Date of the interview: March, 26 2013
Professional Profile: Pietro Gorlier was born in Turin (Italy), he joined the Fiat Group in 1989 as a market analyst in Iveco helding various positions in logistics, in the After Sales and Customer Care, before joining Fiat Group Automobiles in 2006.
After the experience in FGA and in CNH Global N.V., he joined Chrysler Group. He is President and CEO of MOPAR® since 2009 and , from its establishment on Sep. 1, 2011, he is member of the Group Executive Council (GEC). The GEC is the highest executive decision-making body within the Company outside of its Board of Directors.
In the next years we will see a close fight on everything concerning care, attention and customization of the car; this competitive scenario will generate significant margins, much more than the ‘metal’ alone.
In this perspective, it is strategic the position that Mopar® is taking on within Fiat Group Automobiles and Chrysler Group’s activities.
Established in 1937, the Brand has just celebrated 75 years in business, , and deals with Parts & Service activities and Customer Care operations. The Mopar® brand (a simple contraction of the words MOtor and PARts) began its growth in the USA, in the 1960s , thanks to a specific line of high-performance components for racing vehicles carving out, since then, an influential space between the major players in the market.
The integration between Fiat S.p.A. and Chrysler Group LLC includes the expansion of the Mopar® brand in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, in order to optimize the activities related to services, spare parts and customer service programs; rationalizing the global distribution and optimizing the customer care procedures.
Mopar® handles 500,000 parts and accessories, it’s present in 130 countries and it’s providing assistance to an estimated fleet of 70 million vehicles. The particularity of the Mopar® accessories is that they are developed hand-in-hand with the same engineering teams who define the technical specifications of the models, ensuring maximum compatibility both functional and aesthetic.
President Gorlier, Mopar is a recognized and consolidated brand with a considerable following in the USA. In Europe, if I’m not mistaken, only professionals are aware of its existence and it concerns itself chiefly with spare parts and accessories. Why is that, in your opinion? Will there be changes in the coming years? And what advantages can they bring to the network?
There is no question that Mopar has greater awareness in North America, where for 76 years it has earned a solid reputation not only as a leader in the performance, tuning and customization business, but also as a technologically advanced aftersales organization capable of launching numerous industry firsts in the world of parts and service.
But Mopar also has a base of followers throughout the world. In fact there are many Mopar clubs in variety of countries including Australia, Sweden, Germany, and in the Middle East. Among our 300,000 Facebook fans, more than 20 percent are from outside of the U.S. and now that Mopar is the aftersales brand for both Fiat and Chrysler, our brand awareness will continue to grow. And for our network of more than 10,000 dealers around the world, we will further build awareness for our brand by working every day to offer them the best possible factory support so that they can deliver a best-in-class experience to our customers.
From your international perspective on the accessories market, what importance do they have in the U.S. and European markets respectively? Are these differences due to both culture and legislation?
It’s important to note that between Chrysler and Fiat, we have more than 70 million customers on the road today in more than 130 countries. Without question, model mixes and regulations are factors that influence accessorization, not to mention the way people choose and use their vehicles. Accessory volumes vary in the U.S. and in Europe, where even more differences may be found country to country.
That being said, there is no doubt that the large presence of trucks and SUVs drives a higher volume of accessories sold in the U.S. But there is a common customization driver in both markets: customers want a car that expresses their personality and their lifestyle. Sometimes it’s about performance. Sometimes it’s about technology. And sometimes it’s about both.
Regardless, with more than 70 million customers on the road today and many more coming tomorrow, our goal at Mopar is to offer a full range of proven, quality-tested accessories for every single one of our models and every single one of our customers, everywhere in the world.
Will the European legislation on distribution which is about to come into force affect Mopar’s strategy for the coming years?
Mopar’s strategy of offering proven, quality-tested spare parts and accessories for all of our vehicles will not change as a result of European legislation; the implementation of tools and processes, mostly for repair and maintenance information, has already been completed as requested by European legislation.
How does Mopar view the business climate in Asia? How does it intend to establish its brand and develop there?
The business climate in Asia is positive. When we talk about Asia, we talk about two different regions. First, there are fast-growing markets such as India and China, where entire populations are quickly expanding their access to vehicles. Second, there are mature markets in Australia, Japan, Korea and Singapore, where growth of the Mopar brand is similar to the pattern we have in other mature markets.
For growing markets including China, Mopar is currently a business-to-business brand that certifies parts and services provided by Fiat and Chrysler. We are developing the same process in India, where we expect significant acceleration with the launch of Jeep. In addition to establishing this certification process, the Mopar brand will even appear as a signature in select special-edition cars, including the Chrysler 300C that was presented at the Beijing Auto Show.
For mature markets, we are at different stages in developing the Mopar brand. In Japan and Korea, Mopar is already established as the umbrella brand for aftersales service and accessories. In Korea, we’ve even launched the first Mopar edition of the Jeep Wrangler. In Australia, where we have a loyal brand following similar to the U.S., we have high-image events throughout the year including Mopar Sunday where Mopar enthusiasts gather during a weekend of shows, races and parades, and where we recently launched our Fiat and Alfa Romeo brands.
Does the development of Mopar in Europe entail the creation and consolidation of a brand which is independent from the single automotive brands?
While Mopar is a strong brand in and of itself, we will never distance ourselves from our vehicle brands.
On the contrary, we will add value to our brands by offering a full range of customization and personalization opportunities while fully supporting our dealer network. We believe that our customers identify themselves with the brand of their vehicle and are looking for genuine parts and service for their vehicle.
That’s where we come in. The only sector where we develop a stand-alone presence is when we offer service solutions, solutions that include our Express Lane format and our all-makes product line.