News & Press
01-09-2012 - AMN Executive Interview with Dino Maggioni
AMN Executive Interview with Dino Maggioni, CEO, After Market Parts and Services, Magneti Marelli
Following up on a 2010 interview, aftermarketNews.com Publisher Scott Shriber and Editor Amy Antenora again recently sat down with Dino Maggioni to catch up with Magneti Marelli and its foray into the automotive aftermarket in North America. Maggioni brings us up to speed on Magneti Marelli's new product introductions and plans for the future.
Since announcing plans last year to enter the North American aftermarket, Magneti Marelli has more than 10 product lines out in the marketplace already and by the end of February more than 25 product lines will be available for the Chrysler dealer network. What has the reception been like thus far?
We have been meeting with dealers all over the country – Chicago, Orlando, Ohio, Denver, Kansas City, the Great Lakes region, the South, the North… the reactions and the impressions have been very positive. There is a lot of excitement and enthusiasm. Dealers have already touched, seen and used the products, so it's become a reality. They can see that it is a high-quality product. That was our objective – to have an all-makes program for Chrysler Group dealers with a standard of quality that was very high, in line with the DNA of Magneti Marelli, which is an OE manufacturer. Around the world, in all the countries that we are present, we always put in the Magneti Marelli box a product that is high quality.
They [the dealers] also like the packaging. We created solutions for the technician in order to make it possible for an easy installation, to save time and to save money. Sealed in the package are easy instructions and all the parts the technician needs, so they don't have to spend time gathering the various parts for the job. The packaging is also made to be space-saving on the shelf as well. What’s great is now that we have the dealer feedback we were looking for, we are gearing up to introduce these product lines to the independent aftermarket channel as well. The goal in the coming months will be to offer these products through Mopar distribution to interested wholesalers, jobbers and independent service centers.
Do you find technicians prefer kits such as the brake pad kits you are offering?
Yes, they appreciate the concept of having everything inside the box. It also reduces the possibility of mistakes, which reduces comebacks, and it makes the job trouble-free for the technician. The packaging is actually transparent, so you can compare – without opening – the old part with the new part. We are providing quality, easy-to-install product with clever packaging for a reasonable price.
We have heard a lot of positive feedback in the market and we understand the excitement.
And in other parts of the world there are Magneti Marelli-branded service outlets as well, correct?
Yes, we have 5,000 repair shops around the world: 3,500 are in Europe, 1,500 in Latin America. In Europe, we are in Italy, Spain, France, Greece, Germany, the Netherlands and Poland. We have revamped our network of 80 repair shops in Turkey. Our service brand is actually called Checkstar; and our parts are branded Magneti Marelli.
Is there any consideration of bringing Magneti Marelli-branded repair shops to the U.S.?
I'm not thinking about bringing the Checkstar brand here, for the time being. Our main focus in the U.S. is providing product expertise, technical information and know-how along with our understanding of the service channel so that Mopar, Chrysler Group dealers and the independent aftermarket will be able to benefit from our offering.
In all our networks in Europe, the Checkstar brand has a very high reputation. In Italy we received a very prestigious award in automotive quality, the GIPA Pride Award, at the end of May 2011. GIPA is an Italian association similar to the Automotive Service Association. What makes me proud is that the award is based on interviews conducted with the final customer, evaluations by the customer of the service they received, which also confirms the high quality of parts we offer.
As you are bringing new products to North America, are you offering training as well?
We provide Mopar with product information and content for the development of training material that will be of value in the service centers.
How big of a staff do you have here in North America?
Magneti Marelli has 3,500 employees in North America. On our team in Auburn Hills, [Mich.], we have approximately 12 people dedicated to our newly created Aftermarket division, and that number will continue to grow as we expand our services and offerings.
Is Magneti Marelli involved in any joint ventures in the U.S.?
Not yet in the U.S. We have one plant in Sanford, N.C., where we manufacture powertrain components and carburetors; in Pulaski, Tenn., we produce shock absorbers and exhaust systems. We have lighting plants in Mexico serving North America: one in Juarez and one electronics plant for instrument clusters, displays and electronic modules near Mexico City, in Tepotzotlan.
Are you finding that independent repair shops are seeking out Mopar dealers to get Magneti Marelli products?
Yes, the launch of these products has created a big buzz in the market and a lot of mechanics are interested in using our parts.
Are there any plans to eventually expand distribution of Magneti Marelli products outside of Mopar?
We are working with Mopar. It's our present and it's our future, so we are dedicating all our resources and efforts to make the program successful. Also the team at Mopar is strongly motivated and sees how big the potential is. Working together full throttle, we are ready with more than 25 product lines!
Last time we met [November 2010], we made the early announcement of our plans to enter the North American aftermarket and then we went full steam ahead with the dealers in May. Now, this program is a reality, and the feedback from the dealers is enthusiastic. There is a lot of buzz and a lot of enthusiasm. High quality, good price, smart packaging and smart solutions, these are our key points. It will only be a matter of time before we start offering our full line of products to the independent aftermarket distribution channel.
Tell us a little more about the all makes, all models coverage.
To clarify, these products are for all non-Chrysler Group vehicle applications. We have decided first to go for car parc coverage and high volume selling parts, but as we get feedback from the dealers we will use that to complete the product range.
As we said last year, there is an intrinsic potential in the Magneti Marelli/Mopar program.
What are you doing beyond traditional advertising to market the brand here in North America? Is Magneti Marelli involved in motorsports here in the U.S.?
We announced in Las Vegas that we will be participating together with Mopar in the 2012 NHRA Funny Car series, sponsoring driver Matt Hagan. In other parts of the world, we are already very active in Formula 1 and rally car racing, where we provide innovative technical solutions to the top racing teams.
Anything else you would like our readers to know?
The last thing I'd like to mention is that we produce our parts in North America. Our product is mainly made in America, also leveraging partnerships we established in Europe. Long-term partnerships with very high quality suppliers that share our OE pedigree, DNA quality and OE procedures. That is why we are able to work so rapidly, because we know the procedures the OE manufacturer wants to have in place. We are a 92-year old premium automotive manufacturer that is known for innovation and high quality.
MAGNETI MARELLI AFTERMARKET N.A.