“Portuguese love their cars like their own life”
Who will win this year’s Fleet Europe Remarketing Awards? We can’t speak for the entire jury, but here’s what one jury member is looking for: “We already have plenty of tech in the sector. I want something that solves actual problems”, says Hugo Jorge. He’s editor in chief of Fleet Magazine, the premier source of information for Portugal’s fleet and mobility sector. Here’s a closer look at the magazine, the man, and his mission.
Fleet Magazine is still as much a print publication as when it was founded 12 years ago. In the years since, it has however also sprouted an online presence, info and training sessions, annual events, and even its own awards ceremony.
For years, Hugo Jorge was Fleet Magazine. But the Editor/CEO now heads a growing team, continuing his mission to inform and strengthen the Portuguese fleet and mobility industry.
“Before Fleet Magazine, the marketing and communications for this sector was unprofessional and incommunicative”, he says. “It is now doing much better on both counts, and I like to think that’s very much our doing.”
How did you do it?
“For a time, Fleet Magazine was a one-man company. I had to work hard to keep it sustainable. The only way to do that was to add value to the market. That’s why and how we became indispensable for the marketing and communication of the Portuguese fleet industry.”
“And today, Fleet Magazine is a core team of four full-time people – me, two journalists and a salesperson – plus input from a business assistant, part-time graphic designer, online marketeer,photographer and event team. And we’re growing. This year, we organized a second event in the same year – in Porto, next to our regular one in Lisbon. Also important for our growth is our online marketplace, which generates about 400 leads per month for buyers.”
How important is remarketing for you?
“It’s very important to Fleet Magazine, and it’s more important in Portugal than in more mature European markets. That’s because we are a very price-sensitive market, with a huge second-hand vehicle market. For every five used cars, only one new car gets sold in Portugal.”
“A few big international players have cornered about 70% of the B2B used-car market in Portugal, with the remaining 30% in the hands of a multitude of small local players, who are very competitive with each other.”
How does that affect the market?
“It makes Portugal an excellent test market for remarketing. That’s why large international companies like BCA and CarNext have chosen Portugal to launch new initiatives. And it’s not just because the second-hand market in Portugal is very large and active. It’s also because Portuguese people are open to technological innovation. And because they love cars like their own life.”
What do you mean by that?
“The best way to explain this is to point out that Portugal buys or sells very few used cars from Spain, even though it’s our only neighbour. That’s because the Spanish attitude to cars is more like the French: quite utilitarian. In this respect, the Portuguese are more like the Italians: we like our fancy cars (laughs).”
From your vantage point, what do you see as a major evolution in remarketing today?
“Right now, a lot of lease companies are trying to fine-tune their used-car strategies. I think we will see a lot more B2C business, and a lot more used-car leasing. In fact, I’m quite surprised that this is not the case already. This strategic fine-tuning will become a bigger issue in the future. I can even see an agency model taking root in the lease sector.”
You’ve kindly agreed to join the Fleet Europe Remarketing Jury. Why?
“The Fleet Europe Remarketing Forum, and the associated Awards, are Europe-wide events. For me, it’s an excellent opportunity to learn and to meet people from the industry from across the continent. And I think that remarketing is the most interesting part of the leasing business anyway.”
Companies can still submit their application to win a Remarketing Award. What are you as a jury member looking for?
“We already have plenty of tech in the sector. But a lot of that tech is not actually making an appreciable difference. I want something that solves actual problems. Just one example: Why isn’t there an easier way to find out the Residual Value information of a car model? The OEMs have it. But you can’t look it up like a phone number in the white pages. Why?”
Last question. What does Hugo Jorge do when work ends and leisure starts?
“I like biking, gardening and cooking. I produce my own wine – an old tradition here in Portugal. And I love reading, and jazz. My favorite is Coltrane. I play the guitar myself.”
Tempting final question; is there any comparison between jazz and fleet journalism?
“Jazz is about improvisation, but journalism shouldn’t be mere improvisation. Here’s the better analogy: jazz players are knowledgeable and organized enough to make music with what happens in the moment. I’d like to think that with Fleet Management too, we know how to hit the right notes.”