, the official distributor of Nissan vehicles in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain. In 1994, Nissan was also the first Japanese carmaker to establish a regional headquarter in the Middle East, furthering our trust and dedication to the region, the nation, and its people.

During the first six-months (April 2021 – September 2021) of the company’s 2021 Fiscal Year, Nissan recorded a staggering 46.3% increase in sales across the Gulf region, comprising Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the UAE. This equates to a market share increase of +0.3 points- equivalent to 1.8% and was strongly supported by our best-selling model in the region, the iconic Nissan Patrol. Continuing its reign as the Hero of All Terrain, the Patrol witnessed a 27% increase in sales across the Gulf, while the Patrol Safari range experienced a 51% increase in sales – cementing the region’s adoration for the legendary SUV. This was echoed by other models in the line-up, including the Nissan X-Trail and KICKS recording a 129% and 14% increase in sales during the first half of FY21.

Our strong, growing line-up of vehicles and parts offerings, along with our reputation as a trusted automaker has been the cornerstone of our success, leading to us delivering higher sales than anticipated, despite the headwinds caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. In the past 12 months, we have also expanded our aftersales product line-up to include Nissan Genuine Battery with two years warranty and launched an aftermarket brand, Value Advantage® that offers customers Nissan-validated parts at affordable prices. Offering customers greater convenience, we have also grown our aftersales network in the region with the introduction of three new service facilities, boosting overall capacity to over 2,500 vehicles per day and over 700,000 vehicles per year across 10 markets.

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Interview with Omar Alzubaidi, Head of Genesis, Middle East and Africa https://tiresandparts.net/news/interview-with-omar-alzubaidi-head-of-genesis-middle-east-and-africa/ https://tiresandparts.net/news/interview-with-omar-alzubaidi-head-of-genesis-middle-east-and-africa/#respond Thu, 16 Dec 2021 07:43:59 +0000 https://tiresandparts.net/?p=38138 More than five years back, Genesis launched its new identity, is it possible to say that it now has its own independent personality and is going according to the company’s plans? As a luxury global brand, Genesis has gone from strength to strength in the last five years. We are very pleased with the progress; […]

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More than five years back, Genesis launched its new identity, is it possible to say that it now has its own independent personality and is going according to the company’s plans?

As a luxury global brand, Genesis has gone from strength to strength in the last five years. We are very pleased with the progress; Genesis is now viewed as an independent brand in both international and local automotive markets. 

As the Genesis name implies, the brand personality embraces creation, innovation and luxury. We strive to create the finest automobiles and services for connoisseurs around the world.

In the last 5 years Genesis has firmly established itself as one of the leading luxury automotive brands in the market, with a robust model portfolio including the G70, G80, G90, GV70 and GV80.

Moving into the next 5 years, Genesis has unveiled its first dedicated electric vehicle, the GV60, a model that embodies the brand’s journey towards electrification. The GV60 follows the same model naming scheme as Genesis’ existing lineup, highlighting the brand’s continuous commitment to its values even after electrification. The vehicle also marks the beginning of “luxury brand lineup that interacts with drivers”.

Do you believe that the joining of an elite of international car designer played an important role in the creation of the new Genesis character?

 

Genesis’ design team is pioneered by some of the most talented designers in the industry. The foundation of Genesis’ design philosophy, ‘Athletic Elegance’ has been crafted on fundamental principles of being audacious, progressive and distinctly Korean – this is the triple formula that defines the Genesis brand identity.

Genesis combines the perfect balance between athletic and elegance. The joining of elite international car has allowed the Genesis brand to push boundaries and create a recognizable identity across the world.

Genesis recently announced that Donckerwolke is broadening his role to strengthen the brand’s global brand presence. Luc Donckerwolke will leverage his expertise in design to oversee design-related communications within the group. Adding to his current role, Donckerwolke will also lead Genesis’ overall brand initiatives in the global market.

 Compared to the competition in the same categories, are you satisfied with Genesis’ position in our markets here in the Middle East?

 

Genesis is the most recent luxury automotive brand that has been developed in both the region and worldwide. Genesis has a strong standing in the market and against competition, which has been elevated by the recent launches of The GV70 and The GV80. Some of the most attractive models to date, Genesis’ entry into the SUV market helped to amplify the brands positioning both regionally and globally.

Why weren’t Genesis centers and showrooms independent of the parent company’s brand?

Over the last five years, we have been perfecting the Genesis experience. From sight, to smell and touch we wanted to ensure that the Genesis showroom experience was unlike any other.

After working with leading designers and architects around the world, we are finally ready to begin rolling out Genesis independent showrooms across the Middle East & Africa region, to join our already existing independent showrooms around the world, including China and South Korea. We are working hard to launch independent regional Genesis showrooms, which will be rolled out over the course of the coming years, available for Genesis customers to experience.

About a year back, you launched the “GV80” as a first step from Genesis in the category of multi-use vehicles, and it received a remarkable applaud in the regional market despite the global conditions due to Covid 19, were you satisfied with the sales results and demand for this model if you aspired to higher goals?

We received a very positive reaction from customers across the Middle East for the launch of The GV80. One of Genesis’ most popular models to date, the demand have proved to be extremely high and has exceeded all expectations since its regional launch.

The SUV market is becoming increasingly popular and is now in fact the fastest growing automotive segment, meaning that similarly to The GV70, we had some of our best sale figures to date with the launch of the GV80.

At the beginning of this summer, you launched a model of the multi-purpose category “GV70”, and everyone who saw this model agreed on the splendor of its design, specifications and performance, in short, how would you describe this wonderful model and what are the goals related to it?

 

The brand-new Genesis GV70 is the first athletic urban midsize SUV to feature a uniquely athletic exterior design and a powerful stance while also meeting the practical needs of an SUV.

With the launch of the GV70, Genesis has been striving to build an integrated and sincere connection on every aspect directly relating to consumer preferences – including design, product, service and lifestyle. The GV70 is based on a customer-centric philosophy and aims to provide a luxurious model that consumers want and assists with the needs of their everyday lives.

Can we say that the “GV70” has become a strong player in its category, that you have the confidence and conviction to confirm this, or you are still waiting for days to come to confirm this?

Since its regional launch we have seen a considerable response in sales and customer feedback for the GV70. While the car is still new to market, The GV70 is proving to be one of the strongest players in the SUV category. Having recently been announced as the winner of MotorTrend’s Golden Calipers” for SUV of the Year. The GV70 successfully beat nearly three dozen candidates and was cited as winning this year’s SUV of the Year thanks to its strong value proposition, stellar driving experience, engaging design, and an expansive package of standard features.

 From a technical point of view, what is the most important characteristic of the “GV70” model?

The GV70 is the first midsize SUV model produced by Genesis and features a Uniquely athletic SUV design with a strong personality and a driver oriented interior layout that expresses the ‘Beauty of white space’ in its ultimate interpretation, completing a uniquely Genesis luxury experience.

The design of the GV70’s front is thoroughly unique. The iconic Crest Grille, which takes its shape from the Genesis logo, has been set lower than the Quad Lamps to reflect the SUV’s athletic nature, while the two-lined Quad Lamps evoke a sense of speed and dynamism.

The Parabolic Line, which begins above the Quad Lamps and runs elegantly along the side of the SUV, creates a dramatic contrast with the muscular rear fenders. The sleek and elegant coupe-like roofline, along with the dropping chrome line of the C-pillar, accentuates the GV70’s unique character.

At the rear, the taillights feature the ultra-thin, two-lined Quad Lamp, while all functional elements are set in the bumper, helping to achieve exceptionally clean, pure forms. The rear also features a number of subtle design details – including a G-Matrix pattern-applied bumper, and a unique vertical shaped muffler, accentuate the GV70’s athletic look.

What about the price, are you convinced of the selling price, or will there be some reviews of the selling prices?

We are very convinced of the Genesis line-up selling prices. Our models are priced in line with the quality, design and technology that makes a Genesis vehicle. Plus, customers can also enjoy attractive benefits across the Genesis model of their choice. Each model includes a five-year 100,000km service contract – covering maintenance work. As well as additional benefits including a five years’ or unlimited km manufacturer warranty – ensuring that clients can feel confident in their buying decision, as well as five years roadside assistance service for peace of mind. Lastly, all Genesis vehicles comes with 2 years concierge service to further add value to our customers. 

We are on the verge of electric car technologies to keep pace with the future car industry, when will you launch the electric “GV60”?

 

Genesis will take audacious steps to lead the age of electrification into the sustainable future. All our newly launched models from 2025 will be fuel cell and battery EVs, forming an EV lineup with eight models by 2030. From this, we aim to become carbon neutral brand by 2035.

The GV60 is the brand’s first electric vehicle model based on a dedicated EV platform, marking Genesis’ journey towards electrification. It follows the brand’s first electric version of the G80. It will set a new standard for luxury electric vehicles with a powerful driving performance and various key features which are emotionally connected to customers.

The roll-out of The GV60 globally will largely depend on the electric car infrastructure available, as the world moves towards an increasingly electric way of life we hope to bring The GV60 to customers in the near future.

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Interview with Jayraj Balasundaram, General Manager at Pioneer Auctions https://tiresandparts.net/news/interview-with-jayraj-balasundaram-general-manager-at-pioneer-auctions/ https://tiresandparts.net/news/interview-with-jayraj-balasundaram-general-manager-at-pioneer-auctions/#respond Tue, 30 Nov 2021 07:13:28 +0000 https://tiresandparts.net/?p=37923 Tell us about the history and origins of Pioneer Auctions? Since its inception back in 2008, Pioneer Auctions has been a leader within its industry, living up to its name and introducing many firsts. We were amongst the first auction houses in the UAE to allow customers to bid in real-time, through our cutting-edge live-streaming […]

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Tell us about the history and origins of Pioneer Auctions?

Since its inception back in 2008, Pioneer Auctions has been a leader within its industry, living up to its name and introducing many firsts. We were amongst the first auction houses in the UAE to allow customers to bid in real-time, through our cutting-edge live-streaming services. Pioneer Auctions has now evolved to offer its client base a seamless ‘click of a button’ auction experience that is available 24/7 through our website and recently launched mobile application, supplemented by our weekly car auction sessions.

What products/services does Pioneer Auctions offer (online and offline)?

Our esteemed clientele includes leading public and private entities across various sectors in the UAE, in addition to end-users who want to get the best deals in the market when it comes to buying their favourite cars. Our auction categories are very diverse and they include everything from automobiles, car plate numbers, building & construction materials all the way to marine equipment, and many other items.

What are Pioneer Auctions’ key selling propositions?

We provide buyers and sellers with the best market prices through our car auctions. Pioneer Auctions offers consumers three key channels for bidding: 1) Our physical live auction hall which is located in Umm Ramool, Dubai, 2) Our digital-based auction hall sessions which are live streamed through our website, and 3) Our ‘full auction services platform’ which is made available through our website and mobile application channels. As an industry-leader, we take pride in setting ourselves from the crowd by offering three key selling points:

  1. Hassle-free Car Examination: Every car displayed for auctioning has gone through rigorous testing (readily available report cards); from comprehensive car inspection, vehicle passing all the way to registering the car with the relevant Roads & Transport Authority (RTA)
  2. Synergized Live Auctions: We are one of the few car auction houses in the region to conduct live hall auctions, but we do it as on-site and across our digital platforms; website and mobile application. We also conduct live car bidding sessions every week for our guests and clients
  3. End-to-End Services & Offers: We provide end-to-end services and special offers for both buyers and sellers of our auctioned cars, in addition to other products sold on our website

Tell us more about the new app you recently launched (how is it different from your online platform and other mobile apps)?

Pioneer Auctions’ newly-launched car auction app will provide buyers and sellers with a more accessible, synergized and interactive bidding experience. Our company has very lately reinforced its online auction platform by developing a state-of-the-art mobile application that is powered by an advanced AucTech Technology. Pioneer Auctions’ new mobile app will enable buyers and sellers to experience an easier and faster bidding process, which can be conducted directly through a mobile device on a 24/7 basis. All car bidding transactions on our online platform will be safeguarded by a secure payment gateway to provide consumers with confidence and peace of mind. Users can download Pioneer Auctions’ new mobile app via Apple’s iOS or Andriod’s GooglePlay store, or visit www.pioneerauctions.ae.

What are the industry prospects of ‘online car trading’ in the UAE/Middle East?

The car industry is big business for audiences across all sectors in the UAE (traders, showrooms, delivery companies and end-users). Specifically, within our industry, competitors have moved all of their auctioning services online, however, the experience of bidding which a lot of these competitors provide is of a hassle and requires extensive time and effort. Pioneer Auctions differentiates itself by offering buyers and sellers a very seamless and efficient ‘click-of-a-button’ car bidding experience that is fully integrated into our website. Similarly, we have taken this to the next level by launching the mobile app version of Pioneer Auctions in November of this year.

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Interview with Dr. Saeed Dana, Managing Director, Pegasus Automotive Group https://tiresandparts.net/news/interview-with-dr-saeed-dana-managing-director-pegasus-automotive-group/ https://tiresandparts.net/news/interview-with-dr-saeed-dana-managing-director-pegasus-automotive-group/#respond Mon, 01 Feb 2021 08:57:51 +0000 https://tiresandparts.net/?p=33847 Please provide us with a brief overview of the company? We are a known lifestyle holding company with operations based in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Kuwait, Geneva, and London, USA and Far East. Pegasus Automotive owns several of the world’s leading brands in the field of luxury products–our strengths are in the automotive and retail industries […]

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Please provide us with a brief overview of the company?

We are a known lifestyle holding company with operations based in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Kuwait, Geneva, and London, USA and Far East. Pegasus Automotive owns several of the world’s leading brands in the field of luxury products–our strengths are in the automotive and retail industries as Pegasus Automotive Group.

Some of the iconic brands that we represent include Aston Martin, Rolls Royce Motor Cars, Koenigsegg, Sports Classics Heritage, Bizzarrini and more to come. We know the long line of heritage that these brands carry, which is why our business philosophy is focused on the continuing pursuit of excellence and the provision of the finest retail customer experience.

How has the coronavirus (COVID-19) affected the operations of the Pegasus Automotive Group? What is your game plan in terms of providing key customer support amidst these challenging times?

The emergence of COVID-19 early last year has affected all industry verticals–including the automotive segment and the entire retail business as a whole. Various markets experienced a decline, but the challenge at hand was how do you maintain one’s connection with the customer.

Despite the pandemic, the interest in cars did not wane, but we had to think out of the box and utilize innovation to keep the emotional connection with our clients. To address this concern, we placed concentration on reinforcing our digital capabilities to creatively engage our customers. We brought the showroom experience on virtual platforms to get a closer look of their preferred models, while they were in the comfort of their own homes. We conducted virtual sales consultations via online platforms and we even walked the extra mile by sending the car to their home upon request, including test driving the vehicle.

Our forward looking efforts resulted in positive outcomes for the company. In fact, some of the last cars that we were able to sell were actually completed via our virtual consultation service.

From a long term perspective, what impact will COVID-19 leave on the industry?

As earlier stated, the pandemic has managed to affect various industry verticals. As a recourse, it was just practical for companies like us to look for new marketing solutions that can help in maintain sales ratios within the automotive sector–which is why efforts towards digitalization and the implementation of innovative marketing approaches were used. Again, the excellent car sales we were able to post last year is attributed to our virtual sales consultation service.

Despite the importance of traditional marketing and sales operations in the automotive sector, e-business has become more popular among customers during this difficult period. The  COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that this type of trade provides an effective means to maintain customer participation and sustainability. Although virtual showrooms are popular with online sales, they still cannot replace real showrooms. It can be said here that the traditional and electronic processes at the level of marketing and sales complement each other.

As part of the ongoing efforts to address the impact made by the pandemic, what kind of strategy and forward planning should leaders be thinking about now?

Today’s crop of business leaders should know that speed is the name of the game–they should act swiftly and also be decisive in the process. Their thinking should not just be for the good of the company but also for the industry as a whole as well.

In dealing with the pandemic, we focused on closely monitoring macroeconomic indicators and changes in consumer behavior; constantly reviewing our contingency plans as new information becomes available; exercising rigor in managing our finances and utmost prudence on cost reductions.

The company continues to practice innovation in implementing its sales approaches. We continue to remain active and prepare our operations for recovery by taking these critical steps in promoting a safe working environment.

Name some of your best selling cars in the region.

The Aston Martin DB 11 is our best seller here in the UAE. The DBX, Aston Martin’s first luxury SUV, recently arrived and is already matching our positive expectations for its entry into the market. In my opinion, the DBX will take up a significant share in the market.

Please share more details about DBX. What should we look forward to and how will it fare against the competition?

The DBX, Aston Martin’s first luxury SUV has been very well received by the market. It is seen as an important model for Aston Martin and is currently being offered at prices starting from AED 917,000 including VAT.

The body structure of this new SUV was built utilizing a bonded aluminum construction method, which is both light and stiff and helps keep the overall kerb weight to 2,245 kilograms. Its power comes from the same 4.0-liter, twin turbocharged V8 engine, churning out 550 horsepower and 700Nm of torque, which can help propel the SUV from 0 to 100 Kph in just over 4.5 seconds with a top speed of 181 Mph (291 Kph). The DBX also comes with an adaptive triple volume air suspension and is integrated with the latest 48v electric anti-roll control system and electronic adaptive dampers. The suspension allows ride height to be increased by 45 mm or lowered by 50 mm, which further adds to the DBX’s capability to take on a wide range of terrain.

The debut of the DBX in Dubai demonstrates Pegasus Automotive Group’s continuous commitment towards bringing leading luxury brands like Aston Martin closer to their customers, while also promising a memorable and holistic customer experience.

What are your insights for 2021—will you be launching anything in the next few months?

The impact left behind by COVID-19 was harsh but offered a beneficial experience for the auto sector–with brands in this sector proving their ability to emerge from the crisis stronger than before. We are now seeing the advent of the auto market recovery in the UAE, following the partial lifting of the restrictions imposed due to the repercussions caused by the pandemic, as we expect the coming period to witness a promising recovery phase in which this sector returns to its usual levels of growth.

At Pegasus, we are now looking into delivering the best service to our customers–bringing them a key customer experience that is truly unique and unforgettable. We have exciting plans for 2021, which we will be announcing in due time.

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Interview with Christian Soemmer – Managing Director at Cadillac International Operations and Cadillac Middle East https://tiresandparts.net/news/interview-with-christian-soemmer-managing-director-at-cadillac-international-operations-and-cadillac-middle-east/ https://tiresandparts.net/news/interview-with-christian-soemmer-managing-director-at-cadillac-international-operations-and-cadillac-middle-east/#respond Wed, 30 Sep 2020 14:07:50 +0000 https://tiresandparts.net/?p=32239 How has COVID-19 impacted Cadillac and how have you adapted your business model to better support customers during these unprecedented times? The pandemic has had its effects felt across all industries around the world and automotive was no different. Nevertheless, as a company we have managed to pivot and adapt to the continually changing situation […]

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How has COVID-19 impacted Cadillac and how have you adapted your business model to better support customers during these unprecedented times?

The pandemic has had its effects felt across all industries around the world and automotive was no different. Nevertheless, as a company we have managed to pivot and adapt to the continually changing situation and continued our aggressive product launch plan, which most recently included the first ever Cadillac CT4 and CT5 and their V performance variants, and with it completing our freshest line-up of Cadillac’s ever that will soon culminate with the launch of the icon all-new 2021 Cadillac Escalade.

When the pandemic hit, our first focus was to ensure the health and safety of our employees, stakeholders, and at the heart of it all our valuable customers. We rolled out several activities and services in partnership with our dealer partners including extended warranties on vehicles that were expiring during the lockdown to give customers a peace of mind and stay safe by staying home. We also had our 24/7 roadside assistance available to support all of our customers and many contactless options for service and new vehicle purchases. We launched Shop.Click.Drive. in a number of countries in the region, the online purchasing platform for Cadillac.

As we continue to adapt and evolve our business model to better meet consumer needs in the ‘new norm’, I am confident that with our trusted dealer network in the region, freshest Cadillac line-up and our loyal customers, we will come out strong and continue to grow together, drive the brand forward and explore new ways to transform our business model to ensure Cadillac continues to be recognized as a mark for luxury.

What makes Cadillac’s line-up different than that of your main competitors?

Across all our nameplates, our competitive advantage is led by our distinctive design, advanced technologies and uncompromised performance.

With our product offensive, we are now in a number of new segments Cadillac was never in before – giving our customers even more choice when purchasing their next Cadillac. In 2020, this included the first ever Cadillac XT6 going on sale, the launch of our first ever CT4 and CT5, and now the launch of the all-new 2021 Cadillac Escalade, the icon will complete our freshest line-up and our full SUV offering.

There are a number of factors that make our brand distinct from any other. First, the Cadillac brand has over 118 year of experience in building vehicles, the reputation we have built in giving our customers a truly premium experience and a logo with a long heritage, this is something that can only be done over time.

Second, Cadillac brings a blend of performance, technology and design. For instance, with the launch of the 2021 Escalade, Cadillac will introduce the industry-first curved OLED display technology, which offers more than 38 inches of total diagonal display area, with twice the pixel density of a 4K television.

Additionally, Cadillac sedans are also distinguished by Cadillac’s award-winning RWD architecture which brings an exhilarating driving experience while maintaining the brand’s signature blend of performance, comfort and refinement. Lastly, from a design perspective, Cadillac stands out with the unique horizontal lights, that combine a long vertical lighting with shorter, horizontally positioned elements.

You touched on the launch of the online car purchasing platform, why now and what are your expectations for it? Do you think your customers are comfortable making a substantial purchase such as a car online?

They say “the only constant is change”, and this year proved the saying more than ever. The same people who today rely on e-commerce for all their purchases without thinking twice, probably questioned the entire concept of online shopping a decade ago. Everything is moving around us, across industries and around the world to meet customer demands and technology is driving the way.

This very much resonates here in the region too – the demand for online shopping has grown exponentially in the UAE and has forced industries, such as automotive, to adapt quickly in the move towards a digitalized world. As a matter of fact, a recent study by a renowned automotive publication in the region revealed that 6 out 10 adults living in the GCC are open to purchase a vehicle online, which we only expect to increase with time.

We decided to launch the Shop.Click.Drive. to provide customers with an innovative and simple way to purchase a Cadillac. Customers have access to the platform 24/7 from anywhere, anytime, including the ability to apply for a number of financing options at the touch of a button.

With the ongoing pandemic, social distancing has become the norm, and, in the fast-paced environment we live in, time is extremely valuable. This platform gives our customers exactly what they need – the complete flexibility on how they purchase their next vehicle, providing them with the support needed, and all from the comfort and safety of their homes. It has been a great success so far and has proven to be a real asset in elevating our consumer journey, so we are very excited to bring this offering to the region and look forward to feedback from our customers.

Also, our dealer partners in the region have been so quick in adapting to the change and have done an amazing job creating new means of communication in light of the outbreak of the pandemic. Our trusted dealer partners, brought to life virtual showroom services namely a digital buying experience, including door-to-door delivery services and digital customer service tools, to help customers navigate through these unprecedented times.

Talk to us about Cadillac’s EV future, what’s in store for customers and how does it compete with your competition?

I am proud to say that Cadillac has entered the decade as an ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) brand and will leave as an EV brand.

Building on more than a century of innovation, we’ve recently revealed the first EV – the Cadillac LYRIQ, which further positions the brand as a technology leader for General Motors.

All Cadillac EVs will be based on GM’s future Battery Electric Vehicle platform, which the brand will be the first to use. The new architecture will be flexible, allowing the company to respond quickly to customer preferences with a relatively short design and development lead time.

We won’t stop there as we continue to redefine the boundaries and limits of mobility, connectivity, safety and technology. We will cadence the introduction of EVs and move forward with a mix of ICE vehicles and EVs.

As part of General Motors, we continue to work towards our global vision of Zero Crashes, Zero Emissions and Zero Congestion and Cadillac is leading this EV strategy. There is a demand and need for EVs and this will continue to grow. At Cadillac, we believe we can play an integral role in shaping our industry. We have the expertise to deliver exceptional EVs and ownership experience and together with General Motors we are currently investing millions into research and development to bring this to life.

On a more local front, we have also seen an uplift in the EV infrastructure. More and more charging stations are being installed across the Middle East – looking at Dubai for example, DEWA has successfully installed 240 electric charging stations in different areas such as government offices, petrol stations, shopping malls, etc. with plans to add more by end of the year. All these changes encourage demand for EVs and speeds up adaptation.

 What is your outlook for the rest of the year – any major launches planned for the next quarter?

As I mentioned, we recently announced the arrival of the Cadillac CT4, CT5 and their V performance variants to the region and we’ve just revealed our first EV, Cadillac LYRIQ, which is a major step for us.

We are also very excited for what is in store for the rest of the year and we will be ending it on a high note. We are very excited to be bringing to market the all-new 2021 Cadillac Escalade.

Since its launch more than two decades ago, the luxury SUV has proven to be a customer favorite, both globally and locally, accounting for nearly half of our sales and we are confident the latest iteration will continue this success story.

The all new Escalade will come with some of the most advanced technologies in any vehicle in the automotive industry, including an incredible 38-inch OLED 4K screen. It is innovations like this that gives us confidence that we have a unique offering for the luxury car buyer. The iconic SUV also has Augmented Reality-enabled navigation with a live forward camera view. When it comes to looks, the Escalade has it all – it maintains Cadillac’s signature vertical lighting element, but the new interpretation adds a sleek, horizontal headlamp to reinforce a broad, confident stance. The tall, vertical, rear light signature continues but adds deep three-dimensional layers and finishes with detailed etching.


We hear a team of women designers were behind the next-generation 2021 Escalade. Talk to us more about this.

Indeed, we are proud to say that the Cadillac Escalade was designed and built by a diverse team including a number of very talented women designers. This enabled us to have an even better understanding when building a vehicle with the global customer in mind.

At General Motors, we are committed to understanding and embracing our differences, and reducing biases from the standpoint of both genders. We have worked hard to create an environment that supports all employees while recognizing and respecting them as individuals, and enables them, regardless of their gender, and based on their qualifications, to build vehicles and join any part of the business.

This is not just applicably internationally, but in every single one of our offices, as we continue to push for women to be in leadership positions. On a regional level, we are continuously rolling out initiatives to help and encourage more females to enter STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) professions.

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Interview with Alejandro Agag – CEO of Extreme E Race https://tiresandparts.net/news/interview-with-alejandro-agag-ceo-of-extreme-e-race/ https://tiresandparts.net/news/interview-with-alejandro-agag-ceo-of-extreme-e-race/#respond Wed, 30 Sep 2020 04:38:34 +0000 https://tiresandparts.net/?p=32214 You are the founder and CEO of the new “Extreme E” racing series. You want to use motorsport to draw the attention of people and governments around the world to endangered habitats and climate change. How do you plan to do that? Extreme E has a really ambitious target, which is to raise awareness and […]

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You are the founder and CEO of the new “Extreme E” racing series. You want to use motorsport to draw the attention of people and governments around the world to endangered habitats and climate change. How do you plan to do that?

Extreme E has a really ambitious target, which is to raise awareness and to sound the alarm for what’s going on in these locations. We plan to do that by taking an electric car race to the most endangered and damaged corners of the planet, to showcase the harm that is being inflicted in those places that sometimes don’t get any attention. We cannot really be serious about taking measures to fix it unless we realise what’s going on. So the first step is raising awareness and that is what Extreme E wants to do, but not only that Extreme E wants to go beyond and also take action, even if it’s a small action, to show that any activity counts and we will be doing specific things to counteract climate change in every one of those places.

If we ignore social aspirations for a moment, how will the competitions of the new racing series differ from conventional motorsport events?

I think Extreme E will be a race like no other. First of all, men and women are fighting together as teams and we haven’t seen this before in motorsport. It will be a race with incredibly powerful cars with amazing acceleration, very high performance machines which are electric and going off road – another world first – so it’s a format that is going to be very informative, and it’s more of a revolution in the world of off road racing.

The concept stipulates that all teams start with the same vehicles, which have been specially developed for this racing series. Test pilots such as Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky, who is testing for the tire supplier Continental, are very excited. What makes these vehicles so special?

The vehicles are designed for extreme performance, they are incredibly powerful for their weight so if you think of a normal car that fights for the Dakar for example, the weight is over two tonnes and they have maybe 300 horsepower. Here we are talking about almost double that power but less weight at 1.6 tonnes, so you can imagine what kind of acceleration and performance this car can deliver. So, this makes it the perfect machine to showcase electric technology in every kind of environment.

Continental is the exclusive tyre supplier for the entire series. Why is Continental the ideal partner for the “Extreme E” series and how did you convince those responsible? 

We love the partnership with Continental, it was right at the beginning it joined us as almost a founding partner. This is because we share the same vision of the world, what’s going on in the planet and trying to go the right way about fighting all the different challenges we have in front of us to support society, which is very important and that’s why we matched so perfectly. Also, Continental has great technology that’s going to allow us to have great tyres for these machines, and tyres are a key part of the whole competition obviously so it’s a perfect partner for us.

In other racing series, the tyres regularly play a key role in the fight for a podium place. How important are the tyres in the “Extreme E” series?

Tyres are always very important in any championship, but even more so for a championship like Extreme E, where we are going to be racing on different surfaces from rocks to sand, to grass to ice and snow. So it’s going to be very challenging for these tyres, so we need a tyre that can cope with everything, that is not going to fail you and is going to allow these machines to show their true performance, and I think that is what we have with Continental.

The starting signal for the first race was scheduled for the beginning of next year. But then the coronavirus spread like wildfire all over the world. How did the pandemic change your plans?

It hasn’t affected too much luckily; it has just slowed us down a little bit. The project continues and everyone is committed, everyone is pushing and of course Covid has been a really big problem and tragedy for many people around the world, and we still need to be very careful but if you think about Extreme E, it has no spectators so it’s almost a Covid resistant projects far, very little are known about the field of drivers. It is worth noting that the names of both men and women are currently in the mix. Can you please tell us something about the planned composition of the teams and perhaps also reveal the names of some drivers?

We will try to keep the teams on-site very small as we want to keep cost control for the championship but also, we want everything to fit on the ship. The teams will have only five members plus two drivers, one man one woman, and those five members will be engineers and mechanics, but that’s the limit for a team.

We are hearing a lot of names of drivers that are associated with the championship, but we have our ambassador Sebastian Ogier and we’ve been talking to many other drivers. I don’t want to say names because that would betray the confidentiality of the conversations, but there are some really big names that could be associated with the championship, I really hope. We think during the fall we will see a lot of announcements of drivers happening and then everyone will race in March.

It is quite unusual that nobody will be able to buy a single entry ticket for the “Extreme E.” Your concept does not cater for spectators at the track. Are you not afraid that the atmosphere so typical of other racing events will be missed and that this will have an adverse effect on the general level of acceptance by the global motorsport fanbase?

This is a different concept, a different type of motorsport, so it has actually been conceived not to have spectators so I don’t think anybody will miss the spectators in this specific kind of sport. There are no crowds in the arctic ice cap, in the rainforest, in the amazon, maybe some locals will show up and watch from the hill or from a tree but that’s it.

How can fans follow the races?

The competitive action will be broadcast live on the Saturday and Sunday of each race weekend. The races will be shown both on online channels and on conventional TV, such as Dubai Sports in the Middle East..Fans can also follow all the action on social media.

Extreme E is organized in cooperation with Formula E. The organizer, Formula E Holdings Ltd., expects ten teams in the first year of the series.

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Interview with Nico Meier – Product designer at Continental https://tiresandparts.net/news/interview-with-nico-meier-product-designer-at-continental/ https://tiresandparts.net/news/interview-with-nico-meier-product-designer-at-continental/#respond Tue, 25 Aug 2020 12:15:28 +0000 https://tiresandparts.net/?p=31741 Nico Meier, product designer at Continental, talks about the special challenges that the tires are exposed to in this series, the importance of the tire sidewall in general, and its role in the sidewall design of the Extreme E tire in particular. What is the task of the sidewall of a tire from the viewpoint […]

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Nico Meier, product designer at Continental, talks about the special challenges that the tires are exposed to in this series, the importance of the tire sidewall in general, and its role in the sidewall design of the Extreme E tire in particular.

What is the task of the sidewall of a tire from the viewpoint of a technician?

The sidewall plays a key role in the overall construction of a tire in the truest sense of the word. Modern mid-size class vehicles now regularly have a permissible gross vehicle weight of 1,500 to almost 2,000 kilograms. The increasingly popular SUVs come to three metric tons. That’s roughly the same weight as a full-grown hippo.

Talk me through the Continental tires equipped on cars in the new Extreme E racing series. What distinguishes this tire from conventional tires.

The tire is exposed to much larger loads during the races than any other tire. This is due firstly to the vehicles used. The specially-developed ODYSSEY 21, which is driven by all of the teams, is an extraordinary vehicle which is roughly similar to commercial SUVs in length, width and weight, but with its electrical equivalent of 550 HP has three times the torque of the Formula E Gen 2 vehicle. Secondly, the races do not take place on standardized race tracks with comparable road surfaces, but in a natural environment with varying and very different surfaces: sand, scree, mud, ice, to name but a few.

Added to this is the general race situation with extreme accelerations, violent braking maneuvers, high speeds, even on tight corners, drift movements, and even jumps. We are dealing with the biggest challenge that tires in motorsport have to face. With the help of ContiPressureCheck technology, tire data such as the air pressure and temperature should therefore be displayed on a screen in the cockpit during the race for the drivers, so they can adapt their driving style in extreme situations.

The challenges on the tires are very different from race to race, because the venues are so different. Sometimes it’s through the desert, another time through the rainforest or even the Arctic. Is there a special tire for every race?

No. Using the tried-and-tested Continental CrossContact, we have developed a tire that should work at all event locations and in all conditions. So there’s no special desert tire, or a special polar tire. Nor is it the intention to fit new tires for every start. This would also not be in line with the sustainability requirements of the racing series. In other words, the tires do not differ visually from one another.

Are there legal requirements for the sidewall design for these special products?

No. However, the tires for the Extreme E racing series also have some important information on the edge of the rim – for example, “Only for racing,” so it is clear that this tire cannot be purchased commercially. Since this inner ring is correspondingly small, we have more space for individual design. This is a rare stroke of luck that we have to capitalize on.

What immediately catches the eye is the unusual color. Can you talk me through that?

The design of the tire is divided into four zones. One zone contains the Continental logotype, another the product name CrossContact – both in Conti yellow. In between are zones with multi-colored structures. This colorfulness is a striking contrast to conventional tires. We decided on this for two reasons. Firstly, unlike products in the retail sector, these tires will rarely be seen at close proximity.

Thanks to the colored highlighting, we achieve improved visibility at greater distances and on digital media. And secondly, with the color of the design elements, we want to reflect the extreme and breathtaking natural landscapes in which the races are held. Green is the color of the rainforest, yellow stands for desert sand and sandstone mountains, blue for the ocean, and white for the Arctic. In addition, we have created a 3D effect that gives the elements the appearance of a protective layer – similar to a dragon’s skin or a lizard’s scale armor. In doing so, we highlight the extremely robust and resilient character of the tire. During the races, the rotation creates a fascinating flow effect.

A racing tire is subject to different loads than an ordinary tire. Did you have to take this into account in any way in terms of design?

The extreme loads result in the tire undergoing relatively high deformation during the race. This also results in significant temperatures. We cannot rule out the possibility that the design elements will be damaged. Especially since abrasions are also possible in the event of unintentional contact with the vehicle’s surroundings. We are therefore developing special repair kits for the sidewall design which we can use to restore tires that were only visually damaged during the races, on location between the individual stages. However, the final concept for this has not yet been determined.

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Interview with Alex Ashmore – Senior Vice President and President Aftermarket https://tiresandparts.net/news/interview-with-alex-ashmore-senior-vice-president-and-president-aftermarket/ https://tiresandparts.net/news/interview-with-alex-ashmore-senior-vice-president-and-president-aftermarket/#respond Mon, 17 Aug 2020 12:44:01 +0000 https://tiresandparts.net/?p=31654 The coronavirus pandemic has been a once-in-a-lifetime event that has changed the world in unprecedented and unpredictable ways. In what way has it impacted the auto industry in regards to the aftermarket? I’ve been in this industry for 30 years, in multiple different regions from Europe to Asia, to now leading Delphi Technologies’ global aftermarket. […]

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The coronavirus pandemic has been a once-in-a-lifetime event that has changed the world in
unprecedented and unpredictable ways. In what way has it impacted the auto industry in regards to
the aftermarket?
I’ve been in this industry for 30 years, in multiple different regions from Europe to Asia, to now leading Delphi
Technologies’ global aftermarket. I’ve seen many ups and downs in the industry throughout my career, the
worst before this being the financial crisis of 2007-2009, which showed us how resilient the aftermarket can
be. Within those two years, I witnessed new car sales plummet by 42% in the United States, while
aftermarket sales saw a decrease of only 1%.

The coronavirus pandemic came really fast for the aftermarket. It started as a domestic and supply crisis in
China, rapidly turning into the biggest ever drop in global aftermarket demand since records began. We went
from production recovery plans to protecting our employees to saving costs and protecting liquidity.
Aftermarket business leaders have said many times that ‘the aftermarket is countercyclical and resilient to
recession’ both to our bosses and to investors. But this time is different. There has been a sudden and
dramatic drop in mobility and the number of vehicles running on the road. Once a country has entered
lockdown, mobility decreased by around 80% for cars.
Despite this short term impact the aftermarket will recover more quickly than the new car sales business,
where demand will be depressed for some time due to economies. The aftermarket will benefit as the
average vehicle age will increase, meaning more repair and maintenance.

The personal vehicle sector has obviously been most impacted so far, but how are other automotive
sectors fairing during lockdowns?
Interestingly, commercial vehicles and agricultural markets are not changing much. There are many brave
people who have continued to work in order to keep essential services flowing and key workers moving.
Consumers are also choosing home delivery services for essential supplies. Because of this, we see an
increase in motorcycle and van finance. I think we may also see a resurgence of green products like
remanufactured parts too as people exit the crisis with a more caring view of the world and governments use
the opportunity to boost these areas of the economy.

Will the automotive industry have to rethink how they operate and conduct business in a postpandemic world?
Absolutely. The auto industry was already moving toward digitization, and the pandemic has sped up the
process. We can see a ‘step change’ in online motor retail with a shift away from showroom-based
interaction that will last into the long term. Car dealers are upgrading their online presence and selling cars
virtually right now. Online service booking alone is expected to increase by 32%, while online part sales are
maintaining a 64% increase from last year. They may never go back to the traditional ways of doing
business. Auto part stores and distributors are also seeing a significant increase in consumers using ecommerce.
Even in the supply chain, we see how social distancing has created a need for automation and
consolidation in production and warehouses to reduce the risk of infection.
We know the auto industry is moving toward electrification and autonomy, and that will continue although it’s
becoming clear that manufacturers will choose to double down on green choices and electrification at the
expense of autonomous driving investments in the short term. A move towards sustainability and greener
mobility is not only driven by consumers but also governments. This would include the concept of the ‘clean,
green’ workshop or garage.
COVID-19 is accelerating the move towards digitization, e-commerce, consolidation, and automation in the
auto industry that will reshape business in the post-pandemic world.

Independent workshops and garages are a huge part of the aftermarket and rely heavily on personal
vehicle repair and maintenance. How do you see the pandemic affecting this sector of the business?
Overall we have seen fewer people on the roads and lower vehicle miles traveled, which reduces the need
for maintenance, although traffic levels are increasing again now in many countries. With fewer cars on the
road, there are fewer collisions and accidents which means less business for crash repair shops.
But we can also see an increase in private car use due to low fuel prices and reluctance to use public
transportation. Certain business sectors may have decreased due to a change in consumer habits, but these
seemingly lost opportunities have only just shifted into different markets.

Delivery vehicles, old vehicles, online training, DIY, electrification, green products, and services – Now is time
to look for these micro-market growth opportunities and tilt your marketing and other investments. Take time
now to join online training sessions that are focused on these emerging technologies to upskill in the
downtime. Garages might want to look for more value added services generated by such as pulling data out
of vehicles and joining up diagnostics, parts and services for a seamless consumer solution.
Above all, make sure your employees and customers feel safe with revised health and safety protocols,
cleaning, travel, and personal protective equipment.

The aftermarket industry had seen rates of do-it-yourself repairs for many types of jobs decreasing
as vehicles become more complex. Do you see this changing now?
It is true that year over year we see less do-it-yourself repairs as vehicles become complex. However, we’ve
seen auto parts and accessories sales from individual consumers increase during lockdowns. People now
have more time to spare due to lockdowns. This, paired with the convenience of online shopping, means
they can do the repairs themselves with video support and save some money doing it. This may not be a
long term change, but something that suppliers and distributors should be aware of to help generate brand
awareness and support consumer trust.

As an aftermarket leader, what are your set of priorities during this uncertain time?
Can you offer any advice to other leaders?
First and foremost, protect your people and related customers and stakeholders. Set up for a future where
your people and organization are resilient and agile, and invest in technologies and infrastructure to support
remote work and virtual collaboration. As many companies are ramping back up, a safe return to work with
revised health and safety focus, cleaning, business travel policies, and the need for personal protective
equipment.
Second, I see the need to improve and tilt marketing and go-to-market plans. Routes to market will evolve
and we need to adjust quickly by enabling digitization more and more from front end areas of sales,
marketing, technical support, and also the back end to help deliver excellent service. Again, we need to look
for the micro-market growth opportunities and tilt our marketing and other investments – delivery vehicles, old
vehicles, online training, DIY, electrification, green products, and services. Then, join up diagnostics, parts,
and services for a seamless consumer solution.
Last is collaboration. We are all in this together. The automotive industry’s cash constraint this year will make
it difficult to fund necessary investments for the future but we together should take educated risks with
cautious optimism regarding stock and capacity levels so we activate the business again. Supply chains will
shift as the vulnerability of over-reliance on a single country or vendor and delayering is necessary. Let’s plot
a path forward once lockdown regulations start lifting and create mutual plans to make sure the aftermarket
bounces back as quickly as possible.

As for advice, we need collective efforts by all aftermarket leaders to protect our businesses and economies.
The world after COVID-19 will be defined by the actions we take. We as leaders have an obligation to
mitigate the overall economic repercussions and the employment impact of this pandemic. Let’s work
together to reshape the future of the aftermarket.

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Interview with Oliver Zipse – Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG https://tiresandparts.net/news/interview-with-oliver-zipse-chairman-of-the-board-of-management-of-bmw-ag/ https://tiresandparts.net/news/interview-with-oliver-zipse-chairman-of-the-board-of-management-of-bmw-ag/#respond Wed, 01 Jul 2020 14:23:30 +0000 https://tiresandparts.net/?p=30968 When it comes to sustainability, major corporations have a key role to play. The BMW Group acknowledged this fact long ago and outperforms industry rivals by far in terms of CO2 emissions per vehicle produced. But as new powertrains such as e-drives gain momentum, the approach to sustainable vehicle production is changing. In an interview, […]

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When it comes to sustainability, major corporations have a key role to play. The BMW Group acknowledged this fact long ago and outperforms industry rivals by far in terms of CO2 emissions per vehicle produced. But as new powertrains such as e-drives gain momentum, the approach to sustainable vehicle production is changing. In an interview, BMW AG Management Board Chairman Oliver Zipse explains the BMW Group’s ambitious goals and outlines what aspects of sustainability will be the key focal points in the future.

Mr Zipse, ever since your first public appearance as BMW CEO at the IAA International Motor Show, you have underlined the importance of climate and environmental protection. You’ve been in the job almost a year now and the world is in the midst of a crisis unlike anything we’ve seen before. How much room does that leave for sustainability?

The coronavirus pandemic has thrown the global economy off course within a very short space of time, and this has also led to significant cutbacks in a number of BMW Group projects. But as I have always made clear: There can be no compromise when it comes to climate and environmental protection. It is a decisive topic for the future of our society. That’s why it is so important to set the right course now in these challenging times. In fact, we will even be stepping up the pace.

What does that mean exactly? The BMW Group had set itself targets for emissions reductions by 2020.

Those were for resource consumption and the emissions we generate directly as a company – for example, from production. We were very successful: We lowered energy consumption per vehicle produced by more than 40 percent and were even able to reduce waste and CO2 emissions by over 70 percent. It’s also no coincidence that our CO2 emissions per vehicle produced are much lower than for the rest of the German auto industry, for example. In short, we met nearly all our targets last year already. So, we were able to start developing a completely new sustainability strategy for the future earlier than expected.

And what does it look like?

I don’t want to reveal all the details today before the final formal decisions are made, but I can tell you that the approach is radically holistic: We will be taking the topic of sustainability to a whole new level. What we aspire to remains the same: We are focused on having a real and transparent impact. That’s why we will once again be setting ourselves clear and measurable goals – but, this time, they will extend far beyond our direct sphere of influence.

You’ll have to give us a concrete example.

To contribute effectively to climate protection, we will need to improve our products’ overall environmental balance – from resources to recycling. As e‑mobility gains more and more traction, the focus of CO2 reduction will shift to upstream added value – and, especially, the energy-intensive production of high-voltage batteries. Up to 40 percent of a fully-electric vehicle’s CO2 emissions come from battery cell production alone. Depending on where they are produced and the electricity mix used there, about a third of these emissions come from power consumption directly at the cell manufacturer. This is a major and very effective lever for reducing CO2 – so that is precisely where we are focusing our efforts.

How is this supposed to work? The BMW Group doesn’t produce cells itself.

As a leader in sustainability, what we say carries a lot of weight with our suppliers – and we can then leverage this reputation. We now have a contractual agreement with our cell manufacturers that they will use only green power to produce our fifth-generation battery cells. Later this year we will launch this technology with the BMW iX3 and then roll it out across our product line-up – including the BMW iNEXT and BMW i4 next year. As volumes increase, the use of green power will save around ten million tonnes of CO2 over the next decade. For comparison, that is roughly the amount of CO2 a city of over a million inhabitants, like Munich, emits per year.

Does that mean CO2 reductions will only come from suppliers?

It works best when manufacturers and suppliers work together. The only way we can motivate our partners to take these kinds of steps is by continuing to lead by example. This is what we are very clearly doing with our new strategy. The successes we are having – here and now – underline how important this topic is to us: In addition to reducing resource consumption and emissions significantly, we are also fully on track to meet our CO2 fleet targets in the EU. This will also be the first year all plants operated by the BMW Group, as well as our BBA joint venture in China, will obtain their electricity exclusively from renewable energy sources. Our partners know we aren’t satisfied with just making announcements for the distant future. We deliver and will continue to do so.

How can the public check that you are continuing to deliver?

This previously took place through our Sustainable Value Report – and is another area where we are now taking the next step: Starting next year, we will be integrating the topic of sustainability into our Annual Report. This not only sends a clear signal that we consider our business model and sustainability to be inseparable – but also that we will be subjecting our sustainability activities to even broader external and independent review than in the past.

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