Winner Group Ukraine is an exclusive supplier of the best automotive brands to the Ukrainian market and one of the largest taxpayers to the state budget. What is the secret of the company’s success? What is the approach to buying a car in this company? We are talking to the Chairman of the Board, Petro Rondiak about the development of the automotive industry in Ukraine and about the main aspects of Winner’s activity.
Ivan Hyniansky was one of the first American businessmen who came to independent Ukraine and set up a company. How difficult was it to establish such a business direction in those days?
Thus, Mr. Ivan Hyniansky was one of the first American entrepreneurs who started their own business in Ukraine. It was back in 1992. At that time, there were no hryvnia or a fully functioning state apparatus. These were quite difficult times, but at the same time very interesting. Mr. Ivan Hyniansky has Ukrainian origin, he loves Ukraine, and therefore, despite all the complexities, we started our work, and we managed not only to firmly make a lodgment, but also to take root in the Ukrainian market.
How do you form your team? How difficult is it to get hired by your company? What values should a person have?
A good hard-working team is the key to any successful business, and we certainly are not an exception. The main value of our company is to take care. We take care of our client, of the quality of our products and, of course, we take care of our employees. To become a member of our team, a person must share our values with us. The Ukrainian labour market has changed since we started business in Ukraine, it has become more experienced. For example, there are many people who have studied abroad and who apply their knowledge in Ukraine. The main criteria for selecting employees for us are: professionalism, decency and dedication to our company and our values.
Do you work according to the European rules, does the company have any additional privileges from the state, and how difficult was it to meet such criteria at that time?
We do not have any privileges from the state, and, in fact, we do not expect them — and ultimately, we do not need them. We are engaged in business in accordance with the current legislation of Ukraine. It is a great honour and pleasure for us to work for the development and welfare of Ukraine. We are conscious of our choice; this choice lies in the fact that we must work transparently and honestly. Of course, starting to do business according to the European standards at that time, when few people had an idea about these standards in Ukraine, was extremely difficult. However, we succeeded. We built auto dealers on our own. One of the largest ones is located at Stepan Bandera Avenue.
You are the biggest taxpayer. What amount does the company transfer to the budget of Ukraine?
I would not say that we are the largest taxpayer. In addition to us, there are large international companies such as Microsoft, GE, Proctor & Gamble and others. However, we can frankly and openly declare that we have transferred one billion two hundred thousand dollars to the Ukrainian budget for all time of our existence in Ukraine. Agree, this is a very serious amount. We are proud of the fact that the company is transferring funds to the state budget of Ukraine, especially at such difficult time for the state and for the Ukrainian people.
You are 25 years at the market in Ukraine. Despite an uneasy situation, both in the country and in the economy sales are increasing. What is the secret of success?
When we started our activity in Ukraine, the situation was even worse and even more complicated than it is now. The secret of our company’s success is that we have studied the needs of the Ukrainians in this field, we are aware of the laws according to which this market lives and develops. We are aware that a social stratum that will always be able to afford an automobile has already developed and exists in Ukraine. Of course, the crisis in economy and the problems around the country affect our work, but I would not call this influence a critical one. Ukraine is currently struggling to make Ukraine better. And let me express my confidence that those forces in power who want better, more honest and sincerely European Ukraine will surely win. Otherwise, it cannot be simple.
Why have the Ukrainians trusted your company when buying a car for so many years? Can you name three reasons why it is worth coming to you?
There is only one reason, and it is the most important one — we care about our client and their security. We have an individual approach to each customer. After all, there are different people who like different classes of cars. Someone likes — Land Rover, someone — Jaguar. Therefore, we teach our sales managers the basic principles of how to find out what a person needs in order to meet their needs. Each car has its own unique character, just like a person. Therefore, our sales managers must also be psychologists who help determine which machine is suitable for a particular customer. This, of course, is not easy, but we are constantly learning and improving in this direction.
So what questions do your sales managers ask the customers? How does the Ukrainian customer differ from the Europeans? How do you find an approach?
I worked in retail for a long time, in particular in the auto dealers at Stepan Bandera Avenue. Honestly speaking, I have never sold cars in Europe, so I cannot say for sure. However, we ask our customers about their hobbies and about their marital status, about the career field, about the purpose for which the car is bought. This helps us determine the brand and model that we can offer. As far as I know, similar approach to a client is applied in Europe and in the United States. Therefore, we can say that there are European rules in Ukraine.
What kind of cars can your company offer today?
We have a wide choice of cars: Ford, Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover, Porsche, Bentley. The choice of a car depends on the financial capabilities of the client. We expect our main customers to be people who are called “upper middle class” in America.
You are engaged in charity. Tell us about this direction. What charitable projects are supported by Winner Group Ukraine?
Mr. Ivan Hyniansky, establishing our company here in Ukraine, constantly emphasized that we had not come here simply to make money. We are part of Ukraine. We have supported a lot of charity actions, the latest of which — support of ATO through providing four minibuses for our military at the front. Now we are taking care of the Lviv Regional Hospital, namely the intensive care unit for preterm infants. We believe that children are our future. We have purchased and sent incubators for children who are born in advance to the Lviv Regional Hospital. Without staying in this incubator, a child born in advance can die. Continuing this project, we plan to provide the hospital with an ambulance machine, which will already be equipped with an incubator for the rescue of a child who was born in advance either at home or on the way to the house. It will become a great help and salvation of a new life. We believed, believe and will believe that our company belongs to those who help Ukraine and make it the best one. In conclusion I would like to wish all the Ukrainians more optimism and more confidence in their own abilities. Since 2014, Ukraine has gone through too difficult travails and did not break. It gives hope; and the main thing is not to lose it…