Groupe Trigano

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  • Stéphane Gigou & François Feuillet

You recently handed over the reins of management of Trigano to Stéphane Gigou, did this all go as expected?

François Feuillet:Several years ago I announced my decision to leave my position as Chairman of the Management Board in 2020. Since this announcement, I had undertaken a lengthy search for the person with all necessary skills who would be an ideal choice to take over management of the Group and to guarantee sustainability of its business activities. The decision to recruit Stéphane Gigou was, consequently, well thought out.
I have taken the time to get to know Stéphane Gigou and appreciate his working methods when he was manager of Fiat Professional, the leading supplier of Trigano. He is a young man of just 48 years old who already has a wonderful career in the automobile industry behind him. Due to his contacts with the mobile home sector as a major supplier, he brings us excellent knowledge of our industry and the key players. As a result, I believe that we have made a hugely beneficial choice in appointing Stéphane Gigou to take over and continue guiding the company which I have been responsible for developing since 1981. Along with my family, I will continue to remain a majority shareholder in Trigano, and consequently be involved and stand alongside Stéphane Gigou in outlining the strategic guidelines and decisions to be taken.

Mr. Gigou, after several months with Trigano, could you please share your first impressions? Are you optimistic?

Stéphane Gigou: Trigano is a fantastic company which, in recent decades, has shown an exceptional level of growth. Its operations are lean, build around a solid core responsible for strategy and coordination of subsidiaries and, across the whole of Europe, local teams responsible for operations. These teams, who have advanced expertise in their market areas and regulations, have a wide-range of decision-making authority.

My arrival within the Group to take over from François Feuillet represents a generational change, and with it a whole new vision of the Group's future perspectives. I will use all of my expertise to improve the Group's performance as well as its development, and Trigano will continue to build freedom.
The motorhome sector has some solid foundations: freedom, savings and environmentally-friendly, further consolidated by the addition of being a safe and healthy method of travel as motorhomes allow you to reduce your physical contact and move around as if you were at home. We have seen a surge in the popularity of motorhomes across all markets in Europe following the first wave of coronavirus which has continued since Trigano is sold out in the vast majority of its brands. We will need to find solutions to produce more whilst maintaining a high level of product quality.

You indicated that orders had recorded a sharp rise, are you seeing your customer base change?

François Feuillet: During the 1st lockdown, in March 2020, the profession began to ask a lot of questions as to the future of motorhomes which continue to be a consumer discretionary item which is non-essential. Distribution networks and constructors were fearful of having to face up to high stock levels. The resumption of activities was far from guaranteed and so as to ensure we put everything in place to succeed, the unions of leisure vehicle constructors from various European countries launched hard-hitting advertising campaigns. Across the whole of Europe, we saw a massive, and totally-unexpected surge in the popularity of motorhomes. Within this flow of clients, we have noticed a large proportion are not trading in second-hand vehicles with distributors. These are, therefore, new clients. This expansion of our customer base is moving towards our traditional ranges, as well as converted vans which have seen a significant growth in sales for several years.

Stéphane Gigou: We are also seeing our traditional customers who, during the first lockdown, were unable to renew their vehicles. These traditional clients will return to dealers in the coming months. We are seeing a favourable development of demographics, in particular in Germany, but also in France, the United Kingdom, Spain and Italy. In the coming five years, our populations will see a peak in the 55/60 year old age brackets, which corresponds to the average age for a first motorhome purchase in Europe. The perspectives and fundamentals of motorhomes are coming out of this health crisis stronger than ever.

Can you provide an update on your current production capacities?

Stéphane Gigou: Our orders are at historic levels and we have opened two new factories, one in Italy which will, over a full year, provide capacity for 4,400 vans as well as a van factory in Spain, albeit on a smaller scale. Of course, our van and converted van factories will gradually increase in capacities, but this also concerns other factories which are already at full capacity. In each of them. we will increase capacities day on day, by increasing working hours, hiring new staff, training and adapting our manufacturing methods so as to reduce the take time and meet demand whilst continuing to maintain a high level of product quality. This increased capacity will be gradual and only require minimal investments. The Trigano subsidiaries will remain attentive to the developments in European markets and strive to adapt their production capacities accordingly.

Are you considering making the most of this massive surge in demand to increase prices and improve profits?

François Feuillet: All orders have already been placed for the 2020/2021 season and we will deliver at current prices.
We will substantially improve our profits thanks to the increase in production volumes which will enable better amortization of our fixed overheads. Of course, the considerable efforts made by the men and women working for Trigano will also lead to improved productivity, better product quality and reduced costs and, as a result, improved profits.

With your level of cashflow at year end, are you considering any external growth operations?

Stéphane Gigou: External growth is something we are considering; we took over Adria in late 2017 and have taken some time to integrate this Slovenian group into Trigano and, recently, we resumed with external growth activities with some smaller-scale operations. Trigano is today more than capable of grasping horizontal and vertical growth opportunities available in all motorhome, recreational vehicle accessory and trailer markets.

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