The crisis has put all businesses to the test, the auto sector trying to remain on a balanced line. From the data you have, how did you close last year, financially speaking?
We closed a difficult but good year for Porsche Inter Auto, with a total market share of 5.4 per cent and a 25 per cent hike in the volume of sold cars, on a market that dropped by 8 per cent. The turnover reached EUR 165 M and the number of sold cars was in the ballpark of 6,000 units.
How is the start of 2012 looking and what are your estimates for the whole year?
Our company’s advantage was that we felt the crisis since the very start, we outlined the first scenarios ever since the autumn of 2008 and we had the courage to face the reality. That is why we took the first measures in the spring of 2009 and last year we were already fairly well prepared to put to good use the new market conditions. Porsche Inter Auto Romania registered smaller or bigger year-on-year hikes across the board – in turnover, volume of cars sold, and market share. That determined us to close 2011 optimistically and to think at first that we will be able to maintain the upward trend in 2012 too, somewhere at 10 per cent, a market level. But the start of the year, unexpectedly tense and with a very difficult winter, makes us more cautious and makes us think that 2012 will lead to a stagnating market, in which case our goal is to preserve the market share in terms of profitability.
The local auto market is extremely competitive, second-hand cars covering in their turn the needs of clients looking for advantageous offers. How are you covering this segment?
Porsche Inter Auto Romania has a dealer specializing in second-hand cars – Weltauto. There is of course the obvious advantage of reaching out to a distinct category of clients through this dealer. They may not afford a new car, but they want to buy a second-hand one from a place where they can find out the car’s history, a place they can trust and from which they can receive a six-month warranty plus a buying experience similar to the one we offer for a new car. Apart from that, Weltauto allows us to help clients that have to replace car fleets. We can offer them a package of full services, from taking the old cars to selling, financing and offering maintenance for the new ones.