A conversation with Grégory Poillion, Vice President Automotive Sales and Business Development
Grégory Poillion joined the Blickfeld management team as Vice President Automotive Sales and Business Development in June, bringing impressive automotive market expertise into the company. In this chat, he talks about his vision of an autonomous future, the Blickfeld spirit and what important learnings are going to help him shape Blickfeld’s automotive business further.
1. Can you introduce yourself and your professional career in a few sentences?
My career of 20 years is paved with multiple experiences in the Automotive sector, spanning different functions, products and cultures. I grew from production through industrialization and project management, and subsequently into sales and business development leadership. I worked with a multitude of products in interior and powertrain for both, passenger cars and commercial vehicles, and more recently moved into electrical products and the software area. Being a French national, these experiences allowed me to live in countries like Germany, the Czech Republic and Switzerland and gain a broad view on the automotive world while building a strong network.
2. What motivated you to join Blickfeld?
I am passionate about the automotive sector and new technologies – always curious to try out new things. To me, autonomous driving represents the next “great revolution” in automotive. This will totally change the way people consider mobility and will open up an unlimited number of new opportunities. In that sense, Blickfeld´s revolutionary scanning LiDAR systems, its committed team and the opportunity to shape the future of mobility were my reasons for joining the company.
3. What is your role at Blickfeld?
I am the Vice President Automotive Sales & Business Development. In that role I am the primary contact for all sales and business development topics in our automotive business.
4. What experience will you bring into your role at Blickfeld?
I will contribute my extensive experience from the automotive space working for Tier-1s and with OEMs to guide Blickfeld in all its automotive specific topics along the customer journey. The automotive market has very complex structures and processes – working within this sphere for years gives me the knowledge and experience to tackle all challenges and guide the Blickfeld team through them.
5. What was your first impression of Blickfeld?
As expected from a young company, Blickfeld is very hands-on, fast-moving; decisions are made quickly and efficiently. I see very committed people who are passionate about their work and at the same time eager to learn every day. That is a fascinating work environment!
6. What do you think the next steps in autonomous driving will be?
Traditional OEMs will continue to enhance their current ADAS capabilities and gradually climb up the ladder of the autonomy levels, while securing the safety aspects and gain more and more adoption from private car consumers doing so. This will take time before we can see fully autonomous private vehicles hitting the road in this sector in high volumes. Shuttles and robotaxis will gradually deploy their services in urban areas where the legislation allows it. Further newcomers are positioning themselves within the autonomous landscape, like offering enhanced logistic services or more efficient ways to operate. With all of these developments, one thing is very clear: True autonomous driving without LiDAR will not be possible.
7. How do you personally envision the mobility of the future?
People will have more possibilities to choose the way they want to move from A to B. Autonomous driving will free up individuals from driving, and this time “saved” will allow more time for doing something else, like entertainment or work. However, I don’t believe that individual private mobility will completely disappear. It is a long way to get to full autonomy and different needs and opportunities will emerge in different regions linked to the deployment of autonomous driving. There will for sure be a rebalancing of the share between traditional car makers and mobility newcomers, like robotaxi companies, which will shape a new mobility ecosystem. I believe that, thanks to autonomous driving, a significant portion of the population living in urban environments will choose to not own a car. This will be driven by the desire for more environmentally friendly and sustainable mobility, and I am very exited to see where this will lead us.
8. What are your plans for Automotive Sales & Business Development?
I plan to further expand our business activities, intensively engage with OEMs, Tier-1s and new mobility players, while deploying a customer centric approach, in order to reach the highest customer satisfaction in terms of products and services. Mid-term plans include expanding the team to further strengthen Blickfeld’s position in the automotive business and of course leading and supporting this team.
9. What is your most valuable learning from the last few years?
I worked very closely with OEMs throughout the years and realized that it is crucial to consider the customers’ position in any decision you are going to make, which may impact them, and be as transparent as you can. It isn’t always trivial to understand how big the impact of your decision may be on them and transparency often helps you to come out of critical situations with the customers’ support. In addition, the automotive business is extremely dynamic and in regards of current uncertainties, being resilient is also important to me to move into this intense and very demanding environment. My focus is on people as well – the people in my team as well as people around my team. Supporting their work in good, but more importantly, in bad times, I want to make sure that I provide the right framework for them to overcome the challenges that might come their way and help them to achieve their – and the company’s – goals.