Eddy Haesendonck (BMW Belgium): ‘Time to get out of our comfort zone’
Eddy Haesendonck is since one year CEO of the BMW/Mini importation in Belgium and Luxembourg. As a manager he tries to integrate the important changes in the car business in his company. “It’s time for everyone to get out of his comfort zone.”
For practically four years Haesendonck was sales director at BMW, now he’s CEO. That implies some changes. “We want to have a certain impact on the premium market in Belgium. To do that you need a good organization and strong management.”
“I promoted people from inside the company and attracted new blood from outside. We need new ideas, fresh thinking. Everyone has to come out of its comfort zone.”
You described modern management as ‘more human’. What do you mean by that?
“You have to set an example. BMW gives you the chances to grow, you have to go with it. Everything is important in this context. Not only working together, but also eating or sporting together.”
Sales of BMW dropped 5% in Belgium last year. Competitor Mercedes wants to take the place of market leader next year.
“A bunch of competitors fought already for market share in 2018 and they did it with big rebates. We had to follow but in the end the premium customer wants a premium product. We will come with a technological raid to counter the opposition.”
Are you ready for the electrification battle? Audi has already its e-tron, Mercedes its EQC.
“BMW had its first electric car in 2013 (the i3) and 700 companies test our electric cars. In 2018 already one out of ten cars sold was electrified. Half of our new X5 sales are plug-in hybrids. By 2025 BMW will have 25 electrified models.”
Meanwhile the company car, very important for BMW sales in Belgium, gets under pressure.
“We have to change our attitude and role. More and more we become advisers in mobility. We try to convert our sales people at the dealers into mobility managers. Offering only a car is passé. We analyze the mobility needs of our customer companies and come with solutions.”
“Those can be multi-modal. A combination of train, bike, car. The needs of the customers are key, not the models we offer and try to sell.”