Former Head of Sales, Europe at Aston Martin Lagonda
Enrique has over 20 years experience in the premium and luxury automotive sector. He is the Former Head of Sales at Aston Martin Lagonda where he was responsible for all sales and aftersales across the European Union. Prior to AML, he ran sales across Europe for Maserati and enjoyed 5 years running sales for Audi in Spain. Enrique is the Current Head of Sales in Europe for Genesis Motor, a new luxury auto brand.Read moreView Profile Page
Disclaimer: This interview is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as a basis for investment decisions. In Practise is an independent publisher and all opinions expressed by guests are solely their own opinions and do not reflect the opinion of In Practise.
Enrique, can we start with a short introduction to your background, please?
I’m an automotive guy and I spent my entire professional career within the automotive sector.I started as a consultant, here in Spain, and I moved to Kia at the time when it was an importer here. I ran a group of dealers, in Madrid and it was hard, but a very interesting experience because I had the opportunity of being in contact with the clients directly.
I then started my career with the premium and luxury brands, as I moved to Audi, in Spain. Audi is a great brand and a powerful company. After that, I moved to Maserati where I started my international career because I was managing director, here in Spain and Portugal and then I moved to Paris, where I dealt with the Western countries, here in Europe. When Maserati made their big change and started to grow in sales and volume, going into new segment, the company asked me to move to a European role, so I became head of network development in Germany. That involved me developing the network in Europe, when the company moved from a small luxury company into a more premium brand.
I then moved to Aston Martin, where I stayed for two years and I think it was the most interesting time for the company and it was a great experience. It moves to another level, within luxury brands. After that, I moved to Genesis, to start the project of launching the brand here in Europe. In a nutshell, that is a summary of my professional life.
What were your role and responsibilities at Aston?
I was the head of sales and aftersales in Aston, for Europe. With my team, I was running the sales and aftersales, from Portugal to Russia. For Aston, the United Kingdom is not part of that team; the UK is an independent market. Here, in the Frankfurt office, we ran the rest of Europe. As I said, it was an interesting time, with the launch of the company into the stock market, with Andy Palmer’s Second Century Plan.
Can we discuss Aston’s dealer network? How did you approach building out the European network, for a brand like Aston?
First of all, we need to remember that Aston is a very old company, with a very long history in Europe. The network, in some cases, is really old. The partnership that we have with some of our dealers is very old. At that time, we were adapting some areas and the typical open points that the brand has. When a brand is working in a territory like Europe, you do your analysis and then you realize there are some open points that you have and you need to cover them.
Basically, we were trying to adapt the network to the new situation. I know one of the questions you had was about the comparison of the Aston Martin and Ferrari network and, if you check the European network for Ferrari and Aston, you will realize that they have a lot of dealers in common. This gives you a clear idea about what the profile of the dealers is like.
Do you mean the same person?
Normally, the same group. We usually request the dealers to work with different legal entities but the reality is that the groups, in some cases, are the same. The profile of these dealers are people who are very well-known in the area, that have the knowledge about this kind of clients, that know how to treat them and know what kind of marketing activities they like. You need a very special network for a very special client.
You mentioned how, typically, Aston and Ferrari use the same dealer groups, across Europe. How is the partnership model different between Aston and the dealer and, potentially, Ferrari and the dealer?
The main difference lies with the brand itself. Throughout its history, Ferrari did a very good job, for many years. They are very current and clear in what they are doing, what they want and how they approach the market. This is something that Ferrari has been doing really well, for a long time.
In the case of Aston, it has had a lot of movements in its history. These movements create an expectation in the mind of the investors. At the end of the day, a dealer is an investor in the brand. Sometimes, the investors are a little bit afraid about what the direction of the brand is. If you see what is now happening in Aston, it has really moved towards the right direction, in the last two years. Andy Palmer’s Second Century Plan was a great plan but was very focused on by the investors. This focus created a big problem regarding their stock.
Aston was was producing a lot. This is the first thing that Stroll has changed. He has cleared the stock and they have started to see the market in the way that Ferrari is doing. Stroll is doing this in a very intelligent way. He is moving the company towards this Ferrari style, in many areas.
First of all, for example, his approach to Formula One. Aston Martin’s Formula One journey started with Andy Palmer, but they were sponsoring a team and they were not the main sponsor; it was not the right approach. What Stroll has done, with the Aston Martin team is that they have a partner – Mercedes – which they are also using for the production of the cars, but the team is an Aston Martin team.
Another important element relates to the financial power that Stroll has brought into the project. He has put in a lot of money from his own pocket; more than £500 million. He is well-known for making investments in companies where he takes care of everything and puts the companies back in the right place. Stroll has a very clear idea; he puts his money in and the brand will succeed. Additionally, he is taking on the right people to work in the company. Firstly, he brought Tobias Moers into the company. He is a very well-known guy in the automotive industry and is very professional, with a long of history of experience in Mercedes-AMG. Tobias also brought some very good people into the team. He introduced Patrick Marinoff as head of the brand, in Europe. Patrick also has a long experience in Mercedes; I think he was most recently in Alpina. It is clear that Stroll is bringing the right people into the game.
All of these elements are contributing to the change in the company. We were talking about what the difference was between Ferrari and Aston and I think, with this, they can create this feeling of trust in the network and the network will follow them.