2010 : Thanks to a rapid response to the crisis, business at the Pilote Group began to pick up again.
Pilote adapted its production and product development. The company integrated a large proportion of its subcontracting and began to produce to order. Stock was no longer produced. This gave Pilote greater flexibility and made it easier to respond to customer requirements. Customers could choose their layout based on three different equipment classes depending on their budget.
Since the 2010 ranges were viewed positively by both the networks and the public, Pilote received a very high level of orders, particularly at the top European trade fairs with record orders placed at the Le Bourget trade fair.
Following a 50% decline in business over the 2008/2009 financial year, Pilote forecast a recovery of 30% for 2009/2010. The Group pulled through before its competitors and began to recruit temporary staff again.
Opening of the MSC :
The Pilote Group technical centre opened for business in La Membrolle-sur-Longuénée under the name MSC (Motorhome Service Center). The centre offered excellent facilities for handling customers and their motorhomes while providing ideal conditions in terms of customer care, logistics and technical efficiency. It is also used as a venue for technical training sessions provided to the network.
FRANKIA CELEBRATES ITS 50TH ANNIVERSARY
The global economic crisis did not spare Frankia. Although sales slumped, none of its 154 employees were laid off. Frankia celebrated its 50th anniversary with dignity on French soil.
180 loyal German team members made the trip to Pornic on the Atlantic coast, via the Champagne region and the Loire Valley chateaux, to celebrate 50 years of Frankia with dignity.
After two years of crisis, manufacturers returned to growth and could smile once again. Pilote made products the focus of its development strategy and offered innovative solutions to set it apart from the competition.
By the end of the 45th Le Bourget trade fair, manufacturers were smiling. After two consecutive years of decline, demand picked up again. The major French companies in the sector were back on course for growth by 2010. They devised doubly ingenious solutions to offer innovative vehicles suitable for the needs all holidaymakers through their various brands. Pilote was no exception and focused its efforts on products. The company adopted the principle that if a vehicle looks good and customers like it, it is sure to sell.
Pilote expands its heavyweight portfolio with the Explorateur Diamond Edition range
In 2011, Pilote expanded its heavyweight portfolio. Designed for luxury travel, the Explorateur range sought perfection and offered an alternative vision of opulence with exquisitely designed layouts, technology and technical expertise, equipment, a unique design and exceptional handling, not to mention the fact that it was user-friendly and offered a high standard of living on board. The high quality standards offered by Explorateur low profiles and A-Class motorhomes created quite a stir.
In partnership with Mercedes, the Pilote Group devised a project to develop a powered dual axle AL-KO chassis which would be supplied by Pilote as the G837LCE and also offered in the Frankia and LeVoyageur ranges.
Low profile motorhomes with fold-down beds were premiered at the Le Bourget trade fair with the P736LCA model which rapidly became a top seller.
LEVOYAGEUR CELEBRATES ITS 30TH ANNIVERSARY
Almost 500 guests attended three days of celebrations between 3 and 5 June for the 30th anniversary of LeVoyageur including no fewer than 300 owners of LeVoyageur motorhomes. The event took place in the town of Le Lion d’Angers in the Maine et Loire département and guests were placed in the capable hands of the Cirque Joseph Bouglione. As a special treat, some members of the audience were even trained to take part in the show.
1962-2012 : 50 YEARS OF SHARED PASSION
Pilote has been sharing its passion for motorhomes with its customers for fifty years. In an uncertain economic climate, Pilote continues to rely on the values which made it successful: quality, innovation and close customer relations. In keeping with contemporary concerns, Pilote has also committed itself firmly to environmentally-responsible practices.
LES CHIFFRES CLES
- 800 employees : 660 in France, 140 in Germany
- Six clearly defined and complementary brands meeting all the requirements of European customers
Four efficient plants: the original site inLa Limouzinière, LeVoyageur (LV1) in Membrolle sur Longuénée, Pilote/Bavaria (LV2) adjacent to the LeVoyageur plant and Frankia/RMB in Marktschorgast inGermany
Exports and innovation still on the agenda
In highly uncertain times for the economy, the Pilote Group has kept a close eye on anticipated developments in each European country and, in particular, any austerity measures which may affect families’ incomes with a view to adapting its management and production processes very quickly. Families’ leisure budget is sometimes the first to be sacrificed if their purchasing power declines.
Despite everything, Pilote has pursued its goal of increasing the company’s market share, especially in exports, and has continued to work on innovations while seeking to increase the competitiveness of its products.
Launch of the Explorateur Diamond Edition range
In 2012, Pilote launched the premium Explorateur Diamond Edition range embodying the passion which has supported and driven the Group for 50 years. Because all its customers are unique, Pilote has designed a completely revamped range of heavy weight A-Class vehicles for them.
An initial assessment of the start of the 2012 season has shown that the new Explorateur Diamond Edition vehicles have been met with great enthusiasm. Customers are enticed by their technical assets and immaculate, luxury interiors.
With over 1,000 sales in 2011, Bavaria is still riding the wave of its avant-garde furniture and is now well established in the European market. With scores of imitators, this trend-setting vehicle is still a hit.
Mooveo has rediscovered some of its old vitality in the French market thanks to affordable prices and some great new additions, in particular low profile vehicles with fold-down beds, a central bed and bunk beds.
In terms of layout, central beds are still very popular and account for 63% of sales for Pilote, 58% for Bavaria and 51.9% for Mooveo.
An adapted governance system
Since 2010, Pilote has put into place a new governance system with the appointment of a General Director, this time, from outside the family: Franck Luminais, who joined the group as Director of LeVoyageur at the time it was repurchased by Pilote in 2000. Franck Luminais is responsible for all French operations in addition to German transactions following the retirement of Mr. Hoang.
In 2012, the Padiou family plays an important role in Pilote with Philippe Padiou, President, and his spouse Mrs. Colette Padiou, Vice President of the Strategy Committee and involved in the company since 2004. They are both considered the guardians and the driving force of Pilote and its values.