Wayne Griffiths, the Bowie of cars

Wayne Griffiths, the Bowie of cars


Wayne Griffiths has been Seat’s CEO since October 1, 2020. He defines himself as a rebel with two causes, namely the expansion of Cupra, Seat’s sports brand and the latter’s digital transformation towards electric vehicles. In this sense, this Englishman, but avowed European, got a German passport after his dissatisfaction with Brexit, he explains that he is authentic in his management of this transformation because “I don’t just tell you what’s good, I tell you what it is. If there are challenges such as bringing the electric car to Martorell, which requires fewer hours of work. This is the case and the staff must be asked to look for alternatives. Be transparent”.

So I’m excited David Bowie “I’m following the maxim of one of his most famous phrases, which I used on my 50th birthday: ‘I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring here, but I promise me.’ won’t be boring.) I’m struck by his desire to keep reinventing himself, and another aspect I loved was that he didn’t care if people liked him or not. He didn’t sing for everyone, and he always was authentic are the things I try to do CupBeing authentic is very important.”

Griffiths has a passion for British singer David Bowie.

explain what it is Independently. “I have no one to tell me how to dress. If they tell me not to wear that, I’ll wear it.” When he presented Cupra four years ago at the Terramar, the mythical oval course of the early 20th century, “I appeared in a leather jacket, like me wear now, although this is already from the Cupra brand. Most of the participants wore a jacket and even a tie. If I’m not authentic, Cupra will not be authentic.”

The key to authenticity

This is a disruption to a business like the Volkswagen Group based in Wolfsburg, Germany. When asked how the “board of directors” sees this, this courageous man replies with “I don’t know how they see it in Wolfsburg, but I think the company’s major shareholders see it with good eyes.” The Piech and Porsche families were present at the event where Cupra presented its strategy for the next three years in front of 600 guests. Hans Michel Piech, CEO of Porsche AG, and his son Stephan Piech, who sits on the board of Seat, and Marc Porsche, who is also on the board. “If top representatives from the Spanish government and various autonomous communities also participate, we are on the right track.”

Seat's CEO insists on doing things that make a difference.

Seat’s CEO insists on doing things that make a difference.

That’s why he can cause envy among his fellow leaders in Wolfsburg. “I don’t know if I’m the one you’re looking for, the truth is we don’t want to be a premium brand or a generalist. We are the only Volkswagen Group brand that is new and contemporary. Everyone else.” from Porsche to Skoda are fantastic brands with a tradition that we don’t have. We’re the only brand in the group that can really keep up with the new brands coming out of China and the USA want something different than the cars or brands that their parents and grandparents buy. They want brands that don’t show they’re rich, but that show their values ​​of both rationality, sustainability and recycling, as well as their passion to enjoy, have fun have their emotions. And we hit that nerve with Cupra.”

Wayne Griffiths has been working for 35 years

Wayne Griffiths has been in the automotive industry for 35 years.

Does Seat’s CEO enjoy his job?

When asked if he enjoys his job, he replies: “I’ve worked in the automotive industry for 35 years since I switched to Audi in 1987 and joined the Volkswagen Group, but I’ve also spent my whole life being involved in the automotive industry gnaw automobile Because my father had car dealerships and I washed the cars, then repaired them and sold them, my world is connected to the car. If you have the opportunity in your career to launch a new brand, as happened to me… How many CEOs have the opportunity to do that? There are many that can save a business, grow it, or expand it…but it doesn’t create a brand. It’s a huge challenge. And even more to do it in Spain, which is much more complicated”.

Wayne Griffiths.

Wayne Griffiths.

That’s why he insists that “if you do another brand, do it because it will be you different. Creating another generalist brand is difficult because there are many and very good ones: Toyota, Seat, the Koreans, the French, there are many. You can’t create a premium brand if there are three great brands like Audi, BMW or Mercedes in Germany. The world is looking for something different and not just to tease grandparents or parents but because of the values ​​that this new brand they are buying or driving must have. Look at the young people’s clothes, they are different but not cheap. You are not looking for a regular leather jacket that is some neoprene or an alternative to leather, check out what Ecoalf is doing for example. The world needs new brands and shares these values ​​that young people have and new brands will come out for this new generation.

Cupra takes the basis of the Volkswagen models and gives them a differentiated and innovative touch.

Cupra takes the basis of the Volkswagen models and gives them a differentiated and innovative touch.

This new brands They will not clash with the traditional ones. “The German press asks me if we are Audi’s competitors because we build dynamic cars with one sports design but our customers are a younger generation. Our purpose as a brand is very different. We have no obligation. If Jorge (Jorge Dez is the chief designer of seat and cupra) makes a car that old people like me like, I tell him we’re going to build that car. It has to be a provocative car. That’s what happened to us with the Formentor. Many people have told us that you cannot take out this model because it is overdone, it is too daring. You have to build cars that not everyone likes; but the Formentor was a success”.

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