Álvaro Sedano SUR
Álvaro Sedano: '20% of the cars sold in Spain will be Asian by 2032'

Álvaro Sedano: '20% of the cars sold in Spain will be Asian by 2032'

The motors expert from Malaga joins the Carmei dealership group as manager

Antonio Contreras

Thursday, 28 March 2024


He is only 39 years old, but his track record in the business world makes him the perfect candidate to take over the management of Carmei, the dealership company belonging to the Mei Group. With a degree in business administration and a master's in management from IE Business School, Sedano has worked in recent years as CEO of the Latin American Grupo Fidalga from 2013 to 2021. He has worked the past two years as CEO of the Carsbarter app. In addition to this, Sedano has travelled much of the world while undertaking various entrepreneurial projects. Now, he returns to Malaga, to his homeland and is most excited about "working on a Malaga project, with Andalusian talent and to showcase Malaga to the rest of the country".

Francisco Guillén, one of the three founding partners of the Mei Group back in 2015, said: "We started out as a small dealership of just 200 square metres here in Malaga with just one brand. Now we are present in five provinces and have five brands. To continue to grow and maintain this size, we need top management. This is where Álvaro comes into play, a strong, well-trained person who can dedicate himself fully to Carmei's continued grow."

You join a company that has been growing exponentially since its emergence; does that come with a sense of vertigo?

From the outside it may seem like a lot in a short period of time, but if you know the basis of the group and see where it comes from, you can understand why it is growing so fast. Practically all the profits are reinvested back into the company. Not vertigo, what it gives me is excitement, and the desire for this growth to be a little more next year, and the year after.

What are your objectives at the helm of Carmei?

What makes me most excited, after spending my whole professional life abroad, is to be able to work on a Malaga project, with Andalusian talent and to showcase Malaga to the rest of the country. We Malaga people know how to do things very well and this company is a clear example of that. We have, of course, a plan of objectives to carry out this year, ranging from development in other cities in Andalucía to the expansion of our main facilities here in Malaga, as well as the creation of a B2B mobility service for companies.

We currently have five makes: DFSK, Seres, SWM, Invicta and a very interesting project we are developing in collaboration with Silence. This is a motorbike manufacturer that has partnered with Acciona Mobility. Together with them, we are going to carry out a motorbike sharing project in Malaga, a model that works very well in many cities in Spain, such as Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Seville. The firm has chosen us to take charge of the development of its line of business in Malaga province. I am very excited to take on this new responsibility that has been entrusted to me. I also have a magnificent team, with people from business schools here in Malaga. We are also finalising agreements to include new brands in our dealerships, although we cannot yet reveal which ones.

Not even its provenance?

Asia. According to our estimates, in five years' time, 20% of the makes sold in Spain will be Asian. We want to be at the forefront, representing these brands within our group, because logically we want to play a leading role in the automotive market.

You could say that we are looking at a medium-term commitment to these manufacturers.

This is now a reality.

But it is true that right now these makes are not very popular. Many of them are unknown even to ordinary people, so aren't you afraid that they won't be able to gain traction? 

No, they are simply makes that have just entered our market. The important thing is that it is a good product, of the highest quality. It is about making customers aware of the brand and, above all, getting them to try it out and test it for themselves. Price-quality makes are very competitive. In fact, we are negotiating with many institutions and companies, because once they see the benefits it offers, it catches on.

Incipient makes in our market, for example MG, have had deep problems with after-sales service for issues such as the supply of spare parts. Do you have this kind of details under control?

MG is a clear success story in the market. It has shown that Asian brands have a place in our market. And then it is a case that, indeed, has had certain problems in after-sales. But it is also true that it is a success story, it has had a brutal volume of sales in a very short time. And sometimes that makes things like this happen, something that could have happened to any company. We don't have that problem, you can look at our reviews and you'll see that we don't suffer from delays in workshops, for example. We are prepared to increase sales to a strong volume without the need to compromise on the other aspects of buying a vehicle, such as after-sales service.

Does Malaga aim to become an economic powerhouse and one of the economic epicentres on the national scene? Do you think that this growth will be driven by your companies?

In Malaga we are fortunate to be an oasis right now as far as Spain is concerned. It is true that some cities are beginning to notice a slowdown in growth, but not a recession. But there are still many years to go before that happens in Malaga. We are part of this growth and we want to keep it that way, although today, we are established in many other places nationwide.

Do you think current vehicle prices are a problem?

In terms of pricing, we have some of the most competitive models on the market. I think it's about matching the needs of each customer to their purchasing power. In the old days, we had the car that could do everything. Nowadays, with the proliferation of hybrid, plug-in and 100% electric vehicles with different ranges, we have to find the vehicle that meets the needs of each individual.

It's about having a portfolio that can cover every segment of purchasing power for the end customer. I always like to differentiate between an expensive car because the price in relation to what you take home is not commensurate. And a generous expensive car, those that you are paying a high price, but because it is really worth it.

Do you have confidence in the electric vehicle as a future mobility model?

Of course. Look, a combustion vehicle has an average of 15,000 parts, while an electric vehicle has an average of two and a half thousand. In terms of efficiency the numbers are also much better in the electric car. While the combustion vehicle offers an energy efficiency of around 32%, an electric vehicle has an energy efficiency of 99%. It is a question of numbers. And not only that, we are in Spain, the country with the most hours of sunshine in Europe.

However, Spain's capacity for electric vehicles is far below the European average.

Yes, but this is more a regulatory policy issue. Governments are now starting to give it the prominence it deserves because it is, let's say, the mobility of the 21st century. It is a question of people trying them out and generating a word-of-mouth effect. First there are, so to speak, the innovators who try out the technology. Then come the followers, who are the people who see that this technology already meets their needs. There is no doubt that the electric car will be the mobility of this century.

Speaking of electric cars, what kind of car do you drive?

You have to defend the colours of the house. Right now I'm driving a Seres 5, a 100% electric car with a range of 585 kilometres, which is really amazing. The truth is that I'm a firm believer in electric cars.

I imagine that, being in this line of work, you must have a certain fondness for the motor world.

Without a doubt, my passion has always been the world of motors. As a sport I have had the opportunity to compete for many years and in different formats and I have also collaborated with different media.

I am very excited about this project, as it not only allows me to put into practice my knowledge as a graduate, but also allows me to create a synergy between my profession and my passion, which is the automotive industry. In Carmei, both aspects converge in a project that, besides being exciting and motivating, allows me to enjoy my work, because I like what I do.

What about your dream car?

I am a classic, a romantic. For me, my dream car is still combustion, a Prancing Horse. But that's a work of art to have at home and admire, not as a good mobility solution.

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