SAPA goes beyond the boarders of the EU for the first time and it sets out to conquer the Oriental market by bringing its revolutionary One-Shot® method to China. In the meantime, it also doubled its presence in Poland with a new plant in Tychy and completed the acquisition of HCM in Italy.

You’ll certainly remember Marco Polo’s story.

He was a merchant from Venice and one of the greatest travellers of all times. In 1271 he set on a journey with his father and uncle and crossed the whole of Asia to reach Cathay where Marco Polo had the privilege to meet Kublai Kahn and became his ambassador and advisor.

When he left, he was barely 17 years old; I imagine him being excited and scared at the same time, having big dreams and something unique to bring with him: his story.

If you think about it, this story is incredible, especially if one thinks of the means of transport of the time; yet Marco Polo was then to inspire many other adventurers, like Columbus, who, until his death believed to have gotten to Asia.

Why am I talking about him?

The reason seems obvious, and if you have read the title of the article, you might have made the connection immediately.

SAPA signed an agreement for the acquisition of 80% of Selmat Shanghai, thus moving eastwards. It is SAPA’s first site outside of Europe and it will act as a bridge with Italy and Europe but it will mainly be a point of reference for the European car makers that already operate in China and at the same time, it will open new opportunities of collaboration with Korean, Chinese and Japanese businesses. You know that the Oriental market represents a great opportunity, especially in our sector. Beijing has planned a strong development especially for the segment of electric cars.

Between 2.5 and 5 million electric cars will be produced in China by 2025: a huge challenge, certainly, but one that we want to rise up to.

If Marco Polo had only spoken about the journey without having taken part in it, the Il Milione (“The Travels of Marco Polo”) would have been a great book but I doubt that anyone would have remembered him in the same way.

SAPA Shanghai, the new plant.

I have always believed that change is something annoying, but only if you undergo it: being the change is a completely different story. Being the bearer of new things is a risk that produces energy and Marco Polo knew this really well.

We are not the first business to take this step, yet when I look back at our story, I truly feel that this is a pivotal moment that tells about a piece of our story.

Maybe this makes SAPA unique.

Our business comes from the Benevento province, near Naples, from family-run, artisanal beginnings.

When my father took over the business, he decided to make it into what it is today, as you know it today, and at the same time he decided to leave its very nature unchanged.

So, my family still runs the business, and so we decided to stay in this region, a region that is not always easy to be in and that is geographically far away from the big industries in this sector.

Keeping true to these choices and, at the same time, seeing SAPA grow is twice as rewarding.

For this reason, getting to China and bringing our innovations over there for us means that we are not only growing in size but also in accountability and solidity: we have a contribution to make.

Our objective is to introduce the One-Shot® Method and its special innovations that are in line with the commercial objectives of the Oriental market. The latest research carried out by SAPA’s Innovation Engineering department goes towards the optimisation of production processes and it also suggests the implementation of new, bio-composite materials that can meet the zero waste requirements of a market that demands more lightweight, less polluting cars.

 The whole One-Shot® Method rests on simplifying the production process. And this has important consequences such as:

  • Less weight
  • Shorter time;
  • Less waste
  • High quality standards

To date the One-Shot® Method is patented pending as the world’s fastest method to produce car parts and is used for 5 parts that are already in production: One-Shot® Window Frame, One-Shot® C Lower Pillar, One-Shot® Engine Beauty Cover, One-Shot® Bicolor A Pillar, One-Shot® Aeroshield.

 The actual revolution is in the method itself. One-Shot® is not an object but a production method, a style, a way to conceive cars, a philosophy. Every part can become One-Shot®.

Our commitment to total product control is also proven by two more actions that SAPA took.

A new plant in Tychy, Poland and the acquisition of HCM Stampi s.r.l. will allow us to have full control over the end product and to manage the entire production process. Having an internal branch to produce the moulds for the parts not only simplifies the designing phase and makes the process leaner, but also ensures better control over the value chain for the parts.

I strongly believe that when we talk of innovation today, we should understand innovation also as the ability of applying traditional methods in a different way.

For me, this is thinking in One-Shot® terms. Are you following me?

Of course, this is not just a goal but rather a new beginning. Marco Polo left Italy when he was still just a kid and he didn’t know what he would find but his mind was open to the possibilities that this world that was new to him, the Orient, had to offer.

He became a connoisseur of that world and an ambassador – could it be that we share the same destiny?

I would like to share with you the article that the Il Sole 24 ore dedicated to our acquisition in China. Enjoy reading the article.

Kind regards

Giovanni Affinita,

Executive Director and Member of the Board of Directors

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