The FINANCIAL — Tegeta Motors, leading Georgian auto-service company, says the year 2010 will be a busy one.
Besides expanding to Azerbaijan and Armenia, the company plans to open a new service centre in Poti. It is also in the process of constructing a central warehouse in the free industrial zone of Poti.
Giorgi Mshvildadze, Director General of Tegeta Motors, says that 2009 was a tight year for the company as the global recession affected all businesses in Georgia. However despite the difficulties, the company managed to finish the year 2009 with profit.
“We had no problems with creditors in the turbulent 2009. Most of the companies finished 2009 with losses and many of them went bankrupt. Tegeta Motors successfully handled the existing challenges during the recession and ended the year with profit,” Mshvildadze said.
Mshvildadze notes that realization has significantly reduced in 2009 in comparison with2008, but still the results were positive. The company did not see a reduction of customers. “They just started spending less money,” Mshvildadze said. He says that stability is the main task for development of Tegeta Motors.
“No one knows what will happen. Our foreign partners warn us that turbulent events could yet take place. That is why I mentioned at the beginning of our talk that stability is a key factor for us,” Mshvildadze explained.
“Actually the global recession affected the auto industry a lot. The reduction of international transportation and stagnation of the construction business sector directly affected the auto industry. Even in the case of retail, when companies faced difficulties it affected their employees, which were our customers and so in turn affected us,” Mshvildadze said.
“In 2009 we completed work on all the three branches that we started in 2008. That increased our sales. In 2009 we fully implemented a SAP ERP system. SAP gives us a new push to development, improvements of the internal and external business-processes and reengineering the business processes in accordance to the best practice in order to make them as effective as possible.
In 2009 we introduced new gold and silver cards to our loyal customers. Now our customers will benefit from 15% and 10% discounts on all our products and services. We have already awarded more than 2,000 cards and are continuing its distribution. Our campaign gained huge popularity. At the end of 2009 card holders received special gifts.”
We are proud by having in the list of our partners EBRD. With the help of EBRD currently in the company there is running the Turn Around Management (TAM) program. TAM program in our company is focused on the substantial managerial and structural development in several directions – strategic management, MIS and reporting, logistics and warehousing and others.
Q. What are your plans in regards to occupying the markets of our neighbour countries?
A. We want to our export our business to Azeri and Armenian markets. We are already well known to auto dealers operating on those markets. They welcome our decision to implement our projects there. Some of our projects will be completed in 2010, some of them will extend to 2011. In order to implement all our projects the company will invest about 2-3 million USD.
Presently we are researching the markets in our neighbour countries and we are sure that this project will be successful. After Azerbaijan and Armenia we will move to Asian markets. Our strategic plans include building of a central store house of the Free Industrial Zone of Poti. We will distribute products from one point to all the countries in which we will be presented.
Q. What are the main advantages of your company that help you win the loyalty of your customers?
A. From the very beginning we were focused on quality. The slogan of our company is – It is time to choose quality. We are offering our customers products of high, middle and low prices, but we always give a guarantee of high quality. Presently Tegeta Motors is first of all associated with high quality. Our customers appraise the fact that they will never be deceived by our company.
Q. In 2009 you constructed 3 new service centres. The Vake district branch was one of the largest projects. Tell us, for when is its final completion planned and what is the volume that you invested in it?
A. We invested approximately 2 million USD in our new service centre in Vake. We expected that it would be a successful project but present results have over-exceeded our predictions. In two months time we will have fully finished the Vake service centre. By the decision to build a service centre in Vake we are allowing our customers that live in this district to save time. We will soon add a café; kid’s entertainment centre, WiFi internet and other services to this branch.
Q. At present most auto owners complain about the low quality service of mechanical engineers. Although Tegeta Motors is an exception. In your view, how can this problem be solved?
A. Our technical director observes all new employees during their first 2-3 months. How they satisfy the demands of our companies. We always hire workers for terms of probation. In case of dissatisfaction of our demands we fire them. We recruit our employees from abroad.
We sometimes face language barriers among the lower level of workers. In this case they are supported by our service managers. We recruit them in Ukraine and Germany. All our artisans have certificates. If you look at our car diagnostic centres you will find long lines queuing in front of them, the reason for that is the high level of our service. Of course they have corresponding salaries amounts. We pay huge attention to stimulating our employees with adequate salaries. Presently we are hiring about 570 employees.
Q. We know that Tegeta Motors is cooperating with a certain auto brand in order to become its exclusive dealer in Georgia. Please name the brand that you will soon be offering Georgian customers.
A. We are cooperating with the Japanese Mazda. Tegeta Motors will then become the exclusive representative of Mazda. We also hope that cooperation with us will be pleasant for them. Three months remain until the final agreement.
Q. What number of vehicles did you import in 2009 and what are your plans for 2010?
A. In 2009 we imported 32 vehicles. We plan to increase this figure to 50 in 2010. As for the English tractors JCB, we imported 46 and this figure is larger than it was in 2008.
Q. How would you evaluate the regions of Georgia in terms of developing your business in?
A. Auto trends in the regions are quickly transforming. Old Soviet cars are no longer in use. The citizens of Georgian regions are switching to European cars. Accordingly my estimation towards the Georgian regions is positive and I think it is time to present a service centre of high standards there too.