Interview with Stefano Villanti, Executive Director of Sales, Marketing and Product Strategy at Qoros


Interview date: Feb 21,  2014

Professional Profile: Stefano Villanti is the Executive Director of Sales, Marketing and Product Strategy at Qoros Automotive Co., Ltd.. He joined the organisation in 2008 and was a key staff member during the initial start-up phase. As Qoros has grown so has Stefano’s responsibility and he now leads over 260 internal and external Qoros staff.
Prior to joining Qoros, Stefano was a senior consultant in the Automotive and Assembly Practice at Mckinsey in Europe and Asia, he also worked at Agusta-Westland and Procter & Gamble.
Stefano earned an MBA degree from INSEAD and a M.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from UNIVERSITÀ DI ROMA TOR VERGATA.

Which models we should expect to see in Europe and which engines?
We will start in Europe with Qoros 3 sedan , hatchback and cross and hereinafter with the SUV and the station wagon. We will enter the European market gradually with Euro 6 TGDI and diesel engines.

What are your plans for sale in the U.S. and Europe? Or rather, in a long-term solution, what market share you will feel satisfactory?
It is still too early to announce the volume goals for each region or market.
These will be the result of appropriated launch plans timelines, developed in line with the vision and the Company long-term goal to create a successful brand with new contents and a high quality products and services perception.
To win the challenge we need to rely on a well-defined sequence that cannot be based exclusively on volumes.

In addition to product innovation, are there any novelties in the distribution system? Will Qoros have a sole distribution method for its vehicles? Could you tell us how you are organizing yourselves, especially in Europe.

It is still too early to anticipate our distribution model for the EMEA region because it could also be different across regions: while in China we welcomed the confidence of successful entrepreneurs in the automotive distribution world and we realized facilities dedicated to our brand, the Middle East will require a specific strategic approach and Europe will need an even more advanced one.

We are making an important effort to consider how infrastructures, methods, processes, different kind of operators, consumers habits are evolving (and not only in the automotive field). It is self-evident to everyone how in the recent years some companies have been able to fight their way transforming the inclinations, and thus the needs, of the clients in various fields, creating even more advanced standards in the gathering and the management of the customers information, in the format of their point of sales and in the purchasing experience.

All the manufacturers are working in the direction of improving the customer experience in the sales and service process and we are also committed to the development of our strategic plans for the EMEA region in this regard.
One of the key points that we have adopted is to focus investments where they generate real added value for the customer and not simply to state standards an end in themselves.


When it comes to registrations, Italy fell from 2nd to 4th in Europe: is it still considered an important and strategic market? And why?
Italy is an important market both for its size and the level of openness, we cannot ignore it in our global development plan.
The recent difficulties of the market, and of the country in general, suggest to adapt the tactic regarding the timing and the way to enter it, but for sure it remains strategic.

How will the after sales operations be organized in China and which will be the difference in comparison to Europe and the U.S.?
The after sales support is one of the key elements of the customer satisfaction and we have paid particular attention to this aspect in our plans.
The organizational model in different markets depends on several factors , including the characteristics of the client and the different levels of market maturity.

In China, our development has forced us to start expanding from metropolitan areas and we have chosen to create partnership with well-known professional dealers to which we provide technical support and IT platforms for the accurate management of the information, both technical and customer related.

In Europe, customers have different needs and our expansion model may vary , so we will not make a “copy and paste” of the Chinese model , but we will develop a system of services and infrastructure that is truly beneficial to the customer.

This approach involves the rethinking of some elements currently widespread and due to a business model that must evolve.

For the dealer network, are you looking to create exclusive corner s, with successful automotive entrepreneurs or you will head for entrepreneurs mainly prepared to deliver the maximum customer satisfaction?
Often, long term successful entrepreneurs are those that also generate customer satisfaction.
As regards formats, and potential partners, our choices will derive from the strategic consideration that we are making about the points of sale, the services, that we would like more in line with the needs of the European customers, and the identification of those who are the best people to manage a client in this context.

From your privileged position can you tell us how will the customer satisfaction evolve in the coming years, and how Qoros will interpret it? Or everything will be downsized to a “best possible price for the same quality”?
Customer satisfaction is the result of several factors whose importance belongs to people feelings.
The price is one of the elements but certainly not the most important in generating satisfaction. Of course it counts in the purchasing process, but it is not part of the ownership and user experience.

Today only a minority of people are willing to forgo all the smartphones features to spend a little less when buying a mobile phone, so we believe that, without devaluing quality and services aspects, there is room to create a new level of customer satisfaction. Our telematics services are conceived with this kind of goal: to create new dimensions to integrate the use of the car in most extensive usage habits.
In these new ground it is possible to create satisfaction well beyond the simple equation “the less I pay, the more I’m satisfied.”


The product you offer has a specific target that wants exclusive features, sometimes linked to the name and fame not only to performance, optional ect. How did you think to overcome this entrance barrier? Just a matter of money?
It is true that there is a part of the market that is highly focused on aspects related to the brand, but it is equally true that a large part of the market is now free from these principles and mainly follows value analysis.

The value is not a matter of price , but mostly the combination of product and services in line with customer requirements. This determines the value for the customer, because only a minority of the market is willing to buy a product that does not suits their needs in order to save at all costs.
We believe that today there is a part of the demand that is not fully satisfied by what is offered by the automotive industry and that therefore there is room to offer an innovative, customer tailored product/service: that’s why we have instilled in Qoros the principles of quality – even in the service – and safety as well as a combination of content and next-generation services, which are useful for the customer.

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One Comment

  1. karen zhang says:

    it is great, brilliant

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