Executive Interview With Pietro Berardi, CEO Of Magneti Marelli Aftermarket - aftermarketNews

Executive Interview With Pietro Berardi, CEO Of Magneti Marelli Aftermarket

We sat down with Berardi to talk about the company's recently expanded aftermarket product coverage through the Magneti Marelli brand offered by Mopar, as well as the company's motorsports involvement and other topics.

126455magnetipi_00000075404Pietro Berardi is the CEO of Magneti Marelli Aftermarket, responsible for spare parts and services globally, encompassing a full product catalog of more than 30,000 part numbers as well as a full range of diagnostic tools and 5,000 automotive repair locations named “Checkstar.”

Berardi started his career at Generali, a leading European insurance company, after attending renowned Bocconi University in Italy and excelling in his degree of business administration. Berardi then lead the retail marketing business for Shell in Europe before joining Magneti Marelli as global purchasing and marketing director in 2008. With the opportunity of expanding Magneti Marelli’s aftermarket business in the U.S. in 2011, he became Vice President of Magneti Marelli North America.

Today, Magneti Marelli offers a comprehensive product line range of more than 35 maintenance and service parts for all major makes and models including Ford, GM, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Hyundai, VW and many more for U.S. and Canadian customers. The company also has expanded to include diagnostic equipment for North America in its offer.

We sat down with Berardi to talk about the company’s recently expanded aftermarket product coverage through the Magneti Marelli brand offered by Mopar, as well as the company’s motorsports involvement and other topics.

Please catch us up on what is new with Magneti Marelli since we last spoke.

PB: We have been working very hard in expanding our product line offering. We have extended the reach of our program, covering more than 80 percent of Chrysler Group dealers. If you recall, less than two years ago, we were at 10 percent of Chrysler Group dealers and we’ve now extended our reach to 80 percent of all the dealers. Also among them are nearly 300 main distributors of Magneti Marelli parts meaning dealerships, which stock a considerably larger amount of Magneti Marelli parts making up 10 percent of their overall inventory. There is a growing interest from dealers for more parts. We have introduced a great product that has filled a big hole in our product offering – that was batteries. It took us a while because we wanted to look for the best product, the best positioning and the best pricing. We finally found a very good proposal and within the first months of sales, it was incredibly good, so we are doing very well overall.

So the new battery is branded as Magneti Marelli?

PB: Yes, for the first time ever. The battery line is the first product line where we have a combined Mopar and Magneti Marelli offering. The entire program includes 30 part numbers (20 branded Mopar and 10 branded Magneti Marelli) and both brands include applications for all makes, meaning GM, Ford, Toyota, Honda, etc.

You said you are distributing products through the dealerships. Is this to independent shops as well?

PB: Yes, we are reaching the independent shops through the dealerships and their wholesale operations.

What are your goals there? Are you looking to move beyond the scope of Chrysler?

I think dealers are doing a good job using the parts in their used car reconditioning and retail service lane operations. The large opportunity is the wholesale business and we are working to provide the dealerships with more tools and resources to effectively promote this program to their wholesale customers so that we can also gain marketshare there. The dealers are definitely a key lever to achieve this target. If you compare sales year over year from 2012 to 2013, we have grown sales by 80 percent.

Overall, we are still in a building phase and we are trying to expand distribution as much as we can.

Do you foresee building commercial relationships with independent repair shops?

PB: Yes, I think with the independent repair shops we have a big opportunity. Look at the sale of CARQUEST, for example. The market is changing and it’s a good moment to be in this arena. We have a very good offer that can attract independent retailers. And, last but not least, we added together with Chrysler a sales force of 55 people to offer Magneti Marelli parts to these customers around the country in the name of the dealerships

Is this a direct sales force or are they independent sales reps?

PB: We hired full-time sales representatives concentrating solely on selling Mopar and Magneti Marelli parts to the independent market in the name of the dealerships. All of the newly added wholesale sales representatives have years and decades of aftermarket experience – for example from NAPA, AutoZone, Advance, and others – exactly the expertise we need to penetrate the independent aftermarket. We have great hopes for 2014 to really reach major milestones into the wholesale market together with the dealerships.

Having introduced so many new product categories in such a short period of time, which categories are you having the most success with?

PB: So far it’s the bread and butter parts – brakes, filters, starters and alternators and batteries. Consumable products – those we can use in the service lanes at the dealerships – are the parts that so far are very successful, but we are also trying to be successful in mechanical parts such as shock absorbers, bearings and undercar.

Are you still involved with NHRA?

PB: Yes, we actually expanded our racing involvement in 2013. We had an entire car in the funny car section of NHRA, so Matt Hagan’s car was a complete yellow and blue Magneti Marelli-themed funny car, which was amazing for us. He’s done great. He won five races and won second place at the championship.

Fiat recently acquired the remaining 41.5 percent of Chrysler. How will this impact the Magneti Marelli/Mopar partnership? What changes/benefits do you expect from this move?

PB: The partnership was already a terrific collaboration and we were already working as part of the same family, which now is a fact: We are totally excited about the news and proud to be part of a bigger and stronger group. So, the first benefit is even more enthusiasm and commitment. Our best way to contribute, anyway, is to continue to fulfill our mission: bringing the right program to the dealerships to be able to diversify and grow their businesses.

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