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“We are really proud”

YouTube made a video coverage of Qoros Auto at the 83rd Geneva Motor Show in 2013.  Senior executives interviewed at the company stand include Volker Steinwascher, vice chairman, Gert Hilderbrand, Head of Designer and Stefano Villanti, executive director of sales & marketing. The following is a transcript. The video strip can be viewed at the following link: — Editor

YouTube: There has been almost an enormous interest of Qoros at the Geneva Motor Show, probably more than any other brand. How does that make you feel?

Steinwascher: Really proud. I must say I am overwhelmed by the reaction of media here.

Volker Steinwascher 

YouTube: It seems that you have achieved enormous amount in a short period of time, 1,500 days I gather. Where did you start?

Steinwascher: We started really from zero, a white sheet of paper. If you start from a white sheet of paper, you have a huge amount of work. On the other side you can structure and do it the right way. So you have no legacies, no paradigms. You just are able to do it right. We did a lot of things right because nobody has ever achieved what we have achieved in less than four years.

Hildebrand: I think it is a chance in a lifetime to start the project from scratch, from a clean sheet of paper. I had a certain edge where I have an experience in trying to do something new, and I didn’t want to play golf in my retirement. It was a chance when Mr. Guo Qian and Volker Steinwascher offered me a job and I just took it.

Gert Hilderbrand

YouTube: You talked about this blank sheet of paper, where do you start with a blank sheet of paper?

Hildebrand: Actually the sheet had a little bit of writing on it because the brand definition was done through the marketing department, elegance, simplicity. So I started with this briefing. The briefing was there and out of this briefing you create ideas, proportions and models and then design features. This is a very short description of a long process.

Villanti: At the beginning we built the organization, we developed a new technical platform, we developed a factory and we developed a product concept. The key thing that we did at the beginning that took a lot of time was customer research, understanding the key buying factors for our target consumers. Then came defining what would be the product strategy in terms of platform and technology we were going to deploy.

Stefano Villanti (right)

YouTube: You’ve launched three cars today, one of which is behind us, which is the Qoros 3 sedan. What is special about this car?

Villanti: Its timeless design, very elegant and high quality design, and value. We call it understated luxury. Very high quality materials, a lot of space inside, and last but not the least, infotainment. Connected cloud, connected infotainment that is basically easy to operate in the car. It may be the first social car.

YouTube: So the HMI (Human Machine Interface) or the infotainment system. We’ve heard a little about that before but what does that mean to you? Will it really attract the people you think it’s going to attract?  

Steinwascher: Absolutely. I would call it the 3rd generation of infotainment. The 1st generation was a screen, whatever size, a lot of buttons because for every function you need a button. The 2nd generation is what is in the market right now, there is still a lot of buttons, push screen, you touch it, sometimes it’s easy to touch and sometimes not so easy. We have this swipe screen that is very unique in the market but it gives you the possibility of very easy use, with a little swipe without looking at the screen. You know where you are, it’s very simple. I think this gets a lot of attraction in the industry and I’m sure the consumers as well.

YouTube: One can’t help but notice that there are a lot of Europeans working for Qoros. What do they bring to the company?

Steinwascher: I think that is the base for the success. The Europeans have the experience in making cars. Because you need at least two or three generations of cars developed before you know really what you are doing. Since it takes more than three years to develop a car, it’s below 10 years. That’s why we have the Europeans because they have developed good cars for their life. If you are working for BMW, Volkswagen, Audi or GM, you know how to make cars. You know how to make good cars.

Qoros 3 Sedan

YouTube: Obviously a lot of people would be thinking, Chinese companies, safety, quality? How much work have you put into that?

Steinwascher: A lot. But you see for the people we have, it’s not something new because they have done it many times. Because I have done it many times, it makes it easy to do it, and makes us all confident that we’ll achieve it.

YouTube: In addition to the Qoros 3, you have revealed two concept cars. Are we going to see these in production?

Villanti: Yes. We are planning to launch a new product every 6-12 months, our next products will be a hatch, a cross, SUV and station wagon.

Hildebrand: I’m proud to have all these people around me. I’m proud to work for Volker and Guo Qian. I’m proud to work in Shanghai and also the chance using my European contacts to make cars. We have the ideal setup at the moment to be successful. But today is today and tomorrow we have to go ahead with even more work. So this is not the finishing of something. It’s a beginning of a long way and difficult way to bring cars to the customer.

YouTube: There has also been an enormous excitement around the brand, people storming the cars as we speak. How does that make you feel and how positive are you about the future?

Steinwascher: I’m just thrilled. It makes me so proud. It makes me proud as we are an excellent team, we are doing excellent work, and this is the result of what we have done together. It is very positive.

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