You’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t like new cars: Sleek lines, roaring engines, that new car smell – they all elicit an almost childlike wonder for modern-day models. And the latest features in the cars are often mesmerizing elements that one-up the previous year’s model.
That’s why automakers host elaborate launch events: to introduce their staff and the rest of the world to the latest car models and series. Getting the cars to the venues, however, isn’t always a smooth ride.
Transporting vehicles thousands of kilometers across international borders can be almost as challenging as the overall logistics of the event, the complexities of which are myriad: deadlines for receiving the cars; legal considerations in each country the cars must pass through; and troubleshooting, to name a few.
Companies often need to hire several logistics firms that speak many languages in order to handle these and other logistics tasks associated with long-distance shipping, customs and tax clearance of exclusive vehicles to events on time and undamaged. In addition, often only a few test models exist at this stage and the cars must travel surreptitiously so that they remain concealed from the public and competition.
Indeed, different modes of transport, such as trucking, short-sea shipping or even truck towing, are necessary to reach nearby and even difficult locations from the Canary or Balearic Islands, to the city centres of Berlin or Barcelona. By outsourcing these activities, automakers can redirect their time and resources to the event itself.
Case in point: Mercedes-Benz needed to deliver more than 300 cars from its factories in Germany to Portugal for 15,000 sales people from 89 countries attending the Mercedes Benz Global Training Experience. The German car manufacturer’s worldwide sales force was to be trained on these models at this critical event.
“I prefer to use just one logistics company,” says Joachim Grässle, Mercedes-Benz Global Training.
“Dealing with four or five companies only increases the possibility that something will go wrong, because the job becomes much more complicated. Having one logistics provider with a good infrastructure and staff to deal with any unexpected problems we might encounter works best.”
The Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics offices in Europe were tasked with negotiating all of the logistical hurdles. The team used 44 trucks to transport the complete fleet for the event from Stuttgart to Faro and back.
“For Mercedes and for most other auto manufacturers, press campaigns and dealer events are vital affairs that raise awareness for arrival of new car models,” he says. “When you’re doing an event in Faro or in any other part of the world, there’s only once chance to get the cars in place so that means that everyone has to be briefed and the operation has to move like clock-work.”
Training days – Mercedes-Benz Global Training Experience, Faro, Portugal
The Mercedes Benz Global Training department chose Southern Portugal as the venue for the Global Training Experience 2014. In an exclusive area close to Faro, Portugal, the Mercedes event hosted more than 15,000 participants from 89 countries. Participants from the manufacturer’s worldwide sales organization were trained on new models such as the Mercedes Benz C-Class, GLK-Class and V-Class. WWL Ibérica used 44 trucks to deliver the fleet of vehicles from Stuttgart, Germany to Faro, Portugal and back.
“You need a logistics company that has the muscle and brains to get the job done without any complications,” says Joachim Grässle, the Mercedes-Benz representative handling the event.
Touring Germany – BMW 2 series Active Tourer Roadshow, Germany, by Department of Style
During September and October 2014, auto-manufacturer BMW conducted a roadshow in 10 German cities in order to present its new model BMW 2series Active Tourer to the market. In cooperation with Europe’s leading event agencies, Avantgarde - Gesellschaft für Kommunikation mbH., and Germany-based car logistic agency, Department of Style, WWL developed and carried out the transportation concept for this roadshow. A total of 35 WWL trucks were used to transport the cars between the cities.
“To make the show work, it is critical to use a company with depth of logistics experience and who solves complicated problems,” says Mark Blum, Director of Department of Style. “Being always on time with no damages makes a huge difference.”
Clever driving – Smart Forfour & Smart Fortwo, press event, Barcelona, Spain
German auto manufacturer Daimler invited international journalists to Barcelona, Spain to present its new models Smart Forfour and Smart Fortwo during a two-day-event program featuring test drives and activities. WWL managed the logistics and transportation of 106 Smart cars from Stuttgart to Barcelona and back.
Porsche Macan dealer event, Barcelona
Porsche’s worldwide dealer event took place in Barcelona. During a two-day-event, participants were able to experience the new Porsche Macan. WWL Ibérica handled the transportation of new Macans (for test driving), Porsche 911s (for the Porsche Driving School) and Porsche shuttle cars for the staff, for the round trip from Stuttgart to Barcelona.
When working within Europe, proper communication requires a staff that can speak many languages, including German, French, Portuguese and English. WWL’s team speaks 15 European languages, which helps in a variety of tasks including communicating with drivers and customers, local authorities and acting as translators between the customer, local agencies and any other employees onsite.