Focus on the future of automotive: technology, services, networking.
The relationship between OEMs and distributers the focus of the annual Cecra meeting in Brussels.
On the 23rd and 24th of September, just a stone’s throw from the European parliament, Cecra (the international association which brings together Europe’s major players in the automotive sector) held its annual meeting. Representing Italy were Massimo Tentori, president of Tentori Spa, as President of Gacie (European Iveco dealer’s association), Beppe Laurora, General Secretary of Aici (Italian Iveco dealer’s association), Eugenio Micone of Romana Diesel and Gianandrea Ferrajoli, President of Mecar Spa.
A climate of cautious recovery and positive signs prevailed: from all of the major markets we are starting to see the first signs of economic growth thanks to a strong focus on automotive. Two trends in particular are significant: a notable increase in sales, focused on new models (which are having enormous success, reminiscent of pre-crisis times) and a new wave of operations of consolidation among dealers looking to take advantage of important synergies.
The day was dominated by two workshops. Of particular interest was the talk given by the EMEA business development Manager of Google, Johann Molinari, who demonstrated the “Google Automotive” project. It is no secret in fact that the Mountain View colossus intends to make an entrance on the automotive market, as does Apple, which after having revolutionised the mobile phone, music and computing sectors as well as our free time in general has already turned its attention to the preparation of the ‘”Apple iCar”’, with a product launch date sometime in 2019.
Silicon Valley is ready to penetrate a mature and complex market – the automotive market – and this is sure to bring a revolution to the business model as a whole.
Will car and commercial/industrial vehicle dealers be needed in the future?
“Of course, but on different terms, – confirms Bernard Lycke, General Director of Cecra – By 2020 all vehicles will be connected through sensors and on-board technology”. Vehicles relying ever less on mechanics and ever more on electronics and technology in general. Distribution will still exist, but players will have to adapt rapidly to changing demand, as has already occurred in other sectors.
The second part of the day included a round table on the relationships between OEMs and distributors, with the partcipation of di Eric Johanner, Segretary General of Acea, the automobile manufacturer’s association and of Gianandrea Ferrajoli, President of Mecar SpA, Iveco dealer since 1952 covering most of Southern Italy.
In depth discussions were held focusing on the future of distribution, on the profitability and sustainability of the business and the often too direct relationship between manufacturer and end user. “Ours is a very mature yet highly strategic sector for Europe as a whole – noted Gianandrea Ferrajoli – some of our business units are core to the business model but no longer represent centres of profit. It is indispensable for us to continue investing in them however as they allow us to achieve important results in terms of everything which adds value for a dealership today: the network, and services in general“.