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Interview: Cristiano Fiorio, CMO FCA, about the green and safe future of Italian automotive industry

How much do you miss traveling in your car while singing your favorite song? We have been stuck at home for over two months, giving up the pleasure of moving around and discovering new places. But now we are finally ready to leave. And so too it is the Italian automotive industry, which in April suffered a strong shock, with registrations dropped by 97.5% compared to 2019. We talked about it with Cristiano Fiorio, Chief marketing Officier FCA Emea and team manager of the new electric 500 launch, who was interviewed on Idressitalian Instagram page by Vincenzo Girasoli.

The Italian market data is dramatic, but it doesn’t take away the optimism from the industry giants on the prospects for the future. «It is a time of deep crisis, but we are confident in the restart – Fiorio began – We were doing very well before the emergency, with a lot of new products on the market: we had just launched the new electric 500, which despite the lockdown is receiving an extraordinary consent. It is true that the moment has frozen both the sale and the propensity to buy. But from May 4th dealers have reopened and the market is recovering. The restart was slow as we expected, but we hope that the propulsion will increase».

After all, the car will be more and more valuable, because it will be the safest means of transport that will make us rediscover the pleasure of travel.

MORE ATTENTION TO THE ENVIRONMENT AND TO THE CABIN HYGIENE

It is as complex as strategically fundamental to foresee the evolution of a sector that represents the hardcore of the Made in Italy industry: «It will be a very green future because people have understood the importance of preserving the world. It is not only the fuel of cars that creates pollution: cars are only the fourth or fifth pollutants, equal to 17%. However, we must do everything it is possible to launch all the low-impact models».

Attention to the environment goes hand in hand with that to the driver’s well-being. A philosophy that fits perfectly with the new D-Fence Pack developed by FCA, a set of 3 accessories designed to ensure customer safety during the pandemic. The cars will be equipped with a filter capable of blocking 100% of allergens and 98% of bacteria, to which an Air Purifier and a UV lamp are added to sanitize interior surfaces. In a world where social distancing seems to be the new keyword, the car will be like a small second home, where you can always feel safe.

Italian automotive industry
Italian automotive industry – Photo credits: Pixabay

NEW VALUES FOR A STRONGER MARKET

Cars are dreams, memories, families, travels. All virtues that each model declines according to its brand equity. «Each brand transmits its values. Fiat 500, for example, has always embraced the Dolcevita. If we talk about freedom we think of the Jeep. When we think about the pure driving pleasure, it reminds to Alfa Romeo, about elegance to Ypsilon – continues Fiorio – In addition to the value of the brand, the dimension of the context where we live is added: people are much more attentive to communication, so it is essential to give the right messages. Right now the most important thing is safety. We shouldn’t underestimate the fact that this agent hasn’t left at all and the only way to fight him is to be very careful. However, you also need to have a little optimism: we are in a war and we must overcome it with strength, resilience, and perspective».

And how will buyers’ habits change? If on the one hand, we are losing – for obvious reasons – the attitude to car-sharing and therefore people will return to the car market, preferring those with small displacement to move around the city, on the other hand, Fiorio ensures that the trend of cars will not be missing luxury: «There will be a great polarization: one part of the market will be oriented towards more affordable machines and another one towards medium and large machines». We must expect a heterogeneous offer capable of meeting the needs of consumers.

PROMOTE MADE IN ITALY

And how can consumers contribute to the recovery of the Italian automotive industry? Simple, buying Italian. The auto sector represents 10% of our country’s GDP and employs over 1 million workers. It is a large part of the Italian economy and the industry giants know that. «FCA produces more than 80% of the total goods sold in the EMEA market in Italy (Europe, Middle East, Africa). The new electric 500 is produced in Mirafiori (TO), the Alfa is produced in Cassino, the Maserati between Modena and Grugliasco, the Panda in Pomigliano: all Italian products that have a huge success. In Italy, what is produced is more than what is sold» said Fiorio.

The automotive industry is one of the pillars on which the economic interdependence between Germany and Italy is based: 800 Italian suppliers guarantee Volkswagen nearly 20,000 components for its cars. It is no coincidence that the CEO of the multinational – Herbert Diess – reiterated that «without suppliers, we cannot make cars».

Italy has an industrial, manufacturing, and craft tradition envied by the whole world. «Italians have always been heterophile and, if not on a few occasions, they are not exactly the most patriotic country. From this crisis, however, Italians have become more united, strong, patriotic, and have understood how important it is to feed Made in Italy» concluded Fiorio.

Italy is our home and we must take care of it.

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