Carlo Vichi, a historic Milanese entrepreneur and founder of Mivar, who for years made the televisions of Italian families, left us . With him closes the story of a company that had made customer service, competitive prices and technological innovation the main cornerstones of its success. Even in recent times, despite having turned 98 this year, Vichi continued to think about the evolution of his company trying not to give way to major foreign competitors.
The beginnings of Mivar in the Milanese hinterland
The VAR (Vichi Apparecchi Radio) was born after the Second World War in Milan where Carlo Vichi began with the production of radio sets. But it was only with the advent of television that Mivar assumed a predominant role in the panorama of Italian companies . In fact, starting from the 70s with the development of cathode ray tube TV, the company grew enormously, bringing, among other things, its headquarters to the new plant in Abbiategrasso.
Visionary in adapting to technological developments, Carlo Vichi rode the waves of the great changes of the last century. First the transition from radio to television, then the introduction of color and then subsequent improvements such as stereo audio or teletext.
Mivar produced very high numbers of black and white and color televisions, collecting up to over 30% of the Italian market in its moments of glory. The assistance network was widespread and the prices much more advantageous than other multinationals, making Mivar TVs the ideal choice for families who wanted to afford this device without spending out of the ordinary figures.
The revolution of the 2000s and the decline
With the advent of plasma and LCD technology, Mivar once again attempted to reinvent itself as it had done with radio decades earlier. The production was converted to allow the creation of new flat screen televisions but the market had changed over the years. If before it could count on the economic advantage of its prices, with the movement of the multinationals 'activities in emerging countries such as China and Turkey, the Italian company was no longer able to keep pace with its competitors' downward policy.
Over time, internal production was also suspended in favor of purchasing part of the components, such as LCD screens, from other companies. However, relying solely on the network of small distributors, the company did not stand up to fierce competition and around 2013 it definitively closed its production .
It remained a small outpost of employees destined for after-sales technical assistance and who had to dedicate themselves to the maintenance of Mr. Vichi's ideal factory, which nevertheless never went into operation.
Carlo Vichi, Mr. Mivar
A man who has marked a part of Italian history, succeeding in the realization of his company under the imposing thrust of the economic boom. As many newspapers have defined , Mivar was Vichi and Vichi was Mivar, so much so that the project for the new production site of the company was partly designed by him .
Unfortunately, however, that colossus that remained empty was a defeat that led Vichi, in the early 2000s, to ask for support from the large multinationals to bring the production of their televisions to his factory, free of charge. The owner of the company, however, did not lose heart with a last renovation in 2013: the beginning of the production of furniture mainly intended for self-service and canteens. He concluded an interview by saying “Those who don't work don't live”: an emblematic phrase that embodies the essence of Vichi and his ideology behind Mivar.
Thus ends the story of another great Italian company between lights and shadows, which for several decades has guaranteed work to many people. The hope is to have more and more companies that, like Mivar, are able to provide work and innovate at the same time.