Together we move forward

Together we move forward

Interview with Mr. STEFANO ALBAROSA, CEO, AIC Trucks

Q: It  has  clearly  been  a  challenging  year,  full of changes and uncertainties. What has  been  your  company’s  dynamic  for  the first part of 2020 and how do you expect the year will end, regarding the financial results?

S.A. We   have   been   relatively   untouched,   in   terms   of   performance    by    the    Covid    19    pandemic.    The    segments of the market where we are market leader, for     two     consecutive     years     (Municipal     and     Construction vehicles) have grown as percentages in the total mix of commercial vehicles ( ˃16 T. GVW).Overall,  we  are  continuing  to  grow  in  2020  and  thus   did   not   modify   our   investment   plan,   in   particular   the   development   of   our   after   sales   operations.   We   have   achieved   our   objectives   announced  at  the  start  of  the  year,  of  having  a  Market Share above 10% ( at the end of September, Ford Trucks is no 4 in top brand with 12.2%) and to    continuously    extend    our    national    service    network,    and    also    achieve    the    multi    brand    dimension of it.

Q: The auto and transport industries faced numerous  challenges  as  a  result  of  the  pandemic  crisis,  especially  during  the  lockdown. How did that reflect in your activity?

S.A. Trucks   for   international   transport   have   been   suffering the most this year with a market drop of more  than  50%  when  compared  to  last  year.  This  has naturally affected our FMAX sales. We are now working   on   growing   our   market   share   in   this   segment, where we see many opportunities, and a lot of room for a mature product as F-MAX is in this moment.

Q: Which  was  the  biggest  challenge  that  you   had   to   face   during   this   sanitary   crisis? And what great opportunity arose for your line of business?

S.A. Every change is an opportunity. Even the disruptive changes    of    the    19    Covid    pandemic    creates    opportunities and thus the need to be always ready (and  able)  to  take  advantage  of  them.  This  lesson  was  learned  by  our  group  during  the  2008-  2010  crisis  when  our  being  overstretch  in  the  constant  search  of  ever-growing  volume  and  market  share  left us unable to take advantage of the than massive market  changes.  It  very  much  applies  today  and  yes,   this   time,   we   are   ready   for   the   incoming   changes and able to take advantage of them.  I see also    great    opportunities    in    this    context    for    Romania,   particularly   when   thinking   at   all   the   money       now       available       for       infrastructure       development.     I     strongly     believe     that     the     development  of  a  modern  infrastructure  will  be  the   key   for   further   economic   development   in   Romania. This is a proven concept both worldwide and in Romania.

I  also  see  great  opportunities  in  consolidating  the  commercial    vehicles    distribution    industry    in    Romania.    Thanks    to    our    leadership    in    the    construction  vehicles  segment  of  the  market  we  will  take  full  advantage  of  any  volume  growth  in  this segment. We are also ready and willing  to take any  opportunity  to  consolidate  our  distribution    operations with opportunistic acquisitions.

Q: How  do  you  foresee  the  new  economic  reality? Which are the top 5 priorities on your CEO agenda today?

S.A. It  is  a  very  disruptive  environment  in  the  sense  that   major   deviation   from   traditional   business   model  are  recurrent.  I  do  not  refer  only  at  the  adverse effect of the Covid pandemic, but specially to the rate of change that technological development is   bringing   in   our   industry,   that   will   only   be   accelerated   by   the   progressive   deployment   of   artificial intelligence. In the future, success will be mostly driven by the ability to adapt to change. In this context the top 5 priorities are: being flexible; developing a corporate culture that consider change as a part of everyday life; investing in people rather than assets; always ready to enter new business or exit  ongoing  business;  being  financially  solid  to  withstand short-medium term crisis.

Q: What are your short-term, and also your long-term plans regarding your company strategy?    Has    the    crisis    shift    your    priorities in any way?

S.A. The  crisis  did  not  shift  our  current  priorities.  We  maintain  the  short  term  objective  of  making  Ford  Trucks  one  of  the  top  3  brands  in  Ro  commercial  vehicles market ( ˃16 T. GVW), and a medium term objective  of  building  the  leading  multi  brand  after  sales  network  for  commercial  vehicles.  In  our  RE  operation we will continue to develop state of the art logistic parks and/or logistic-industrial buildings.

Q: The   pandemic   also   constrained   us   to   adapt  to  a  different  way  of  relating  to  each   other   –   keeping   social   distance,   paying special attention to safety measures etc. Have  the  working  relationships  changed  in  your  company?

S.A. This was the critical issue with Covid 19 Pandemic, as social distance and safety measures make more difficult  interpersonal  relationships.  I  am  Italian  and I like a friendly  work environment with plenty of social events (with employees and clients), and everything  that  means  being  part  not  only  of  a  team,  but  almost  of  a  family.  Implementing  all  restrictions  and  rules  in  our  work  environment  was a challenge, but as our slogan says:  Together we  move  forward!  ;  and  we  looked  for  alternative  ways to continue to be close  to our customers and partners even in this conditions.

Q: You  are  a  skilled  businessman  and  a  visionary     entrepreneur.     From     your     experience,  what  would  be  your  „Focus  on...“  advice  for  the  managers  of  the  large  local  companies  during  this  times  full  of  unexpected  challenges?

S.A. Invest    in    yourself    and    in    your    company    to    strengthen  your  ability  to  change!  The  ability  to  adapt  and  take  advantages  of  changes  is  the  most  important factor to achieve success.

You can also consult the interview in the document below: