Domingo Alonso, a family business group focused on offering mobility solutions for present and future customers for more than 80 years, combining innovation and development in order to become a technological company, specialised in the automotive sector. With a workforce of more than 1.500 employees, and an annual average turnover of 960MM EUR in 2017, it is nowadays a business reference in more than 35 international markets.
"...the most important thing is to carry out a previous reserarch of your offer, the market you want to reach, your target customers, and, with all define a crear strategy before you decide to go international. Then you will be able to know which product or service is the most interesting to be internatioalized and for whicha markets."
What is the current company’s main activity?
Our activity revolves around 3 business areas: Automotive, Digital Business & Technology and Mobility Services.
Automotive: We currently operate in more than 35 countries from 3 continents, distributing aroun 20 different brands, with our own management of almost 60 car dealership, nearly 90 showrooms, more than 70 workshops, several digital showrooms in Canary Islands and a worldwide distribution network of more than 130 car dealership, more than 180 Showrooms and nearly 200 networks.
Additionally, we provide more than 40% of the spare parts for Canary Islands’ vehicle fleet and we have 2 branches in the car renting business: Avis and Budget, as well as Effciency Cars, which adapts to the corporative level needs in the rent a Car business.
Digital Business & Technology: Within the group’s expansion and diversification strategy, we’ve backed investment on IT (Information Technology), Communication and Consultancy. With an investment of more than 10 million Euros in the last five years, we currently have several companies within this sector: Aida, Arbentia, Singular Factory, Palet Express, Opportunity, Two and DTO.
Mobitliy: Within this business area we focus on offering sustainable driving alternatives for the Canarian market through Lovesharing, a corporative carshring service with 100% electric vehicles; Xtravans, which offers commercial vehicles flexible renting, and 100% electric motorcycles from Silence brand.
Why is it interesting for business development to look at foreign markets?
The current economic environment is very dynamic, and requires from companies a cosmopolitan view of the economic activiy and business strategies. Therefore, looking at external markets is one of the key elements in a company’s proper functioning and its future prospects. Even more if we take into account that we live in an archipielago, which makes our potential market much smaller. So, internationalizing your company is a unique opportunity to grow, reach global competitiveness and diminish the risk of depending on just one market, with all its consequences.
Since Domingo Alonso Group decided to take its first step into the international market, it was clear that internationalization would be a key element in the company’s future growth. Among other things, it allowed us to ease the effects caused to our local market by the latest economic recession. We saw our new vehicles sales volume drop from 75.000 units per year to approximately 25.000. Finding new business opportunities in other markets during those years allowed us to make up for this fall in our domestic demand, and continue with our growing process.
What projects are you currently doing abroad? In which countries? Why?
We have our headquarters in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and a regional branch in Miami. The countries where we currently operate, mainly as vehicle supplier, are: Colombia, Venezuela, Chile, Peru, Mexico, Curaçao, Portugal, Spain, Angola, Cape Verde, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Mozambique, Zambia, Senegal, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, The Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone, Guinea Conakry, Liberia, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Togo, Benin, São Tomé and Príncipe, Equatorial Guinea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Rwanda, Cameroon y Republic of The Congo. However, our eagerness to conquer new markets is not stopping, and Domingo Alonso Group aims to new countries, with new projects for more brands.
What products or services are those that you find most interesting to internationalize?
All of them, in general. We believe there isn’t a clear answer to that question without a previous analysis, as the same procut or service is not suitable for each and everyone of the international markets. Therefore, the most important thing is to carry out a previous research of your offer, the market you want to reach, your target customers, and, with all that define a clear strategy before you decide to go international. Then you will be able to know which product or service is the most interesting to be internationalized and for which markets.
What kind of problems did you encounter when going abroad? How did you solve them? Have you received any kind of support?
As a company, there are many obstacles you have to face when going beyond your borders. In our case, we would highlight the difficulty of identifying potential local partners and business oppotunities in other countries, as well as the difficulty of obtaining information aobut some external markets within our sector, specially African markets.
In this case, having Salvador Caetano Group as a strategic partner in the automotive field has been a key element in our expansion process, as they have wide experience in Africa. After several years of strategic alliance between our groups, in 2017 we became Salvador Caetano holding’s shareholders. This alliance has allowed Domingo Alonso Group to be the main group in mainland Spain, with an annual sales volume of more than 110.000 vehicles. At the same time, this also means a step forward in our growth in the international field, and a support to face the new changes in the automotive sector’s new era.
Has it been easy to go abroad? How did your experience begin?
Beginnings are never easy, and they require the companies to make an extraordinary effort. The most important thing is to have persistence, and keep pushing forward with the defined strategy, despite the difficult moments.
Domingo Alonso Group’s international adventure began 20 years ago, when we decided to establish in the neigbor archipielago Cape Verde. In 1998, this entailed the first corporate experience outside the Canary Islands. Since then, most of Domingo Alonso Group’s efforts have been aimed to the company’s internationalization.
Why would you recommend going abroad?
I would sum it up in three sentences:
Improving the competitive capacity of the company, taking advantage of a wider market.
Reducing the risk of depending on just one market and, therefore, possible compensation of profits before a fall in the local market.
Chance of growing and improving in processes, costs and quality.