The first automotive industry podcast in the MENA region featuring high level players from within and outside the industry.
You can look forward to stunningly practical advice mixed with exponential thinking and best practices from around the world.
Our first three podcasts cover gender diversity, the science of innovation, and the future of mobility.
Powering Up For An All Electric Future - Mark Carson, Customer Service & Quality Director, Renault Middle East
In this episode of the Autofocus Podcast, we are with Mark Carson, Customer Service and Quality Director at Renault Middle East.
With over 30 years of experience in the industry, 20 of them at Renault and 13 of them in and around electric mobility, Mark brings the perspective of someone who has been at the forefront of shaping what we consider present and future mobility. In his current role, Mark is responsible for Renault's Customer Experience Program, the customer experience performance delivered by the Dealer Network, and all things Electric Vehicles: Awareness, After-Sales, and Product Compliance.
In the episode, Mark took us on a journey of electrification and electrification in the region. Highlights include how in 2007 Renault went directly into fully electric vehicles, a bold move that skipped the hybrid-trend, how in 2012 the iconic Twizy began appearing in the region even though it wasn't supposed to be available here, and how in 2014 the EV market in Jordan got a massive kickstart.
What was intereting was how Mark connected a lot of dots in the ecosystem: regulation, pricing, awareness, the second hand market, and after sales. He also talked about the importance of partnerships between OEMs and dealers, and how we might go about promoting sustainable energy and mobility in the region.
Mark also shared insights on where Renault plans to go with its electric and clean vehicle portfolio and and how Expo 2020 has the potential to highlight the realities of tomorrow.
For more detailed show notes and video highlights visit amenaauto.org/autofocus
Seamless, Shared and Smarter Mobility - Ben Pullen, Managing Director, Generation.e
In this episode of the Autofocus Podcast, we are joined by Ben Pullen, Co-Founder & CEO of Generation.e. Ben has spent most of his entire career in sustainable energy and mobility. In 2015 he created what Generation E with a mission to inspire transformation to smarter mobility through Conferences and Electric Vehicle Road Trips.
Ben kicks off the episode sharing with us how his journey has taken him from working with sustainable energy to sustainable mobility. He speaks to us about the natural interaction between renewable energy and the electrification and how it was this realisation that led him into the mobility space. Having completed his Masters in Energy Management, Ben has been exposed to players in natural gas and oil as well as renewable technology; he shares with us how the two have vastly different approaches to change within the industry. Ben goes on to give us an insight into the mobility differences that differentiate major cities all over the world as well as the challenges that unite them; such as the impact of mobility on health and the environment.
We also talk about the realistic future of mobility. Ben touches on the idea of electrification being 'the silver bullet' and that the end goal cannot be to get everyone into an electric car. His insight into how electric cars are making consumers more conscious of the source of their energy is worth noting. Speaking on infrastructure, we talk about the different challenges cities will face when accommodating sustainable mobility solutions. Not to mention the changes in ageing regulation that we need to overcome. Further the conversation on infrastructure, Ben shares his opinion on car sharing vs car ownership & how the popularity of the model is a good indication of where the future of individual mobility is headed.
Finally, we touch on the next decade of mobility, Expo 2020, and Ben's predictions. As we move into a 'new era' of mobility, Ben feels the way in which the car will interact with the world around it will fundamentally change; and that we may very well be at the end of a chapter in the story of mobility.
To find out more about the upcoming Middle East EVRT and Smarter Mobility World this March in Dubai, visit https://generationehq.com
For more episodes on the Autofocus Podcast visit amenaauto.org/autofocus
BMW on Designing The Future - Dr. Hamid Haqparwar, Managing Director, BMW Middle East
In this episode of the Autofocus Podcast, we are with Dr. Hamid Haqparwar who is the Managing Director of BMW Group, Middle East.
Dr Hamid's colourful career is a true testament to his 'blue-blood' claim.
Having started as an intern, in Germany, at BMW Headquarters, Dr. Hamid spent a year with BMW, pre-graduation, before taking on his first role as a Market Development Manager in 2006.
In 2008 Dr. Hamid spent just under 4 years in the Middle East, in Sales, as the Area Manager and the Head of Product Management in the region. His career continued to lead him around the globe as he became Director Sales and Director Sales Channel Development for BMW India, prior to returning to the region and taking on in his current role as MD.
In this episode, we get straight into Dr. Hamid's sage advice for those who wish to enter and those who are currently in the automotive industry. He shares his formula for sucsess and taking risks for career progression.
We move on to the evolution of BMW; having climbed up the brand's hierarchy for almost over a decade and a half, Dr. Hamid is suitably placed to discuss what the next decade for BMW will look like in comparison. From creating the first full-electric premium car to their adaptive approach to the workforce, he speaks on how the extensive achievements of the brand in the past 10 years are an indication of what BMW has planned next. Later in the episode, we go on to touch on what the future may look like for the dealer/importer network and consumers in the region.
Dr. Hamid goes on to share with us the rigorous process of designing cars that are years ahead of their time; from design to 3D rendering & clay modelling, faced with the challenge of future-proofing designs, he explains the process of designing a BMW that is of the standard consumers have come to expect.
Of course, we speak on autonomous driving as a part of our winder conversation on CASE/ACES. Dr. Hamid shares with us BWM's answer to these 'mega-trends' and how the two dominant mobility trends are being, and have been, addressed.
Moving on, we discuss BMW's partnerships with other OEMs. Dr. Hamid explains how BMW's joint R&D with OEMs such as Daimler and JLR are essential in the disruptive & fast-paced world we are currently in.
Finally, Dr. Hamid shares his excitement around the overhaul of the upper-end of BMW's portfolio, his admiration for the tech-savviness of consumers in the region and which car from the line-up he's looking forward to driving next.
We end on some closing words of advice from Dr. Hamid for those looking to join brands like BMW.
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Transformation In The Mobility Ecosystem – Dr. Saeeda Jaffar, Managing Director, Alvarez & Marsal Middle East
In this episode of the Autofocus Podcast, we are with Dr. Saeeda Jaffar who is the Managing Director of Alvarez & Marsal Middle East.
Dr. Jaffar is an expert and leader in organizational transformation, focusing on a wide range of strategic and performance-related issues in automotive, financial services, and beyond. Dr. Jaffar has worked with clients in the Middle East, Europe and the United States.
Dr. Jaffar shares the key considerations for regional automotive companies to ensure sustainable transformation and how the company cultures' amongst dealers must first change to adapt to the shifts happening in the value chain.
We go on to speak on increasing customer value by placing an importance on listening to 'the voice of the customer' and also on how many companies are losing out on key opportunities to do so. We also touch on Dr Jaffar's views on the best way for businesses to respond to the change and disruption in the industry's near future.
Finally, we talk about customer behaviours and how these have been altered by the 'experiential economy' followed by how leading business will be the ones who beat customer expectations.
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Scaling Up Electrification in Automotive and Beyond – Monika Mikac, Chief Business Officer at QEV Technologies
In this episode, our Chief Strategist, Cheyenne Kamran, sits down with Monika Mikac, Chief Business Officer at QEV Technologies and former COO of Rimac Automobili.
Monika started her career in automotive at Rimac Automobili, from the founding days in the garage all the way to the launch of the Concept One, the first all-electric hypercar. In 2018 Monika joined QEV Technologies, a company that offers highly specialized engineering services to companies and governments in the area of electrification and electromobility.
In this episode, Monika talks about how her time at Rimac required her to have a multidisciplinary skillset, from accounting to assembling the car just in time for the Frankfurt motorshow. There are a number of lessons from her early days at Rimac – especially how to maintain company culture and the innovative spirit during hyper-growth.
She also shared how QEV Technologies is taking a very innovative approach to supporting the transition to electric mobility by supporting and enabling partners. Che and Monika also discussed the challenges we face as we continue the journey of electrification and the major hurdles that need to be addressed before we see faster adoption.
Her story of the electrification of Philippines' Jeepney is a perfect case study of looking at the economic impact of electrification where incremental improvement in the way of gas powered engines could be detrimental to parts of the economy.
Lastly, Che and Monika touch on the next generations of opportunities and how we can attract the next generation of women into the automotive industry.
You can find out more about QEV Technologies on their website, and connect with Monika on LinkedIn.
And for more episodes, visit AMENA Autofocus.
The Radical New Look of The Automotive Industry – Frank Bernthaler, CEO of Emirates Motor Company
In this episode of the Autofocus Podcast, we are with Frank Bernthaler, the CEO of the Emirates Motor Company, Mercedes-Benz authorized distributor in Abu Dhabi since 1962.
In this episode, Frank shares his views on a variety of hot topics: the evolution of the industry, long-term partnerships between automakers, the distribution-retail chain, and the dilemma of changing consumer sensibilities. We deep dive into the radical changes within the automotive industry over the past 30 years from the days of billboard marketing to the current 360 experience that consumers have come to expect. Frank's unique perspective comes from working with Mercedes both on the OEM side and the dealer side.
We touch on car ownership and how EMC is planning on adapting to the changing attitudes towards ownership. Frank also shared his views on CASE and the premise that connectivity is already here and how autonomous and electric vehicles will have a bumpier road to success than most people think.
On the topic of data and connectivity, we discuss the interesting story of two OEMs who are historically competitors, against all odds, are joining forces. Lastly, Frank addresses the need for companies to change their mindsets. Becoming more open to collaboration to ensure their survival.
For more episodes visit amenaauto.org/autofocus