In Avigliana, just outside of Turin in northern Italy, some of the world’s most luxurious boats are being built. Giovanna Vitelli is the owner of Azimut Yachts, a company founded in the 1960s.
“We are a product-based company with innovation in our DNA. Our daily goal is the continuous improvement of our boats, achieved by on-going research into new desires and market trends,” she says.
With a shared focus on product innovation, Azimut and Volvo Penta have been working partners for many years. Central to this partnership is Volvo Penta’s unique Inboard Performance System, IPS. Several years ago, Azimut decided to invest in IPS for an entirely new model, the 55S, which became an important milestone in the two companies’ cooperation.
“As a product innovator, we have to be ahead of the market and this role is far from risk-free. Our bet on Volvo Penta and IPS was brave,” says Giovanna Vitelli.
Azimuts boats are sold all over the world, but the largest customers are in the US. There the boat market is dominated by MarineMax, one of the country’s biggest retailers of leisure boats. For Azimut, it was crucial that MarineMax accepted its choice of Volvo Penta and IPS.
“It was not just a matter of convincing MarineMax of the benefits of IPS, the most important thing was to show how we can support with spare parts and service,” says Johan Wästeräng, Vice President Product Management Marine at Volvo Penta.
Success depended on close cooperation between many different departments and regions within Volvo Penta. Marcia Kull, Vice President Marine Sales North America, was among those who played an important role. She met with Azimut and MarineMax representatives early in the process to answer questions about service and support. At the same time, Marcia Kull and her colleagues initiated different training activities with MarineMax.
“We needed to get the salespeople to understand the IPS system, how it works and its overall value. We also needed to demonstrate to MarineMax that we value easy boating and exceptional customer experiences as much as they do,” says Marcia Kull.
Giovanna Vitelli at Azimut is very happy with the good collaboration between Volvo Penta and MarineMax, which has been strategic for sales growth in the US.
“Through a proactive approach and excellent coordination, the new products launched have been extremely successful,” she says.