Major new developments are on the horizon for the future of production of Atlantis and Azimut Yachts in Italy. The international yacht market has changed radically in recent years. The Azimut Benetti Group has been conducting a due diligence investigation aimed at optimising productivity to maintain its leadership in the field. But even while improving efficiency, the Group intends to firmly defend its Italian roots
At a time when Italian companies are oriented towards delocalisation in order to stay competitive; when a lot of businesspeople are giving in and selling up to foreign investors; when the Chinese are buying Italian trademarks to add a touch of class to articles made in China – the Azimut|Benetti Group has decided to concentrate its production in Italy. The logic behind this strategy is defending the identity of yachts "Made in Italy" and reinforcing the Group’s roots in the land where its product is conceived, designed and built.
The choice has led to changes in the company’s organisation with the aim of maximising the efficiency of production while preserving a focus on human capital in order to compete on an increasingly global market. This means defending the product’s Italian identity and maximising efficiency by returning production of the three collections of entry level yachts sold under the Azimut Yachts trademark, currently made in Turkey, to Italy. It is also the reason for the decision to close the production site in Gropparello (PC), officially announced on October 29, 2012, as it can no longer compete on the global market.
The Group’s Chairman Paolo Vitelli says: “The yacht is an object of desire, a dream, a myth, and we want to sell this dream, this myth, made in Italy; but to do this, we must make our factories competitive and efficient to counteract the growth of production in emerging nations. The Germans have managed to do this in the automotive sector. We’re even better at it than they are, and we can do it too, if we want to. In order to implement this project going against the flow, our workers must capitalise on their pride, team spirit and sense of responsibility. To achieve our goal and increase productivity we need to reduce our structural costs, shorten the chain of command and, in the short term, eliminate a few positions which, however valid, are redundant in our organisation”.
Italy was the world’s leading maker of yachts of all sizes for years. The whole country, from north to south, along the Tyrrhenian and Adriatic coasts, is packed with centres of excellence where the present and future jewels of the Azimut|Benetti Group of various different types and sizes could be made.
“We want to strengthen our presence in Italy,” continues Paolo Casani, Managing Director of Azimut Yachts and Atlantis, “because we’re convinced that this is the path to success, but at the same time we need to choose the most efficient locations for production. Our industrial policy will demonstrate that the Italian yachting industry can be an unrivalled world leader again. But all stakeholders must accept their share of the responsibility. We have begun the process and we are confident that everyone will make a responsible contribution, including the trade unions, to complete the change as quickly as possible. We’re also sure that the highly qualified facilities and skilled workers present in many parts of the country will be of use in setting up our new productive structure for yachts from 30 to 80-90 feet with maximum efficiency. This is the logic behind the closure of the facility in Gropparello (PC), which can no longer maintain sufficient competitiveness on the world market, and the due diligence investigations we are conducting in all our productive facilities. The Atlantis brand is a priority for investment and plays a key role in the Azimut|Benetti Group’s overall strategy. Over the past few years important resources have been dedicated to rapid completion of the complete renewal of our range and repositioning of our new brand identity on the market. Investments in which we believed in the past, and in which we still believe today.”