Interview with Cristiano Carlutti, Sales and Marketing Qoros Director for EMEA – 1^st part

 

Carlutti

Date of interview Jun, 4 2013

Professional profile: Business Administration degree at Bocconi University in Milano, Cristiano has developed an 18 years long experience in sales, retail development and marketing, with experiences in Czech Republic, Italy, Ireland and United Kingdom and responsibilities growing from the Italian market to the European and finally to the European and Middle Eastern Region.

Aiming to be not simply an employee but following his peculiar “internal entrepreneurship” mind, Cristiano has developed experiences in different start-ups and not only in large corporation, from the foundation of the Italian subsidiary of the French group AutoContact, of which he became the country manager at the age of 28, to the development of the European operations of Tesla Motors as Vice President Europe, going through the exceptional experience of Managing Director of Media Operations and Press Chief of the Winter Olympic Games of Torino 2006 and the role of Vice President Used Vehicles for Fiat Spa.

Cristiano Carlutti has joined Qoros almost 2 years ago. His first role was Director of Sales China and is now Director of Sales and Marketing for the EMEA Region (Europe, Middle East and Africa).

Mr. Carlutti, in November 2011, there was the official launch of the QOROS brand! But when and where we could find models to buy and drive?
We will launch in China in fall, start selling cars in an Eastern European market later this year and gradually increase our presence over the next few years in Europe and Middle East.The approach we have it’s gradual: we understand that the European market is very sophisticated and demanding, but the organization and the product are of great quality, so we want to do things the best way as possible, step by step and without taking shortcuts that can lead us in mistakes in the rush. On the one hand we can afford it because we have a vision of long-term, on the other hand doing things in the best way as possible it’s a duty given to the customers and to all those who have worked so far and allowed us to realize a project of great quality.

Up to now, what is in brief your planning in terms of models, and their production volumes, for the next three / five years?
Our modular platform serves various models such as a sedan, a hatchback, a cross over version, an SUV and a station wagon and will allow us to launch in a limited time frame a range of models in segment C. Production capacity of our first plant starts from 150.000 units and can be expanded up to 350.000.

In this planning what weight Europe is going to have? And which are the nations you are interested in at this stage?
China is the biggest car market in the world and will be therefore our prime market. Europe is more complex and demanding but we believe that we have a strong offer. It will take time to establish a new brand in Europe but we are patient: our philosophy is quality over quantity. We plan to start with the left-hand drive markets in Europe, including Russia and Turkey which will enter in a second phase. Right hand drive markets will be considered following that.

Middle East region is part of our development plan as well, together with northern Africa, while Other regions like America and sub-Saharan Africa could become interesting over time but are not our priority at this stage.

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From the role that you currently occupy, do you believe that there are differences today, from a macroscopic point of view, between the European customer, the U.S. customer and the Asian customer? If you believe yes (or not), what are the main ones?
The theme is quite complex because on one hand there are preferences and purchasing behavior with similar traits, for example the purchase from stock in North America and China, on the other hand markets have different levels of maturity and therefore consumers give greater value to different aspects.

The glaring differences are likely to disappear, but the high level of competition in the markets requires the ability to understand the finer differences in consumer preferences in order to win their place in the competitive arena.

At the same time, it’s taking place an interesting evolution of the consumer: the new generations are becoming more similar, either if they live in Los Angeles, London or Shanghai, and if it’s true that today a 18 year old from Shanghai cannot afford to buy a new car, probably at the moment when he can afford it his preferences will likely be more similar to those of a peer of Los Angeles to those of his parents. In other words, the digital natives are converging their preferences on some common themes.

What new generations have in common is that they are always connected. Especially the young metropolitan consumer that is our target. With our standard 8 inch capacitive touchscreen standard in all models and connected services we believe to appeal to these consumers.

New brand, new approach … but is the distribution going to change? Is it possible to see a distribution on multiple channels (Web, Multibrand, Dealer proximity …)? How are you organizing yourself?
In our vision, car distribution will change also accordingly with our plans, especially in the more mature markets. I believe that the eventual distribution on more channels depends on the strength or weakness of the brands and the type of product, but what guides Qoros in its choices is the common value for the final customer.

The integration of channels in lead management, communication, assistance and other activities it’s a subject on which all firms are working and the one who is going to succeed to implement on the market a very profitable and beneficial situation for the customer will obtain an important competitive factor. From this point of view, good ideas are not enough, you need the so-called ability of “execution”, the ability to transform ideas in reality, and making things work.

Also thanks to distinctive experiences that some of us have gained from previous experiences, in Qoros we are making an important and challenging path in this sense, putting the consumer at the center of the organizational design and architecture not only for the product but also for services, distribution strategies and assistance.

the second part!

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