César Mendoza tells us how Nito electric vehicles save time and above all money.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
César Mendoza: Fortunately, we’re fine.
Last November, my wife had COVID-19, but without severe symptoms and with due attention, neither my three children nor I was infected.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded NITO.
César Mendoza: I was born in Caracas, Venezuela, and graduated in Industrial Design. I initially worked in Milan and abroad, in Tokyo, and then returned to Italy, where I have lived for over 30 years. For 12 years, I directed the European Institute of Design (IED) in Turin, the capital of the automobile, thanks to my knowledge of transportation design and my great passion for two wheels, born with motocross which continues to be my favourite hobby.
Aware of the environmental problem and convinced that the future is electric, I have combined research, experience, and fun to create a project improving urban traffic with innovative and efficient means of transportation. Therefore in 2014, NITO was born, together with a group of designers and collaborators with the same mobility idea and the fundamental support of partners, investors, and founders who immediately shared my entrepreneurial vision.
How does NITO innovate?
César Mendoza: For us, innovation means finding the right balance between past, present, and future.
Our objects are the result of different elements correctly combined like the ingredients of a recipe: the search for quality materials as for the products of the past, the attention and care for aesthetics that arouses emotion and pleasure in using our vehicles, the application of new technologies to achieve high performance and offer a unique, brilliant and fun driving sensation.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
César Mendoza: COVID has not affected our sector; on the contrary, state and local benefits have increased the demand for electric vehicles and the need to travel safely, avoiding public transport, have certainly rewarded sustainable mobility.
The difficulty, however, was to manage the daily activities obviously modified by smart working, slowed down if not stopped by the lockdown, with delays in supply and shipment. Furthermore, we have been affected by the cancellation of events that represent strategic moments for the visibility of the brand and the products with spillover effects on our business. Among the most important is Eicma, the international cycle and motorcycle fair in Milan since the November 2020 edition was cancelled for the first time in its long history.
However, we took this opportunity to re-calibrate our way of working remotely with the same efficiency and dedicated ourselves to the research and development of new projects with more calm and concentration than usual.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
César Mendoza: No, we didn’t have to take particularly difficult decisions due to the pandemic.
We have done our best to adapt to the not simple situation, which is lasting longer than we would have imagined. With the reopening of the factory and offices in June, we have taken steps to put in place everything necessary to protect the safety and health of employees and collaborators. We re-started the activity that had inevitably slowed down during the three months of lockdown, from March to May, also giving our support to the sales network to manage the delay in deliveries.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
César Mendoza: We are calm and confident in overcoming this tough period.
We think the vaccine is the only way to defeat this virus, whose spread otherwise cannot be controlled, as demonstrated by the second and third waves.
We feel that we are already the company of tomorrow today because the electric mobility we believe in is the solution for a clean and safe future. With a pandemic of this severity, we realize how important these values are.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
César Mendoza: We do not consider brands that offer exclusively electric vehicles our real competitors because they help us promote this type of mobility and make its advantages known, even in markets where we are not present yet.
On the other hand, the brands that produce traditional vehicles comparable to ours are competitors, but even in this case, we take advantage of them. Anyone who sells both types of products cannot present the benefits of electric without highlighting the limits of internal combustion engines, which represent 98% of its turnover.
The strength of our brand lies in combining style and performance. Those who appreciate the design of our products and try them then purchase them.
Your final thoughts?
César Mendoza: This pandemic has taken away from us many certainties taken for granted; first of all, freedom.
I hope that in addition to bringing out our weaknesses, it will help us find the strength to react to start again stronger and better than before.