LIASE Group Attends 2015 ANE Congress with Top European Automotive LeadersAugust 02, 2015
- Wolfgang Doell, President and MD Europe, LIASE Group (rightmost) standing with Michael Earp, Chief Executive, Magma People (second from the right) and a group of delegates.
Summary: LIASE Group sponsored the ANE Congress in Birmingham, June 9-10, 2015. The Congress brought together top level automotive leaders from across Europe to discuss the most important topics presently affecting the industry.
Article: Wolfgang Doell, President and MD Europe, LIASE Group President and Vic H. Doolan, Non-Executive Member of the Board, LIASE Group Participated in the ANE Congress in Birmingham, June 9 – 10, 2015. Established in 1997, the Congress regroups some of the most influential decision-makers in the global automotive sector. LIASE Group was a silver sponsor of the Congress. This year’s theme was “Reinvented and Reinvigorated.”
Commenting on the Congress, Wolfgang Doell, President and MD Europe, LIASE Group noted that “sponsoring the ANE Congress gave us the opportunity to further our relationship with global automotive decision-makers. By having a presence at the world’s most important automotive events, we are able to further our understanding of the major trends that affect the global automotive sector, all the while forging personal bonds with the leaders in the sector. Because of this, we are able to provide highly specialized services to clients in the automotive industry.”
The Congress attracted a number of CEO and Board Members from major OEMs in Europe who made far ranging remarks and provided their insights on the global automotive sector.
In his keynote speech on the evening of the 10th, Ralf Speth, CEO, Jaguar Land Rover indicated that while car buyers are still not completely onboard with fully electric vehicles, the next generation of battery technology could very well change that. “Battery technology today is still too heavy, too expensive and the [power] density is too low,” he was quoted as saying by the Automotive News Europe following his keynote speech.
Land Rover is known to be working on electric drivetrains; developments that will be showcased in a prototype Range Rover Evoque expected to be unveiled in the coming months. Speth believes that lowering emissions is very important for automakers, warning that not doing so could turn away a whole segment of its customer base who has strong environmental concerns.
Linda Jackson, CEO, Citroen spoke about the brand’s repositioning towards “fun.” Jackson said the brand wanted to give people a happy feeling. This comes at a time when PSA/Peugeot-Citroen has stated its desire to reduce the number of models in its lineup, from 14 now, to seven by 2022. Jackson said that these 7 core models would be used as platforms from which variants would be produced.
Bo Andersson, CEO of Russia’s largest carmaker, AvtoVAZ said that most automotive plants in Russia are not producing enough vehicles to be cost competitive. Mr. Andersson pointed in particular at Ford’s 3 factories in the country, along with GM’s 2 plants. “I would say only 5 [out of the country’s 15 car plants] are sustainable, and they are the ones with production volumes over 175,000,” he said during the ANE Congress. GM has already announced it is stopping production at its St. Petersburg factory in the wake of slumping car sales following recent political upheavals in Russia.
Andersson expects Russian sales to decline by 36% this year and expects that it will take close to a decade for sales to rebound to their previous peaks. AvtoVAZ, which makes the world-famous Lada has benefitted from the downturn by attracting Chevy and Opel dealers, both brands are exiting the market. Andersson is optimistic his company will be able to turn a profit this year.
Andy Palmer, CEO, Aston Martin said that his company would choose the location for its new DBX crossover in the third quarter of 2015. The plant will seemingly be located in the UK or the U.S. the automaker’s current plant in Gaydon, central England is presently at capacity. Aston Martin plans to increase annual vehicle sales from 4,000 in 2014, to 15,000 in 2019. Alabama is seen as a likely frontrunner for the establishment of the plant. Aston Martin would then benefit from the proximity to Mercedes’ plant in Tucalussa. Daimler, which has a 5% stake in Aston Martin, is cooperating with the UK carmaker to supply it with high-performance V-8 Engines.
A number of executives at the event expressed their hope that the UK would remain in the European Union following the election of David Cameron’s majority government in the UK. Cameron has promised a referendum on the future of the UK in the EU within the next 2 years. Peter Schwarzenbauer, Management Board Member responsible for the Mini and Rolls-Royce brands, BMW Group said the he “would not be very happy if Britain exited the EU. It would be bad for both sides.”
JLR CEO Ralf Speth said that 20 percent of his company’s cars were sold in the EU, while many parts and components are imported from the continent. “We are very interested in having a free exchange of goods and technology so we can prosper together,” declared Speth to the Automotive News Europe following his keynote speech.
Hakan Samuelsson, CEO, Volvo, said the importance of short-term trade flows paled in comparison to the EU’s role as a counterweight to Asia and the NAFTA bloc. “I believe we need a strong Europe in the global competition against Asia-Pacific and the U.S.,” said Samuelsson.
The ANE Congress was also the site of two award ceremonies: the sixth annual L.E.A.D.E.R Awards recognizing excellence in the OEM, supplier and retail categories; and, the fifth annual Rising Star program, which recognizes Europe’s top talents the day before the Congress on June 9th, 2015.
The LIASE Group is a retained executive search and talent management consultancy, which specialises in the global automotive sector. We provide CEO and top management placements & succession expertise across multinational automotive suppliers. Our expertize is our in-depth understanding of conventional and unconventional automotive companies with sector expertise including OEM’s, importers, auto financing, auto leasing, auto dealers, private equity firms and tier 1 suppliers.
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