Mak, a thirty year long story
According to Gualtiero Cervati, one of the founding partners, the strength behind the Brescia-based company's lies in design and ability to innovate
Mak is celebrating its thirtieth anniversary and decided to do so by introducing two new wheels: the 23-inch Speciale and Electra. Founded in 1991, the Brescia-based wheel manufacturer has quickly become one of the most important European automotive aftermarket companies, exporting its products to 52 countries in Europe and Asia. This allowed the 50 million euro per year Group to continue investing in innovation and design and to maintain a consistent level of growth. Thirty years on from that first wheel, Mak takes stock of its activities and outlines its business strategies for the future. We spoke about this with Gualtiero Cervati, one of the founding partner.
How did the idea of creating a wheel company come about?
"We had the idea back in 1990 when two leading companies, both based around Brescia, met. One worked in the field of metal casting and aluminium processing in particular (Fonderie Cervati) while the other was already active in the automotive sector and leader in the field of tire distribution (Magri Gomme/Yokohama)”.
As a Group, when did you start getting a return on your investment?
"The first few years were rather delicate. In fact, finding the right positioning in a consolidated market was far from easy, considering the presence of long-standing and well-structured competitors. The key was to focus firmly on the Mak brand, creating a precise identity based on original design, attention to detail and reliable after-sales service.
Mak wheels are greatly appreciated by many motorists. How important is the aesthetic factor in terms of sales?
"We can say that design is fundamental and it is a peculiar feature of our company that avails itself of the continuous collaboration, integrated with our technical department, of three industrial designers. Mak coined the "Dedicated" wheel concept in tune with the distinctive stylistic features of some of the premium car brands, offering products with high construction quality, often anticipating trends".
In addition to style, behind the creation of a quality alloy wheel there is a lot of research work. What does the design and development phase consist of?
"The research, design and development phases of our wheels are carried out entirely in Italy, even for the wheels produced abroad; there are five engineers in these divisions; Mak boasts a fully automated foundry in line with recent Industry 4.0 protocols - with integrated remote control of all data. Choosing Mak means relying on a top-quality manufacturer that combines innovation, design, style and functionality."
Digitization is a crucial element for both internal processes and relationships with customers and suppliers. What innovative elements have you introduced?
"Digitization is the characterizing element of this historical moment, we have invested in a B2B platform from which our customers can place orders 24-7 and we have integrated our warehouse flows with that of our partners. In addition, in recent years we have activated a system that guarantees deliveries throughout Europe within 72 hours from the order. All these improvements have been facilitated by the advent of new digital technologies".
Today you are celebrating your 30th anniversary despite the difficulties caused by the Covid-19 emergency. How are you coping with this situation?
"In recent months we have been experiencing a delicate situation, one that we hoped we would not have to face again after the deep wounds the pandemic caused in people and markets close to us. We are facing this situation with firm trust and conviction in the resilience and the ability of people and organizations to cope with stressful events, trusting that as soon as we emerge from this predicament, we can go back to focus on growing. However, we are pleased with how we closed year 2020, having recovered much of what we had lost during the 2 months of forced production shutdown in the spring."
What are the plans for the future?
"Looking to the future for Mak means investing in the core business and in complementary products. As far as alloy wheels are concerned, we are working to meet new market trends; in fact, we have created a dedicated line, in terms of both technology and design, to equip hybrid and electric cars. Similarly, we continue our activity of designing large size wheels dedicated to supercars. In fact, for the thirtieth anniversary, we decided to produce a Special 23-inch wheel, the ideal solution for the needs of drivers of top premium brands such as Lamborghini, Aston Martin and Porsche with the Super SUV Urus, Dbx and Cayenne coupé. In terms of complementary products, we have added the Npk line: a range of spare wheels that are compatible with cars in circulation, while in terms of production processes, the company will shortly be installing an ultra-modern painting plant, in line with the Industry 4.0 requirements".