French evolution

From the September 2017 issue.

Under new ownership and fuelled by a booming European refrigerated transport market, French OEM Chereau has reinvented itself as a high-tech brand with a strong data focus.

Eighteen months ago, French OEM Chereau – a brand with a long and proud tradition in the design and manufacture of refrigerated transport equipment – became part of the newly formed ‘Reefer Group’, a holding established by Spanish private equity firm, Muira, in the wake of the Eurozone crisis.

In what is widely considered the most profound corporate restructure in the company’s history, Chereau found itself directly connected to Valencia-based rival and fellow Reefer Group affiliate, SOR Iberica – prompting it to reassess not only the product portfolio, but the very value proposition the brand was built upon.

The result is a refreshed, more focused organisation, according to newly appointed CEO, Damien Destremau. “In joining the Reefer Group, both manufacturers have widened their scope,” he says, readily admitting that Chereau has pledged to stay clear of the Spanish market and vice versa. “Both brands are now positioned differently. A SOR trailer is simpler and generally has fewer technological features on board, for example, meaning it is also less expensive.”

Chereau, meanwhile, has developed a distinct technological edge with a strong focus on data management and telematics integration to differentiate it from the new sibling and react to unmet industry demand: According to Destremau, providing “clever solutions” that benefit the driver in the field is not enough anymore in the digital age, with more and more fleets now demanding real time updates on key metrics such as load temperature and door lock status.

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