Auer was one of the most important white goods brands of the 1970s. But a series of crises has meant that in recent years the brand has almost been forgotten. In 2004 it was bought by the Ulubaş Group from Kayseri. The group has adopted a strategy of giving ‘the old brand a second chance’ and has restructured the company, renewing everything from its machine park to its distribution network. Group President Adnan Ulubaş says that in 2005 they are targeting a turnover of YTL 50 million and exports of $10 million. “We want to make Auer a global brand,” he says.
The Ulubaş group, which has given Auer ‘a second life’ is one of the three largest enamel manufacturers in the world. It has experience in the manufacture of cooking products in particular. The group aims to use this experience to become one of the most important players in the white goods sector.
In order to realise this goal, in 2002 it bought a factory in Germany and relocated it to Kayseri. In the same year a refrigerator factor with a capacity of 1 million units was established. Even though it had temporarily halted production, in 2004 it bought the Auer brand, which is still very well-known. Today the group is trying to complete its product range in white goods. In order to achieve this, it has completed agreements with two Italian groups. It will evaluate joint-venture proposals according to developments on the market. The Auer brand will be developed for both the domestic and the foreign market. On the domestic market, the brand will be targeted at higher income groups. In addition, the group will try to make Auer a global brand. In the near future it will enter the electronics sector.
Group President Adnan Ulubaş believes that Turkey’s logistical advantages means that it has not rival in the region. He says that the white goods sector will take off over the next 1-2 years and that exports will triple or quadruple over the next 2-3 years.
Adnan Ulubaş, the Board Chairman of the Ulubaş Companies Group, told Capital about their plans for Auer.
What have you done as regards branding?
After we had acquired the brand, we made an additional investment of $3 million. We renewed the machine park. We prepared human resources. At the moment, we are at the second investment stage. We shall enclose another 6,000 square metres and develop a product range.
The biggest problem we faced when we bought the brand was the fact that it did not have a distribution network. But over the past year we have built up a distributor system. At the moment we have 1,050 outlets. We aim to increase this to 2,100 by the end of the year. In 2006 we shall open show-rooms.
Our product portfolio includes the cooking groups, water heaters and combination products. This year we added air conditioners. Over the next two months we shall launch washing machines, dishwashers and refrigerators on the market. We have completed agreements with two major foreign groups.
What size of company do you want to create?
Our target for Auer this year is a turnover of YTL 50 million by year-end. In addition, we are aiming for exports of $10 million. Durable consumer goods are flat during the first half of the year. We are still doing well and we shall achieve our goals by year-end.
Do you have any plans to make Auer a global brand?
Of course, we do. We shall try to make Auer a global brand. At the moment, our Auer brand distributorship agreements in six countries have been completed and our goods have gone. This year we shall export Auer brand goods to 21 countries. In some countries we have begun to open showrooms. The number of our stores in Europe will increase from 2006 onwards. We are aiming to open more showrooms in Eastern and Western Europe.