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Durisotti, confidence regained

01 Jul 2020 | Front page, Mobility, A region on the move

One year on, what benefit has Durisotti derived from its takeover by the British GFG Alliance? And what effect has Covid had on the newly acquired company?

GFG Alliance’s acquisition of Durisotti, renewed sustainability

March 2019: British group GFG Alliance acquires car converter Durisotti (Sallaumines, Hauts-de-France).

One year on we take stock with Philippe Baudon, Director General of Liberty Europe, and Jean-Claude Morel, Head of Special Sales and Key Public Accounts at Durisotti.

What measures were implemented at Durisotti following its takeover by GFG Alliance?

The priority at the time of the Durisotti takeover was to strengthen the teams (purchasing, quality and accreditation, industrial management, etc).

We also started to develop interesting synergies with other group entities, particularly in the management and purchasing functions.

Finally, it enabled Durisotti to make new contacts, both in France and elsewhere, from which new opportunities may arise.

But the main benefit from the takeover is the renewed confidence from our partners and the company’s visibility in the automotive market.

Thanks to this acquisition by a large international group, Durisotti is once more perceived as a reliable and long-lasting company.

Both by our public sector (ministries) and by our private sector partners (car manufacturers, in particular Renault and PSA, rental companies, etc).

It has also enabled us to renew ties with manufacturers such as Volkswagen and Ford, with whom we are not yet working.

And to secure contracts that we would not have been able to a few months earlier with our own clients.

Barely a year after the takeover, the Covid crisis has hit the automotive sector hard. What have the consequences been for Durisotti?

The plant had to be closed completely during the lockdown for three reasons:

  • To protect our employees
  • Supply chain shut down
  • Our clients’ closure

Activity resumed on 11 May with the necessary protective and distancing measures in place.

All the measures implemented since Durisotti’s takeover in 2019 have had a positive impact and allowed us to weather this crisis period better.

Thanks to the open dialogue with employees and the good social climate that prevails within the company, recovery has been smooth and gradual.

Today we are back to 2/3 of our workforce and we hope that operations will increase more so that we make a full recovery.

At today’s date, we have not seen any orders cancelled.

The company’s new found sustainability and the strong image that it projects are bearing fruit even during these difficult times.

How do you see yourselves in this post COVID world?

Clearly, the crisis will bring about new ways of living and new consumption patterns.

We are trying to take advantage of this unprecedented situation.

Durisotti’s newfound health allows us to seize new opportunities that may present themselves.

The first, most concrete, example is the social distancing and health protective measures.

To meet this need inside vehicles, we have created a separation kit with a protective screen between the driver and his passengers (front and rear) as well as between the driver and the front right side passenger(s).

These velcro screens are easy to put up and have been really successful.

More generally, we need to look at the sector of the market that is growing rapidly and which will continue to develop: electric vehicles.

Although it will not make much difference to us in terms of our experience in vehicle fitting, this sector could represent new opportunities.

Lastly, there may be an increase in the manufacture of ‘medical’ vehicles (such as laboratory cars) which require specific fitting that we have experience of at Durisotti.

Durisotti, rare know-how

Created in 1956, Durisotti is an automotive company specialising in the conversion and fitting of light commercial vehicles (up to 3.5 tonnes).

The company’s aim is to enable its partners (mainly manufacturers and leasing companies) to broaden their product range.

Main branches of activity:

  • Manufacturer sub-contracting (mainly for Renault et PSA): producing vehicle fitting kits (for example: large volume bodies, deeper driver cabins, etc)
  • Special sales: designing and producing medium and large series of fittings for specific requirements (police and gendarmerie vehicles, prison vans, vehicles for the disabled, cutting out the front right door to enable passing over the crash barriers for motorway vehicles, etc)
  • Medium and large series for key private sector accounts: rental companies and insurers, construction companies (such as Vinci and Eiffage), etc.

Highly versatile, the group has around forty trades (plastics, saddlery, turning, bodywork, etc) which have enabled it to diversify over the years.

When there are specific requirements, Durisotti knows how to adapt and to offer concrete and innovative solutions to its customers, in particular due to its design office.

The Durisotti group has four sites in France:

  • Sallaumines (Hauts-de-France)
  • Agen (South West)
  • Durisotti Metz and Durisotti Lorraine

The Sallaumines site, the group’s parent company, covers 18 hectares.

It has 190 employees and an annual production of 18,500 vehicles.

Find out more about the automotive sector in Hauts-de-France

You might also be interested in these articles:

Liberty takes over French vehicle converter 

Toyota at the heart of France’s number one automotive region 

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