It began in the 1960s when Savvas Spyridakis Sr. was won over by the quality of MAHLE pistons. Since 2002, he and his sons have been representing the whole range of MAHLE products in Greece and Cyprus—with full conviction. We had the chance to talk to all three generations of the family Spyridakis.
Read here about how quality makes lasting friends.
MPULSE: Mr. Spyridakis, can you briefly introduce us to your company?
Savvas S.: I started the company by myself. But let me begin in 1952 after I finished school: I worked for two years for a company that imported agricultural machinery from Germany. During that time (1952 to 1954), I received many German magazines, from which I got the addresses of German companies.
Yiangos S.: As background information, you need to know that Cyprus was a British colony until 1960. Before then, it was very rare to find German cars in Cyprus—all automotive companies were busy with British cars and spare parts when my father first contacted German companies.
Savvas S.: That’s correct. My first job was as a commercial agent for car batteries and other things, like shoes and clothing. I had this job for three years. In 1957, I finally decided to run my own auto shop for spare parts and accessories. So, I went to Frankfurt and visited the IAA fair, where I got in contact with MAHLE. My business partner asked me why I wanted to work with MAHLE because they were expensive. He told me that I should work with another company because they were cheaper, but I had many problems with their spare parts. So, I bought original MAHLE pistons and put them in the cars and, without doing anything else, the engines ran properly.
Since I was already working with KNECHT FILTER at that time, I went there and said I wanted to talk to somebody at MAHLE. I asked if they knew anyone at MAHLE and they said, “We belong to MAHLE.” So, he called a colleague from MAHLE, who happened to be the same guy that I met five years ago at the IAA fair. When we started talking, he told me that he had visited Cyprus and learned that I controlled the market. He was trying to sell MAHLE products there, but was not successful. We signed an agreement and that’s how I became the official distributor for MAHLE in Cyprus, and later in Greece. We have been working together since then. We are proud of our 50-year partnership now.
MPULSE: How has this partnership developed over time?
Savvas S.: In the very beginning—that is, 1957—we started with filters. Then in 1963, we started with pistons and radiators. Over the last few years, we have continued with all the new products that MAHLE brought to the market.
Yiangos S.: In 2002, we started a cooperation with MAHLE for the complete range. Since then, we have been a representative for all MAHLE products in Greece. Today, we have achieved huge success—for both sides. We consider ourselves a part of MAHLE. The only difference is that we are not employees of MAHLE itself.
MPULSE: So you were impressed by MAHLE quality from the beginning and still are?
Yiangos S.: Yes, I grew up with the high quality of MAHLE products. Quality has always been important to us.
Savvas S.: This is why we only cooperate with and import products from OE suppliers, why we only represent OE suppliers, and also why we concentrate on European—especially German—cars and spare parts.
MPULSE: Do you also sell MAHLE workshop equipment?
Yiangos S.: Yes, we started last year with the AC units. This year, we introduced the TechPRO®. Now there is also interest in the TechPRO® Digital ADAS in Greece and Cyprus. Since this is a very technical tool, we have to organize our own technical department in Athens, which will provide technical support there, and also for our company in Cyprus in the future. The first step is for our technicians in Athens to be trained by MAHLE. Training for the thermal management products and workshop equipment will be done first, followed by the other products. In the future, we will be able to provide technical training of our own.
MPULSE: What is the current situation in the Greek car industry? Have you already felt a change with regard to e-mobility and alternative solutions?
Yiangos S.: Yes, we feel the change—especially in Greece, which is a much bigger market than the one in Cyprus. With the crisis last year, there was a change to smaller and more economical cars. There was also a change with regard to diesel engines, which were not allowed in the big cities in Greece for many years. Think about it: Greece is a country of eleven million people, of which seven million live in the two biggest cities. Another big change caused by the crisis was the market ratio of OE to aftermarket, which changed dramatically. And, although the pie was getting smaller and smaller, we managed to grow our business and remain strong in the aftermarket segment during the crisis.
MPULSE: Why should customers choose you? What makes your company special?
Savvas S.: There are a few good reasons. First of all, our company has been well known for many years in the market. Secondly, we import and distribute only OES parts. If you compare our prices to the same original spare parts from the manufacturers, we are cheaper. Furthermore, we cover the whole range of spare parts, and all Greek wholesalers are our customers, so we are very visible on the market. Besides this, we cover the complete range of parts apart from body parts, which is a big advantage for garages.
Yiangos S.: And of course, it is special that we are a family-owned company in its third generation with a presence in Cyprus and Greece.
MPULSE: Mr. Spyridakis, congratulations on your 85th birthday! During all these years, you have gained a lot of experience.
Is there any advice that you would like to give our readers?
Savvas S.: I was one of the lucky ones. I had the opportunity to work with good companies and good people. This helped me a lot to increase my business. I tried to use the same philosophy here in Cyprus that German companies use—that was the most important thing.
Yiangos S.: The global aftermarket segment is not so big. So, over the years you meet the same people in this small circle. If you create a good reputation, you will have good opportunities. People come to us because they were told to come to us by someone who knows us and who is happy with us—this is the most important thing.
MPULSE: Thank you for this interview and for your loyalty, family Spyridakis. And good luck for the future.