Transcript from Ducati
CEO interview at CNN
Gabriele Del Torchio: Nothing great in the world was done without
passion. So passion is the basic ingredient. And I have to tell you that
passion is something that is really present here in Ducati, in myself,
in all the people working at Ducati, and in our fans around the world.
CNN's Juliet Mann: You're a niche motorcycle player that is now part of
a multi-national, massive car company.
Aren't you worried that might
dilute your brand?
Gabriele Del Torchio: Being part of the Volkswagen group, one of the
largest international groups in the world is a clear demonstration that
we are working and that we are on the right path. Obviously they have
far more resources than us. They are skilled in new materials, in
electronics, in engines. So all this will help us. But one thing is
clear, and was part of the agreement that we had together with the Audi
management: Ducati will stay as Ducati. No doubt on that. It will be
Italian and Ducati style will remain exactly as it is today. It's not a
question of size; it's a question of synergies.
CNN's Juliet Mann: It's great to have a positive attitude. But these are
very tough economic times, there has to be something else that has
helped you reach the heights you have and helped steer the company to
Gabriele Del Torchio: It's very evident that Southern Europe is really
suffering. But in the meantime, we decided that this crisis must be
transformed into an opportunity for us. I believe that the basic element
for success is to innovate the product. I raise my budget for R&D. We
spend more than ever in developing new products with a clear idea.
Gabriele Del Torchio: The second important element is about brand.
Together with the product the brand has a very important value for us.
The Italian style is reflected in our ingenuity, and in our design. And
this is really something that helps us a lot to create a brand that
works, as well to create a community around Ducati.
We are producing a way of life; a style of life.
That's very important for us. Nowadays, something like 86, 87 per cent
of our bikes are sold outside Italy. In these terms our
internationalisation is very important. It's what helped us, in 2011, to
establish another record in our history, because in 2011 despite the
crisis in south of Europe and in some other European countries, it was
the best year in our history.
Our mission is to produce premium bikes, with
sport attitude. And with Italian style. And everything is telling us
that this recipe, this mission of the company, is well, is considered
well received in the Far East as well. Up to the extent that last year I
decided to open an assembly plant in Thailand, with a clear objective to
serve the Far East market.
CNN's Juliet Mann: Over the last ten years or so though, Ducati
several owners. What's going to make Audi different?
Gabriele Del Torchio: Ducati changes so many owners in the past, at
least 3 owners during the last fifteen years. But when we changed
owners, it was because of a crisis at Ducati, either a commercial crisis
or a financial crisis. It's not the case today. We are now preparing a
ten year plan in order to establish the new role of Ducati in the bike
industry, in the new world, in this part of the world and the new part
of the world in the Far East and Latin America.
CNN's Juliet Mann: What would you like to see the Italian government
doing to help businesses, to help encourage more businesses to be 'Made
in Italy' and be proud?
Gabriele Del Torchio: I believe that first of all they have to put their
books and their accounts in order. We have too much deficit, and this is
the basic recipe. The only thing that I really ask is to have an
efficient educational system in Italy, because we truly rely - we
completely rely on the ability of our engineers to develop bikes, and
this is very important element. Because the only way for the Italian
companies to succeed, to maintain the ability to export is as I said at
the beginning, through innovation. This crisis has, first of all,
imposed to Italian companies to become more international than before
and this is positive. In the meantime I'm sure the internal market will
start to grow and once again we'll have tremendous opportunities. So the
only thing that I will ask now to our government is to create the
conditions where a competitive educational system, to maintain the
possibility to have skilled and smart engineers working for us. There
are no alternatives. It's a bitter recipe, but we have to drink this
glass of water very bitter because there are no other alternatives. I am
confident that from 2013 onwards, that things will go better.
CNN's Juliet Mann: Investing in education is so important to you that
you've taken it to high schools, haven't you?
Gabriele Del Torchio: Absolutely, we decided four years ago to establish
a school, to open a school inside Ducati, it's what we call Physics and
Motor. What it is Physics and Motor? We are teaching Physics, to the
students, and using a very simple exercise all played around the bikes.
If you have time, I strongly recommend you to see our Physics and Motor
department, and you will see how interesting it is. And this is our
contribution to the Italian government to improve interest about
sciences and physics. Because, you know, Italy is a manufacturing
country, and we desperately need to have good engineers. And we have to
explain to the young generation that studying engineering is something
very interesting, very fun, and affordable.
CNN's Juliet Mann: How has your view on Europe's single currency changed
during the economic crisis?
Gabriele Del Torchio: I remain confident that the Euro will stay alive.
In case of breakage of the Euro system, everybody has to pay a big
price, a big cost. Germany, France, as well the South of Europe
countries. So it's not in the interest of anybody to do that. Obviously
we had a good old time in which the Italian companies were using the
Lira, and through the devaluation of the Lira we became magically very
competitive around the world. But it's a short cut; it's not a real
solution. So I don't think that returning to a local currency is a
CNN's Juliet Mann: I suppose with linking up with Audi you've got "Made
in Germany", "Made in Italy" - two icons of manufacturing in their
respective countries coming together. Do you think that's the way
forward? Will we see more cross-border European ties?
Gabriele Del Torchio: I believe that in the future we will see more
examples of co-operational acquisition in between European companies.
Because Europe is a part of the world, but if you consider that the
world now is basically divided in four big areas, it's Europe on one
side, North America, Latin America and the Far East. So put it together
the forces, put it together the strength and the resources. It's
something that is for sure beneficial for all of us. I don't have doubt
of that. I believe that we will see many more acquisitions, many more
examples of co-operations.
Credit: CNN Marketplace Europe