Ada Amengual is a woman used to the business world. At the head of a European group in the automotive sector, she is part of the group of women combatants who, with her husband, manage a company of 110 employees, generate a turnover of 210 million and sell 15,000 cars per year. Obsessed with perfectionism, she is not indulgent with her surroundings or with herself as she enjoys her job and is always looking for the best result for her business and her clients.
She has lived in Andorra for three years, where they set up the nerve center of her group of companies and, in addition, she created Caropticom, an Andorran digital development platform focused on the automotive sector. Apart from business, family is their mainstay and they could do anything for them.
She really enjoys traveling with family, dining with friends and exercising. Playing sports is sacred to her and she spends an hour every day. She also started doing yoga, but her real hobby is orthomolecular medicine, a world that fascinates her and in which she is already thinking, to get started or participate, in a future project related to this sector.
For those who don’t know her, who is Ada Janietz?
A young businesswoman of German origin, born in Luxembourg. Mother of 3 children, cosmopolitan and athletic. My environment describes me, as a perpetual movement, eager to launch a new project every week. At the head of a European group in the automotive sector, I am part of the group of women combatants. With my team, I lead the purchasing department, cohesive determination, negotiation talent and female competence, towards a very masculine world.
How would you define yourself, what are your virtues?
I am a very active, purposeful person and don’t give up easily. I try to be an example for the people I love and always show a positive attitude. My family is the backbone of my life, I will do anything for them. Faced with any obstacle, I never let my guard down and I refuse to accept fatalism. I love languages and learn them quickly due to the chronic need to communicate.
And could you tell us something wrong, if you have it?
My best enemy is myself. Perfectionism obsesses me and I am not very forgiving with my surroundings, not even myself. In a way, it’s my driving force, but at the same time, an ending that can be unbearable, even for me. Another weak point is patience. I think I will never have this virtue.
With a degree in business and law, which of these two disciplines satisfies you the most?
When I was young, I dreamed of a career as a lawyer. I projected myself in my fancy dresses and high heels, defending my clients in lawsuits and dealing with big business. Well, for those who remember the Ally MacBeal series, this is where it happened. When I did my first internship, in a large reputable law firm, and at only 15 years old, I realized that the world of lawyers was not what I had dreamed of. She saw me serving coffee and making photocopies for years, before fulfilling my dream of being a great lawyer. And I wondered if I would wait so many years before I could take action. Nor did he see clearly how he could combine this life with the desire to one day have a family. It all seemed too passive and slow to me.
When I entered, by these coincidences of life or perhaps by fate, into the world of business, I very quickly realized that this was the path I had to follow. Not depending on anyone, responding only to my own actions, and most importantly, being able to make a difference, through my work and dedication, has been an incredible source of energy for me. My grandparents were all traders, my father a lawyer, then he was a senior bank manager and my mother was a journalist specializing in economic issues, I would say that the vocation has only jumped a generation. Of course, I am more passionate about business. It is a very broad discipline, with many possibilities and which requires an alert and creative mind at all times. But my real passion is to work as an entrepreneur.
You are from Luxembourg, what brought you to Andorra?
I was born and raised in Luxembourg, but my parents are of German origin. In the end, I do not consider myself German or Luxembourgish, but European. I was able to travel from a young age and, thanks to Luxembourg, I had the chance to learn six languages.
Luxembourg and Andorra have a lot in common. They are small, agile and international countries.
We don’t intend to bring anything to Andorra. On the contrary, for the moment, Andorra has provided us with everything. We try to contribute, with our small level, to the economy of the country, by creating businesses, jobs and new projects. Maybe we have an outward outside vision and can encourage new ideas. We see great potential for development in Andorra, as happened in Luxembourg a few years ago, although it is really impossible to compare them. More than ever, Andorra needs new growth prospects and new sectors to build its future.
Our Andorran digital development platform, Caropticom, obviously aims to grow, but it is also proof that there are new possibilities. We firmly believe that the digital sector is a great opportunity for Andorra. We will try to attract qualified personnel from outside to train the local teams. We will also work with the authorities to adapt the legal framework to the needs of the digital sector and bring ideas from the field. We are not the only new arrivals and motivated to open up new horizons. Together, we can support Andorra towards an identity beyond tax and leisure benefits, towards a country of avant-garde and excellence. The contribution of foreigners, like us, lies in this new vision, in job creation, in addition to ideas and projects. The sum of these small contributions will contribute to the good changes.
In addition, the existing infrastructure in the country should not be underestimated. I don’t know of many places where you ask for fiber optic for a chalet, lost in the mountains, and 24 hours later the connection is ready. There are also well prepared premises. Our project in the country would not have been possible without our Andorran partners, specialized in IT development, and we could still name more people. If you compare it to neighboring countries, there are a multitude of things that go very well, even if you get used to the installation too quickly.
Do you like our country?
We came to Andorra for the first time to rest, after a year of very intense work, it was in February 2017. At that time, we were living in Barcelona and we were looking for a suitable place to launch our digital business, but which could also offer us a happy family life.
I have a habit of always looking at the real estate market, when traveling and, on the way back, I found an article, published by an agency, on the advantages of living in Andorra. I read it aloud to my husband and we quickly decided to move. Three months later, we started our Andorran adventure.
I admit that I had a moment of panic when I left the big city for a small place in the middle of the mountains. We agreed to a year of testing to see if we really fit. If you ask me today, there is no other place that I like to live. A few months ago we bought a house in La Massana and we are happy here. There is no doubt that our children refuse to travel because they consider Andorra as their home. Many people are drawn to tax benefits, but it is not possible to be happy in the long run if the only interest lies in this aspect. Nature is beautiful, the sports possibilities are endless. We have formed a circle of friends in a very short time and the social life is amazing. People receive you quickly, especially the Andorrans who were very welcoming. The prejudice of the closed mind cannot be fully confirmed. There are a lot of Andorrans among our friends. What more could you ask for in luxury, you can go on a mountain getaway, downhill skiing, or a good meal with friends… and, in addition, the advantage of being able to buy local and quality cuisine. No crime, no pollution, we eat healthily, the stores give you everything at home … When we go on a trip (which we also love), when we come back, when we cross the border, it’s like returning to a bubble of peace and tranquility. We have to be very aware of how lucky we are to live here.
Where exactly do they live?
We bought a house in La Massana. At the foot of the mountain and three minutes from the school. We have found the perfect place for us. We enjoy beautiful views, surrounded by nature and we have everything we need close by.
Can we say that Andorra is now the epicenter of its activity?
In a way, yes. The automotive sector has undergone a profound change in recent years. In fact, this is the case with many companies, and this evolution has accelerated with the recent Covid-19 pandemic. Online business is becoming more and more important. Buyers who always think their storefront is unique are losing ground. The customer today has the “Amazon” mentality. Buyers are much more informed and impulsive. The notion of border and distance has changed profoundly in recent years. When someone wants something, they pick up their tablet or cell phone, search, and get it anytime they want. We must be prepared for this change. It is essential to respond to an interested person who sends you a request at all times and in a very responsive manner. The first to respond qualitatively to a primary customer guarantees a high probability of conversion to sale.
The United States is many years ahead of us at this level. Everything, including cars, can be ordered online and delivered to your doorstep. Thanks to our historical activity, we have been able to open in Andorra and we have the necessary liquidity to finance the launch of our digital platform. But, looking to the future, we are convinced that Andorran society and our digital switchover will ensure the group’s subsistence.
Are you the CEO of AeroAutofactoria Group SA, based in 4 countries, what does your group of companies do?
We act as a purchasing center for cars at European level. We buy large volumes of new cars for the occasion, directly from manufacturers, and distribute them throughout Europe. Our activity is not well known, because we act as an intermediary in the automotive distribution chain. We sell most of these vehicles to professional customers, that is to say sellers and dealers in different countries, whose desire is to diversify its offer and develop the sale of quality used cars, at a few kilometers and of certified origin. We provide many directly related services, such as logistics, merchandise financing, repair, lead management, satisfaction surveys or online marketing. A professional client has access, thanks to our services, to an offer of complementary products, imported from abroad, which allows him to expand his sales spectrum in complete safety and convenience.
In addition, we are dedicated to traditional sales to the end customer, even if it only represents a very small percentage of our turnover. In Luxembourg, we operate as an official dealer of the Honda brand. In Germany, Luxembourg and Spain, the economic model is the same. The Spanish subsidiary also has the first industrial automotive workshop for fleets, certified by Dekra Germany, with very avant-garde processes.
In Andorra we do not sell or sell cars and we have no intention of doing so. Here we really host all of our digital development, from building software for our very specific industry to more mainstream business services like lead management, online marketing, and call center.
Your business has experienced stratospheric growth since you joined this project. How successful is AeroAutofactoria?
We’ve been growing well for a few years now, but I have a lot of respect for the word success. Success is too fleeting. You just have to be more discriminating about helping others. A business today no longer depends only on you, nor on the effort you put into it, but on numerous external parameters capable of changing the situation. We have also had some very difficult years. It’s something that sets you apart and teaches you to be constantly vigilant, humble, and in survival mode.
Our business model works because we operate in a niche market. We are among the first companies in the sector with a very European orientation, while the others were still very focused on their national markets. Seniority gives you experience and financial capital. The auto trade requires very significant equity and liquidity.
Our identity, as a medium-sized company, allows us to be very responsive. Flexibility today is the key. You just have to be more discriminating about helping others. Then there is the business philosophy that you can really control. The most important thing is to be a serious business, with one word to fill out. In our industry, unfortunately, this is not always easy. The automotive sector, especially used cars, has a controversial reputation.
My husband and I are a constant fusion of ideas and we try to anticipate changes in the best possible way, for example by setting up our company here in Andorra. This is only one part, but behind it all there are also collaborators. You can be the best coach in the world, but without a great team you will never get anything.
What services do you offer, apart from traditional sales?
We supply new used cars to industry professionals and also, to a lesser extent, to end customers.
We have certified mechanical workshops, both for fleet customers and for individuals. Within the various services we offer, we finance cars, manage logistics, deliveries to the customer’s home and all after-sales related to the company. We also have a fleet activity with an innovative and flexible rental concept for medium-sized companies. To complete the circle, we cover all the digital aspect, development of IT solutions and online sales, from Andorra.
And how do you differentiate yourself from other companies in the sector?
The luck that we have is that very few of us work in this niche. There are perhaps a dozen companies in Europe doing this work. We all have a very different distribution model. We never wanted to be a competition of dealer networks, on the contrary. That is why we also specialize in new used cars and not new cars. We act as a small market regulator, sometimes, to allow brands to keep prices stable, as long as they have to move a certain volume of cars to another country, so as not to damage a product in a market that does not. is not possible. so that it absorbs, either, because strategically, it must absorb the new cars leaving the factory as a priority. We work very discreetly.
Other companies approach the business differently, whether it is good or bad. Some have a brilliant strategy of selling online to the end customer at discount prices, others only sell informal sales, and there are also those who only step in when the manufacturer has a problem, taking advantage of the situation to obtain very aggressive prices.
We have always believed in continuity to build business loyalty. We see ourselves more as a partner of the brands and an additional source of products for dealers, without wanting to be a competition.
As it is an activity which requires a lot of liquidity, experience and a broad knowledge of the products, it severely limits the number of companies which can intervene, at this level, in the automobile distribution chain. Among the few companies dedicated to this sector, each has its own concept.
Engaged in high-level sport, they were the sponsors of Cyril Despres and Mike Horn, for the Dakar 2020, will they also repeat the experience this year?
Of course. This participation is above all the fruit of friendship with Cyril. Through him, we met Mike and decided to follow this amazing tandem, the last adventure of DAKAR. The thing that unites us is that we all started a very different career from scratch, starting with just a blank slate. When we’re demotivated, we watch a talk from Mike and suddenly you think, but I haven’t done anything yet in this life, we don’t have to give up, then you put the batteries back quickly. The partnership between Mike, the adventurer without limits, and Cyril, as a great athlete, is very special. Atypical in the world of motorsport. We loved this symbiosis, even if it slowed us down to mix friendship and work, because it is often complicated. But, as it was an incredible and very motivating experience, we have agreed with all our collaborators to repeat in 2021 and we can’t wait to start this next edition.
What do you expect from this participation with a hydrogen engine?
We do not fully believe in the future of the electric car as it is currently being promoted. It’s a very personal point of view and with a perspective, from within our industry. We do not have the capacity to generate enough electricity. The batteries are produced outside of Europe and in questionable condition. We are losing jobs and outsourcing important know-how.
In order to cover this energy need, a country like Germany is returning to coal factories. All this is not ecological.
We’re not talking about the end of the batteries either. How is this waste recycled and where does it end up? We do not have any European infrastructure to cope with this forced shift in energy.
Mike, as an observer of the planet, witnesses climate change. Cyril, as a fan of his sport, is very aware of the environmental challenge that is proposed to us, especially in the automotive sector. They combine very important knowledge for this project. We also believe that hydrogen can be a real alternative to fossil fuel engines. It seems like a good idea to test this new clean energy, in a race like the Dakar, to prove its viability in very difficult circumstances and with the aim of starting a real evolution of the engines towards a solution, really viable, and which can protect the environment. We hope that this will be the start of a new reflection to accompany these necessary energetic changes in the future.
A woman controlling a world intimately linked to men, how does she evolve in this sector?
The automotive world is certainly very masculine. When I started my career, at 21, I had to negotiate with men much older than me, also more experienced. Their reactions were very different according to the profiles and the nationalities. I had to struggle several times to gain professional respect. You have to be very skillful because as a woman you have to defend your position, keep your distance, and overall achieve your goal. But the world has also changed. I’ve come across more respectful and knowledgeable men on more occasions than the typical sexist profile you can imagine when thinking of this industry. There are also many advantages to being a woman in a male environment. They compete quickly, but in front of a woman they try to maintain a more chivalrous attitude. Negotiations are not done the same way.
Oddly enough, it was almost more difficult to defend my place within my company. I came after my husband, and he was very young, at that time we were just a small local store. I never wanted to be “the lady of” and I start from the conviction that you have a place for legitimacy and competence. So in my early years, I graduated and earned a student salary, working alongside my husband, and leading the teams and the business. The hardest times were when I had our children. I always worked until the last day of pregnancy, to the point where my providers made bets that 24 hours after giving birth I would call them. I never considered pregnancy to be an illness, and anyway, no one could replace me. After each child, I worked for about six months, from home, to be able to balance work and motherhood, because my husband went to the office every day. When you come back, it’s very difficult, because people always consider you absent, mother, and you only see the reference of the man, who in this particular case was my husband. And it is an attitude, not only of men, but also of women in a company.
Today, I take it more philosophically. Finding your place is up to you. Strong and confident woman, she can be successful in any industry.
She is the mother of three young children, how do you balance work and family?
Reconciling it is a daily challenge. You always have the feeling that you are not fully covering the needs. Since we have the children, we try to devote the weekends to them. During the week, it’s absolute stress. One way or another, it’s always done. My favorite time is Friday night when I really need a glass of wine and switch off from everything. Guess it must sound like more of a mom. Mistakes are inevitable. I try to give my best to be the super mom, super worker, super wife, but without losing the glamor we are meant to always have. It looks perfect, but I admit that sometimes I end up being exhausted, wanting to wear a bag and pajamas. But I wouldn’t see myself living any other way.
Everyone says it’s hard to work with your partner, how do you get along with your husband?
I wouldn’t change it for nothing. I am convinced that a couple is tough if they both always look in the same direction. There are many ways to achieve this, but there are also a lot of couples who end up breaking up, which is why life itself takes them away. We have the same project, a common goal and that unites a lot. The key is to separate work and family life. The perfect formula does not exist. Everyone must find their balance. We complement each other wonderfully. My husband runs the business and I am responsible for purchasing. Segregation of duties allows both of us to have our own space. We fight very little, maybe twice a year.
In addition to work, do you also have time to indulge in other non-professional activities?
The truth is, I have very little time left, but I’m trying to make the most of what I have. My time for playing sports is sacred. One hour a day to clear your mind. Then I have the weekends with family and friends. We were still working, but when our first daughter was born we decided to set aside that time. It’s a good balance. Let’s see if we can have a little more time in a few years to be able to travel longer.
Do you do sports?
Sport is my lifeblood and I try to spend an hour a day exercising. Depending on my environment, I can’t stand it if I don’t have the opportunity to practice it. I do strength training and HIIT with a trainer. Whenever I can, I go hiking or downhill skiing with my husband. A few months ago, I also started yoga. Before, I denied that it was not a sport, but I found it to be a great discipline. Not only for the body, but also for the mind, concentration and relaxation.
Do you have a hobby?
My hobby is orthomolecular medicine. I am fascinated by epigenetics. Since I don’t have time to read during the day, I dedicate my moments, movement or morning shower, to audio books. The effects of nutrition, supplements, sport on the body fascinate me. We can achieve incredible health with these tools. To launch or participate in a project in this field would one day be my dream.
What do you expect from your professional future?
Funny, why did they ask me the same question in my senior year? And I said I wanted a stressful job and a BMW. So I will keep saying the same thing.
I do not aspire to anything in particular. I’m obviously delighted to achieve our goals and to see the business continue to grow, but I don’t know of any entrepreneur who wouldn’t have reacted in the same way. The most important thing of all, and I repeat this to my children over and over again, is to get up every day to do your job. I hope I still have this passion. We are all going through lower and lower times, and we have had very difficult times in our business, but working with positive stress and making your decisions freely is something that fulfills me a lot. I want to achieve our goals and continue to grow as a person in the face of the business challenges we face every day.
What about your personal future?
For me, my family is the most important of all. If I can enjoy my children and my partner every day I am happy. What I hope to achieve is to be able to free ourselves a little from the pressure of the work that we undergo daily and to be able to travel more, to teach children about the world.
I might have a chance to continue my hobby and turn it into a new project in a few years. Continue with health and energy to share dinners and good wines in the company of my friends. I consider myself very lucky, if I can only enjoy these beautiful things that life gives us.
Ada Jenny Amengual
Date and place of birth : 23.02.1983 Luxembourg
Civil status: Married
Children : a 10 year old girl, an 8 year old girl and a 5 year old boy
Baccalaureate: Athénée du Luxembourg, in Luxembourg
Franco-German law: in Germany, Faculty of Saarbrücken Diploma in international business: in Strasbourg, Grandjean Business School.
Additional work during studies: model in Luxembourg and Milan. Waitress in the trendy Cat Club bar in Luxembourg on weekends. Both activities, for two years.
In 2005 he started, at AeroAutofactoria Luxemburg, improvised. There she met who is today her husband, partner and father of their children. He began to help and learn how the business worked, shortly after leaving his career in law. The following years pass between cars and planes, boosting trade and carrying out increasingly important operations.
In 2006 they moved to Spain to create a subsidiary and in 2008 they officially opened, with the launch of the first industrial workshop certified by DEKRA Germany, in Catalonia.
In 2013, they opened a Honda dealership in Luxembourg. In 2014, they built a 12,000 m2 multi-brand sales center in Germany and a 6,000 m2 showroom. In 2016, they dedicated themselves to the development of the 3 fleet management companies that they lead. In 2017, they created the Andorran company Caropticom, a marketing, digital management and IT development platform. In 2018, they developed a logistics center in Germany, with two new warehouses of more than 30,000 m2 accumulated. And in 2020, they acquire a building in Luxembourg for the launch of a premium vehicle sales center. In 15 years, she has had an incredible professional career, as Ada and her husband lead a group of 110 employees, generate sales of 160 million and sell 14,000 cars per year. He has been in Andorra for 3 years and is developing a digital project, linked to the automotive world, which will be a great revolution for the sector.
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Article first published in Dona Secret