ABC: So will you make regular visits around our Asia-Pacific region to check out how things are going, or will you be mostly office based in Spain? How often do you get to visit our region and Irizar customers here?
RS: As you know, I used to go once every year to Australia and I want to keep doing it. Australia is a very important market for us. We invested a lot in 2013 to open our own subsidiary here and now we have a great team in the region to support our customers. We learnt a lot from our experience in Australia and we will keep developing the requested solutions to improve the satisfaction of our customers. Our brand image is now very positive and that could be checked in our current market share in the coach market (leaders since June 2017).
ABC: Does Irizar have any cool double-decker product that we should know about. Would Irizar ever offer such here in our region?
Irizar stopped the production of double-deckers as we believe the market no longer accommodates this kind of vehicle, due to restrictions in safety, weights, emissions levels and fuel economy.
ABC: What’s your most popular seller even still today?
Currently our Irizar i6S is the highest selling model globally, although our Irizar i8, awarded Coach of the Year in 2017, is still a state-of-the-art coach. They represent our future investment in technology, reinforcing our brand and sustainability.
ABC: What is it that you, as a person, uniquely bring to this role? What is it that makes you different that will help make you a great CEO for Irizar? What are your best business qualities?
RS: I think that question would be better if directed to the people who offered me the position! However, I must say that I love mobility and my passion became my job, and that makes it easier to work in a very changing environment. I will put all my energy to support all of our customers, collaborators and Irizar employees. Irizar will continue along the path of growth in the future, investing in the values that give strength to our brand.
ABC: What is it that you love about buses? Was it something that, like many of us in the industry, you fell into, or – also like many others – was it just something you were basically born into?
RS: What I love about buses is that they are a natural solution to improve people’s quality of life and a key resource to reduce traffic and pollution in the cities. We need to find a way to show that the bus industry (even collaborating among all of us) could be a key partner to improve the way the countries are being developed.
I am always focused on that: customer experience.
ABC: Thanks so much for your time, Rafael. A great chat and congratulations again on your new job. Do you have any final words for Irizar fans back in Australia and New Zealand?
RS: Irizar considers Australia and New Zealand key markets for our group. We will keep investing in new solutions and trying to get into new segments in the future.
Autonomous buses are being developed by Irizar as, in the future, we believe it will be a must in certain applications.
and Irizar Group is moving forward to be prepared for these new challenges.
Above: Sterling says that buses are a natural solution to improve traffic and pollution issues in cities.