IVECO - Celebrating 40 Years of Excellence
Fabio De Serafini, Business Director, Africa and Middle East, IVECO
IVECO's Business Director, Africa and Middle East Fabio De Serafini spoke to Khaleej Times about the company's journey in the Middle East and shed light on the new product launches
One of the major players in the global transport industry, IVECO has established itself as one of the world's leading truck and van manufacturer that has expanded its presence significantly in the Middle East. The company provides a full range of models that are designed to function through any climate, cargo and mission.
The company is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year and Fabio De Serafini, Business Director, Africa and Middle East, said that IVECO has been through a long and illustrious journey to reach the milestone.
He said, "Initially IVECO started as a company for European products; at first it was only Italian. But looking at the last 20 years the main challenge was to develop the brand as a European player."
At the end of 1990, De Serafini explains that the development of the business in the Middle East and Africa increased a lot. That became one of the main drivers to further develop business in Europe, Middle East and Africa.
"This has been one of the main focus of the company for the last 15 years. In parallel to this, there has been an important development in the American hemisphere. Brazil and Argentina have become one of the main countries for business in Latin America," said De Serafini. "Today, we have become a more global company and the market has grown a lot in the last couple of years. Starting from 2006 to 2008, there were important developments in the Asian countries. For example in China we have partnerships and joint ventures with local producers."
De Serafini says that the company has come a long way and has done a great job in developing both the Africa and the Middle East market.
"If we look at the numbers, it has increased a lot till 2008-2009. But the financial crisis affected our performance. Europe was affected by this crisis. Brazil too, but the Middle East reacted very quickly. I can say that starting from 2010 to 2011, the performance has been increasing a lot. This year has also seen a bit of a slowdown due to the oil price trend but despite of that we have seen good results. This year, we sold over 2000 trucks in the GCC, in all the ranges - light, medium and heavy. It is a good sign for the perception of our brand in the market and how our customers perceive us," he added.
He stresses that now the expectation is to see a turnaround and adds that the company has started to see positive signs. De Serafini emphasises that the UAE has developed an important network for managing export activities here.
He said, "We expect an increase of 30 per cent market share in the coming year. We add enhancements to the vehicle every year and we will have a 2017 model, which we will start to deliver by the end of the first quarter next year. There have been some internal changes to meet the expectations of our customers in the Middle East."
Regarding the heavy vehicles business, De Serafini said that the lineup remains the same but at the end of the year they will have a new version for their tractors Stralis and Performer. "We are working in order to further complete the product specification to complete our tractor lineup and this new product will come in order to cover that gap," added De Serafini.
According to him, the company has taken a number of measures by investing in products that will be specifically dedicated to and developed for the Africa and Middle East market. "We are now focusing investment and attention, time and resources to better adapt our products for these areas," De Serafini said. "We try to develop new products by understanding what the customers want."
Spotlight on after-sales service
De Serafini highlighted that all of the company's effort in the network development is on after-sales and the coverage point they have in after-sales market.
He said, "We have specific plans to optimise the current premises and the tools we have available in the market and to expand our organisation. Our after-sales service is one of the strong points of our network and this has been built over the last 10 years. Our network today has become very proactive in order to ?work with us and further expand our service activities."
An example of this is the training activity they have developed in partnership with their dealer in the UAE, Al Ghandi. "Dubai is the hub for training manpower for all the Middle East," he added.
IVECO will also soon be launching the new EUROCARGO in the Middle East, which according to De Serafini is one of their main projects and is completely new.
He said, "This has been a great challenge because it has been developed as a premium product in the medium range, from 6 tonne to 16 tonne. We believe that to provide a premium product is the right strategy to further develop the business. We will launch it to dealers probably by the end of first quarter of 2017."