Carlos T. López Panisello He is a ‘Ducatista’ through and through. Who better than someone from the Volkswagen Group itself? always passionate about Ducati to lead the new stage of the Italian firm in Spain and Portugal. Because since January 1, this Catalan lover of climbing and sailing, in addition to two wheels, whether on the road or with enduro motorcycles, is the head of Ducati in the Peninsula. López Panisello (Tortosa, Tarragona, 1980) has a degree in Law from the University of Navarra and an MBA from IESE Business School. If we think that He began his professional career at the Volkswagen Group in 2012 and before making the leap to Ducati he was manager of Fleets, Rent a Car (RAC) and Used Vehicles at Skoda, who better than this Ducati enthusiast to be the General Director Ducati Spain and Portugal.

Since January 1, 2024, Ducati Spain and Portugal are under his management. What have been the biggest challenges you have faced in these first months?

The main challenge, the first was to assemble a quality human team that is highly prepared to face a challenge like this, which is not easy. Finding the right people for the right job at the right time is incredibly difficult. And that was the first big challenge I encountered. The second was to understand how I imagined the dealer network in the future, what it was like before and how I believed it should be. There is another very important challenge which is that of the systems, getting a large multinational like the Volkswagen group with a dealership structure like the one it has and the new one with Ducati to also talk to the Italian factory in Bologna. Because in order to be the owner of your business you need to manage data in an efficient way to make decisions. So, if you are not able to have that data in an organized and recurring way, it is complicated. And then one of the first obsessions was to see how we managed to have all that data quickly and orderly.

Carlos T. López Panisello

How do you view the dealer network? Will we see any Audi dealers selling Ducatis?

No. There are brands that have done something similar but not us. From the first moment I gave a clear message that no, for me the world is no longer a matter of motorcycles or not, but that each business has its own idiosyncrasy, each client too, and that must be understood. What you cannot expect is to set up a type of business outside of what your customers really want and what your product is. And for us it was very important to understand from the beginning that from the automotive point of view we could contribute many things, but that the world of motorcycles and cars have tremendous differences. So what we quickly saw was that trying to translate things we do with cars into motorcycles would have been a mistake, at least for us, from our point of view. And that defined the policy that we have carried out and which translates into that for me, my idea and that of the brand and the group is to have as many exclusive dealerships as possible, absolutely dedicated, with a specific layout in a specific location. , etcetera etcetera. Obviously there are areas in which we will have to maintain multi-brandism. Our idea has never been to make more concessions, on the contrary, we have less.

What is your strategic vision to position Ducati against the competition in the Spanish and Portuguese market?

Become more and more premium. We don’t make special or limited editions with Bentley or Lamborghini by chance. Not even they do them with us by chance. That is to say, Lamborghini agrees to make a certain model with us because it understands that we are a valid interlocutor for it. We are increasingly moving towards this exclusivity. Last week we launched a special unlimited edition of the Monster Ayrton Senna. In a day and a half everything was sold in a day and a half.

The supply of Chinese motorcycle brands is growing rapidly. How do you see this trend and what impact do you think it will have on the Spanish market?

There are brands that are going to suffer a lot because more and more the product that comes from China, and not only from China, but from India, begins to have not the same quality by any means, but it is beginning to have reasonable standards for the price that have. Because now you begin to have reasonable products at a very competitive price, which also begin to be very close to other general brands that cannot compete with them on price. That is a problem. That is to say, for me, someone who wants a Benelli, a Morini, a CFMoto or a QJ tells me “I am hesitating between a quota and a Ducati”, this is not my client, this is not my battle. And I’m not telling you that you are buying a bad motorcycle, but that you are in another battle, you are in another type of product and I trust that you will start here, that tomorrow you will aspire to have a Ducati. But there are other brands that are closer, there is a difference of two or €3,000 and the difference in terms of engine power product is not that much and you have to suffer for that. Many of these brands are saying every day “we want to be more premium every day.” I always give the same example and this is pure and simple marketing theory, and I have not learned it at IESE or Harvard, and nowhere, it is common sense. That is, if you are already positioned at the top, trying to go higher is easier when you are lower, trying to climb to the top is a long, hard path that costs a lot of money. We have many challenges in Spain, in Portugal, related to the brand and relationships with Ducati’s past history here, we are aware and we are working on it. And changing that is a slow-cooking dish. Things don’t change from one day to the next, market perception. So imagine that someone who perceives you as a generalist or as a motorcycle, then correct, but now it is “super premium”. Maybe you have a model or a very specific version that is highly valued, but the brand is what it is. And moving a brand from one place to another… ask any car or motorcycle brand.

Ducati’s Scrambler brand has grown in popularity in recent years. What role will this product line play in your strategy for the Spanish and Portuguese markets?

For us the Scrambler, which by the way for me is the most comfortable, fun, agile motorcycle we have. It is a model of access, youth, it is a model that wants to bring the brand closer to people. It is a model that has a very interesting story behind it and that we must continue working on and that is a model that needs us to help people get on the motorcycle to get to know it, experience it and fall in love with it.

$!Carlos T. López Panisello

Carlos T. López Panisello

Recently, the Ducati Barcelona dealership was acquired by the Quadis automobile group. What impact do you expect this acquisition to have on Ducati’s presence and distribution in the region?

Well, look, a group with 80 years of experience in the world of automotive and also motorcycles, for years now, has become our partner, I think I said it before, I think it is the culmination of the love story that is living Ducati right now, where it joins, for example, in the case of Barcelona, ​​the passion of many years of a family that has been living and developing the business for 20 years with the Quadis Group that has a level of professionalization, automation, customer control, after-sales management, etc., etc., which is very important and the only thing it does is add value and value and value to this new challenge of providing an increasingly better product and better service to our customers.

How do you see the future of mobility in the motorcycle field? Do you think we will see electric Ducati on the street?

I see it from a comfortable perspective compared to the car. I think that the car, due to different circumstances, regulations, European environments, etc., etc., is subjected to much higher pressure than the motorcycle is under today. The motorcycle in the medium long term is going to have very important challenges, while the car has them in the short term and that means we have a little more time. Time that as far as we are concerned, at Ducati I think we are making good use of it because we are trying to develop electric motorcycles at a very high level from a motorcycle perspective and that is the reflection that a Ducati that looks to the future, that Ducati invests in the future and that Ducati will not release an electric product until it has quality standards, at least at the premium level that we now have in combustion engines.

Regarding sports, Ducati has had unstoppable seasons in all aspects. Now the future of Jorge Martín and Marc Márquez at Ducati is on everyone’s lips. How do you see it?

I have my personal opinion that, as you can imagine, I am going to be very careful about saying it. I spoke about it before with the people at Ducati Corse and they told me we are in a great but at the same time complicated moment. The moment is so sweet that the decision is difficult.

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