To sell cars in shopping malls, to surpass historical brands such as Opel or Alfa Romeo. From the risk of bankruptcy in 2012, to a turnover that could reach 400 million euros in 2022. The protagonist of this climb? DR Automobiles of Macchia d’Isernia, a town in Molise with just over a thousand inhabitants. These numbers would be enough to talk about “Phenomenon DR” but the company led by Massimo di Risio is continuing to overcome a series of unimaginable goals until a few ago, as underlined by the almost 2,600 registrations obtained in September that bring the Molise manufacturer closer to the 4% of the market. In addition to marking the sales record in the history of DR (the precise data will be communicated this Friday, due to a delay in the DMV systems), the 2,600 contracts in September become even more significant when compared to the 788 registrations obtained in the same period of the 2021 or 489 in 2020. Numbers in continuous growth also for turnover, which went from 57 million in 2019, 27 in 2020, 136 in 2021 and about 400 estimated in 2022.
The secret of success
The secret of this success is the result of a series of factors, starting with the availability of the cars. Because today the main difficulty encountered by customers is linked to the lack of product, with delivery times on average over 6 months and with peaks that can exceed 365 days. On the contrary, the DR network is able to guarantee times between 20 and 40 days, thus conquering customers who have to change the car quickly. To this is added one of the most “economical” ranges on the market, allowing a large slice of motorists to make a leap in category, passing for example from a compact to an SUV, and offering LPG engines on all models for sale thanks to the collaboration with Brc.
The axis with the Chinese
In a market scenario where large groups such as Stellantis or Volkswagen are unable to deliver cars due to a lack of chips and materials in general, the question arises as to how a small Molise company can count on cars in stock and on a range. in continuous growth. The answer lies in the close collaboration with Chinese manufacturers, the real strength of DR. Because Di Risio’s intuition was, and is, that of importing cars from China and adapting them in terms of aesthetics and content to Italian and European tastes. The partnership with brands such as Chery, for 18 years in first place among Chinese brands in terms of exports, and Jac Motor is ensuring the Molise brand a strategic advantage on delivery times.
Currently the main production plant from which the DR and Evo brand models come out, employs a total of 400 people and has a production of 3,000 units per month with a maximum capacity of 5,000. To this is added a second production plant dedicated to the new Sportequipe and ICKX brands. Overall, the surface of DR Automobiles Groupe is approximately 200,000 square meters. To these are added the 250 assistance centers scattered throughout Italy, able to ensure spare parts in a maximum of 48 hours thanks to the new automated warehouse created to meet the needs of the service.
Of course, as often happens especially among start-ups, DR’s path over the years has been arduous and complex since its foundation in 2006. If the first years were characterized by daring commercial enterprises but capable of bringing results and making know the brand to the general public, starting with the sale in shopping centers, the following years will be remembered for the attempted purchase of the former Fiat plant in Termini Imerese between 2012 and 2013 and the related request for an arrangement with creditors to overcome one of the darkest periods of the Molise company.