Interviews
3 Feb 15

Thomas Dubruel, Renault Mais Turkey: “"More business, better business”"

The Turkish automotive market is as promising as it is challenging. As the new Assistant General Manager of Renault Mais in Turkey, Thomas Dubruel intends to build on the brand's market leadership: “I want to build on that success by growing the business of both Renault and Dacia – both in terms of profitability and success”. 

Thomas Dubruel is a veteran in the automotive business. He has over 20 years of experience at Renault in various executive functions in Italy, Slovenia and in other markets. Until recently, Dubruel headed Renault's operations in Romania, where he managed Renault and Nissan, as well as the home-grown Dacia brand. His new appointment parachutes him in a country where Renault is in a strong position to grow further – as Dubruel realises:
 
“Arriving in Turkey, I was fortunate to see we have strong, professional teams in place, with flexible and fast-working staff. For 16 years now, Renault has been the leader of the Turkish passenger car market. And for a brand that hardly existed on the Turkish market a decade ago, Dacia is a remarkable local success story: it now has 5% share, and an 8th position on the market”.
“The combined sales volume of Renault and Dacia puts Turkey in 5th place when it comes to our group's car sales per market. This is a good position to expand from”.
 
As the new head of Renault's sales, distribution and network in Turkey, can you tell us how you intend to do that?
“My plan for Turkey is simple: More business and better business. That's the future”.
“More business means we'll search for growth on the Turkish market wherever we see the potential. Granted, we already have a large market share – but I'm convinced we can increase it. Just like we can increase our after-sales business, which will raise additional profits for the group”.
“That brings me to better business: an interesting concept in this regard is the development of Renault Store. This new concept for Renault dealerships will allow our dealers to be more in tune with customer expectations. Those expectations have changed a lot in recent years, in both the retail and fleet markets, especially because of the internet. Renault Store is a digital response to those new, heightened expectations”.
“In terms of better business, I also think it's important to strike a good balance between retail and fleet. The retail market is important, also because it is where the price levels for used vehicles are set. Strengthening our position in the retail market is therefore also useful for our fleet business, because good residual values have a direct, positive impact on the fleet business”.
 
The new year is still young. What are Renault's brand objectives for 2015?
“We should always try to do better, and we want to grow every month – but that's a given. More business and better business needs to be framed by excellence in two crucial fields: customer satisfaction, and brand image”.
“We're constantly trying to develop and maintain customer satisfaction, a key element in building loyalty and retaining fidelity. As for brand image, I am convinced that Renault has a strong, positive image in Turkey, not just with relation to the general brand image, but also for the actual robustness and reliability of our vehicles”.
“I do think, however, that now is the time to build on the attractiveness of our range. With Clio and Captur, we've already made bold statements as to design and innovation. We'll continue with that trend in the coming months, launching the Kadjar – the new C-crossover – and other new cars”.
 
How important is the Turkish fleet market for Renault? And what are your fleet ambitions in Turkey?
“Fleet sales have a penetration of 35-40% in the total market. Renault is always in the Top 3. And our 26% share puts us in the number one spot in the leasing market. In order to continue our leadership in the personal car market in the upcoming years, we will have to be strong in the fleet market”.
 
Which models are most popular with our corporate clients? And which new models will you be launching this year?
“In our current range, we have a full set of products to cover all needs of our corporate clients, the most popular ones being the Fluence, Symbol, Latitude and Clio”.
“As for future models, there will be the Kadjar, the all-new C-crossover, as mentioned before. In the light commercial vehicle segment, we'll be launching the New Renault Trafic in the third quarter of the year. That's not all, but at present, I can't disclose anything about the other new products...”
 
For Renault, how important is the captive leasing activity in Turkey?
“Our leasing business is growing each year, and so is its impact on our local clients. Our captive business in Turkey is structured via our dealer network, and is focused exclusively on SMEs. Our captive fleet as a whole is 3,250 vehicles strong, with an average of 3 units per client. Captive leasing is an important tool for us to maintain the loyalty of customers considering leasing over purchasing. Our dealers share in the profits, as lease contracts come with the provision of maintenance; and the customers is likely to stay loyal to the brand after the contract, buying the car”.
 
Which evolutions do you see taking place on the car fleet market?
“We're optimistic about the car fleet market. In Turkey, the special consumption tax has increased significantly in recent years, reaching a minimum level of 45%. On top of that comes 18% VAT. Consequently, the retail market is suffering. But the fleet market is still in position to grow”.
“Increasing customer expectations are fast changing the corporate car fleet market, with a stronger focus on TCO, a growing preference for hatchback cars (for example in the B segment) and greater demand for automatic gearboxes. To put it frankly: driven by customer expectations, fleet cars are increasingly resembling retail cars”.

Authored by: Steven Schoefs