Paolo Vitelli: crisis management? Daring to dream -People-News-Yacht OnLine

14 Фев 2014 | Author: | No comments yet »
Azimut 105

Paolo Vitelli: crisis management? Daring to dream

Twenty-five yachts sailed into Cannes’ Port Canto for the fourth edition of the Yachting Gala: a fitting testament indeed to the Azimut-Benetti Group’s determination to get moving again. First with the new Azimut 64, a motoryacht that slots right into one of the competitive segments in the market by innovating tradition with beautifully laid out bright, airy spaces. And then plans to build a major new boatyard at Itajaì in Brazil. That facility will include a covered area of 200,000 square metres (double the size of Avigliana) to turn out 100 boats a year (six models) for existing and emerging markets alike. The man behind these momentous changes is, as ever, Paolo Vitelli, who spoke to us aboard one of his gems.

Mr. Vitelli, you’re here at Cannes surrounded by clients from all over the world. Does that mean the danger has passed for your Group?

Not yet, although we are getting positive signals from many markets. We are confident and we actually do feel more solid and stronger than ever before. It might seem a bit cynical to say so but other people’s problems might work to our advantage we might get some new clients out of it that we didn’t have before.

Is there any specific reason for this?

I do feel it’s because we are the very best. We’re a private company with a long-term strategy, focused on our product and our clients and not on finance or filling the pockets of shareholders.

So does that mean you’ll be producing credit crunch yachts?

The mission never changes for a big yard and that’s to offer more boats and more technology at the same price. The crisis has really encouraged us to go even further in that direction and that’s why we believe we can offer the market a great deal more than many of our competitors. We are focusing on Azimut Grande, which is our output of Azimut branded yachts of over 100’. It’s a little like houses: people always want a bigger one. And then, of course, more environmentally sound and efficient products.

What will your “grande” range look like?

They are yachts of 100’ to 130’ and include the 100, 105, 116, 120 and 130. They’re all fly bridges, some sporty the 120 SL, for example, is very sporty.

So there’s no risk of overlapping with Benetti’s yachts?

Azimut 64

No, the lines are very different. Benetti builds classic displacement yachts. We were actually feeling pressure mostly from English yards in the fast boat segment and we realised we had to react and fill the gap. They are and will be very stylish, modern, fast yachts. And we’ll make them better than our European competitors. We still have a big advantage design-wise.

What’s the outlook for Benetti?

The Livorno facility is working at full capacity and we’ve had five major launches over the last four months. There’s also the new Sensation line of semi-planing aluminium yachts.

How are the foreign markets doing? Is there a genuine recovery out there?

The United States is recovering, Mexico is making a strong comeback and Brazil is booming so it’s no coincidence that we opted to build on site there. There is a large number of new high-net-worth individuals in China, India, Korea and now Malaysia which has very close links to Singapore too.

There’s a lot of talk about green boats and environmental compatibility. What does all that mean to you?

I think that in practical terms, it’s down to the overall efficiency of the boats and thus reduced fuel consumption. We are currently fitting engines that, were they on the road, would already conform to Euro5. The generators have special exhausts, the black water systems are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Then there’s the use of natural, environmentally sound materials. We want to offer more natural fabrics and less polluting woods: certain wood treatments are a significant source of pollution. We want to start a revolution by using artificial teaks for our decks: that means we won’t be chopping down any more forests but we’ll have the same result. I feel it’s very important that we also find a way of recycling fibreglass that’ll take time but we’re working on it.

Azimut 64
Azimut 64
Azimut 64
Azimut 64
Azimut 64
Azimut 64
Azimut 64
Azimut 64

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