10/04/2017

10 April 2017
10 April 2017, Comments Comments Off on Roberto Fumarola – FCA
Roberto Fumarola - FCA

Head of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Motorhome Converters department

 
This is the first time we meet Roberto Fumarola, the new head of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Motorhome Converters department: he will lead the corporate division that not only does supply vehicles for manufacturers, but also does coordinate post-sale and customer-dedicated services as a whole.

Words Antonio Mazzucchelli

Roberto Fumarola a new task for you after many years of working for Fiat. How important is the experience you have gained over the years?
The role I cover is not exactly new to me, but it concerns an area where I haven’t worked yet. I think it is a very varied, certainly challenging sector, especially at organizational level: there, in fact, not only the traditional planning activity takes place but also production, sale, after-sales services and relationships with manufacturers are involved. It is unquestionable that the commercial vehicles market is gradually recovering, after recent years’ slump, and Fiat Professional plays a leading role with a significant market share: in Italy, 4 vehicles out of 10 are Fiat Professional. Today my experience is important also for addressing RV market. Fiat Ducato’s recreational users are quite different from commercial Ducato’s.

What are the major differences that you faced when you took on the new task?
In my opinion, the main differences between the commercial vehicles’ segment and the RV industry are essentially two. First, my previous role was production and sales manager, while in the RV world I cover the supplier role. The second major difference concerns the customer profile: Fiat Professional Retail is aimed at craftsmen, companies, charterers and corporate fleets, while in the RV field the end customer is predominantly a family, in the broadest sense of the term. A family whose goal is to use Ducato during spare time and during holidays. I must therefore face a mobility that stems from totally different needs compared to retail customer’s: you use campers to travel for leisure, for fun, certainly not for work. FCA provides the basis for this different mobility: through technology we are able to ensure safety, comfort and reliability. The long-lasting Fiat success in the RV industry is no coincidence, but the outcome of so many years’ relentless and well-organized work during which Fiat, in close contact with manufacturers, has improved both its own expertise and the product, always “tailor made” for recreational use. FCA has not certainly forgotten the retail world, ie the world of those using vehicles for work and adopted a two-pronged approach: on one hand we continued to manufatcure products for retail on the other we extended its range so as to include free time vehicles, by taking up customers’ requirements and experiences. Fiat has always worked jointly with motorhome manufacturers, according to their specifications, and always meeting their needs.

Which operating steps you are going to undertake during the first few months of this new activity?
I have already met most of the manufacturers. Together we have built mutual trust, respect, care and problem sharing. I will therefore continue to strengthen relationships with manufacturers, by meeting them during the events we will specially organize for them and trying to intervene in the areas that I consider most critical, such as, for example, production. Sound relationships combined with processes optimization will be my goal in the early stage of my work. What about your team? Ours is a solid, tested, experienced and very passionate team. Our constant goal is to obtain an excellent product, by collaborating and dialoguing with manufacturers to meet their needs. I also intend to further improve our visibility and dialog with the final customer. Fiat Ducato is the undisputed leader in its own sector. Besides keeping this leadership, we’ll make our customers increasingly love our product. I believe that team work is crucial to achieve this goal. I am a manager who delegates and empowers my team a lot. I want that people whom I work with are independent, manage their work autonomously, know their goal, work in the greatest serenity and keep promoting mutual dialogue.

Have you already got an idea of the criticalities within RV industry?
From what I could understand, much of the industry is working to its capacity limits. So I think that anyone involved in the process should be suitably dimensioned according to the growing market needs. For example, they will increase the soak areas. As regards RV dealers, they will have to raise their own structural standard. As a vehicles supplier, we at FCA will should make a few remarks, so as In the European market, Fiat Ducato has almost become synonym for camper: 73% of the circulating campers, in fact, is built on Ducato vehicle. A truly excellent result obtained from the relentless improvement of the product as well as of services specially designed for RV customers. Born in 1981, Fiat Ducato has just celebrated its 35 th birthday. From the very  beginning,  it has had a steady relationship with the RV world, which has grown over time, being increasingly appreciated by the customers. If today 3 campers out of 4 adopt Ducato vehicle is not only due to manufacturers’ choice, but also to general public’s appreciation. Fiat has been including for many years now a special team aimed at “Ducato Camper” product: now this dedicated team underwent management turnover. The newly appointed manager is Roberto Fumarola, who has worked in Fiat for 30 years now and has a deep knowledge of commercial vehicles industry. We interviewed Mr. Fumarola at Stuttgart CMT.  Here is how he responded to our questions. 

This a new task for you after many years of working  for  Fiat. How important is the experience you have gained over the years?
The role I cover is not exactly new to me, but it concerns an area where I haven’t worked yet. I think it is a very varied, certainly challenging sector, especially at organizational level: there, in fact, not only the traditional planning activity takes place but also production, sale, after-sales services and relationships with manufacturers are involved. It is unquestionable that the commercial vehicles  market is gradually recovering, after recent years’ slump, and Fiat Professional plays a leading role with a significant market share: in Italy, 4 vehicles out of 10 are Fiat Professional. Today my experience  is important also for addressing RV market.

Fiat Ducato’s  recreational users are quite different from commercial Ducato’s. What are the major differences that you faced when you took on the new task?
In my opinion, the main differences between the commercial vehicles’ segment and the RV industry are essentially two. First, my previous role was production and sales manager, while in the RV world I cover the supplier role. The second major difference concerns the customer profile: Fiat Professional Retail is aimed at craftsmen, companies, charterers and corporate fleets, while in the RV field the end customer is predominantly a family, in the broadest sense of the term. A family whose goal is to use Ducato during spare time and during holidays. I must therefore face a mobility that stems from totally different needs compared to retail customer’s: you use campers to travel for leisure, for fun, certainly not for work. FCA provides the basis for this different mobility: through technology we are able to ensure safety, comfort and reliability. The long-lasting Fiat success in the RV industry is no coincidence, but the outcome of so many years’ relentless and well-organized work during which Fiat, in close contact with manufacturers, has improved both its own expertise and the product, always “tailor made” for recreational use. FCA has not certainly forgotten the retail world, ie the world of those using vehicles for work and adopted a two-pronged approach: on one hand we continued to manufatcure products for retail on the other we extended its range so as to include free time vehicles, by taking up customers’ requirements and experiences. Fiat has always worked jointly with motorhome manufacturers, according to their specifications, and always meeting their needs.

Which operating steps you are going to undertake during the first few months of this new activity?
I have already met most of the manufacturers. Together we have built mutual trust, respect, care and problem sharing. I will therefore continue to strengthen relationships with manufacturers, by meeting them during the events we will specially organize for them and trying to intervene in the areas that I consider most critical, such as, for example, production. Sound relationships combined with processes optimization will be my goal in the early stage of my work.

What about your team?
Ours is a solid, tested, experienced and very passionate team. Our constant goal is to obtain an excellent product, by collaborating and dialoguing with manufacturers to meet their needs. I also intend to further improve our visibility and dialog with the final customer. Fiat Ducato is the undisputed leader in its own sector. Besides keeping this leadership, we’ll make our customers increasingly love our product. I believe that team work is crucial to achieve this goal. I am a manager who delegates and empowers my team a lot. I want that people whom I work with are independent, manage their work autonomously, know their goal, work in the greatest serenity and keep promoting mutual dialogue.

Have you already got an idea of the criticalities within  RV industry?
From what I could understand, much of the industry is working to its capacity limits. So I think that anyone involved in the process should be suitably dimensioned according to the growing market needs. For example, they will increase the soak areas. As regards RV dealers, they will have to raise their own structural standard. As a vehicles supplier, we at FCA will should make a few remarks, so as to cope with the currently pressing demand from a favorable and lively market. I wondered where this desire for campers comes from. Because growth is real, the market has significantly grown. For 2017 it is estimated a 10% increase in progression, especially in the French and German markets, which are the major marketplaces in Europe. More and more families want to spend their free time together and the camper is perhaps the best expression for achieving this goal. I am sure that the optimal organization of a totally relaxing, free, comfortable holiday is the trump card of this way of traveling.

Ducato Best Motorhome Base 2017
Ducato for the tenth time running was named “Best Motorhome Base Vehicle 2017” by the readers of “Promobil”, the specialised German magazine that for over 25 years has been the barometer of the trends in the motorhome sector. The accolade reconfirms the trust that customers place in Ducato. Once again, Ducato, base vehicle of choice for a multitude of motorhome variants made by different manufacturers, has prevailed over the competition put up by similar vehicles. Roberto Fumarola, FCA EMEA head of bodywork, and Bernd Wachtel, head of bodywork for FCA Germany AG, collected the prize at the ceremony which will be held during the CMT Stuttgart, Europe’s most important trade fair dedicated to caravanning, motoring and tourism. Ducato, the Fiat Professional flagship, has reasserted its undisputed leadership in the large van segment – for vehicles from 2.8 to 4.4 tons – in 2016 and was the best selling model in thirteen countries and in the camper van segment. Today, three out of four camper van owners travel in a Ducato-based motorhome, which has been chosen by over 500,000 families for over ten years. This success stems from 35 years of experience: since 1981, its winning features have been gradually perfected to turn Ducato into an authentic trendsetter produced in over 10,000 variants and sold in more than 80 countries worldwide. In short, it is a global model and the benchmark of the category.

About the new manager
Born in 1962, Roberto Fumarola is the new manager of the FCA Motorhome converters department. Fumarola joined Gruppo Fiat in 1987 and worked very hard in the commercial vehicles sector as an Area Manager, Product and Marketing Manager for Italy, head of Planning Europe and Europe Marketing and Sales Manager. Besides, he worked for brief periods in the Second-hand sector in Germany and at New Holland Agriculture. In the past 7 years he has been officially the Director of the Italian market for commercial vehicles, while in January 2017 he was officialy invested as Director of EMEA Recreational Vehicles.