Specialising in road trains for tourist destinations and visitor attractions, Dotto’s first train was produced in 1962 by company founder Ivo Dotto and as is the case with so many manufacturers serving the amusement ride industry in Italy, members of the family continue to run the business today.
With an extensive range of road trains, along with two electrically driven track models, Dotto products are to be found around the world in a variety of venues including historic towns, tourists destinations, seaside resorts and, of course, amusement and theme parks. Its strongest markets are the towns and tourist areas, with two thirds of its production being sold to such places, while the company’s strongest market area is Europe, with Italy itself being an important market.
“Italy is coming up again,” said vice-president Sabrina Carraro. “Ironically, it was the last European country where a train could not run on public roads with more than one carriage and the tractor (engine) unit. We have fought for years for a special law for trains as all the other countries took EC legislation on board to allow this. It was not until May 2007 that Italy finally introduced a special law for touristic trains. Up to now the home market has always been very small, with 80 or 90 per cent of our production being exported. So it took a long time to get a return on investment for customers in Italy, but now the percentages are changing for Italy and more customers are coming back to us to buy more carriages.”
Indeed, Italy’s Ministry of Transport visited Dotto and consulted with the company when revising the law, and continues to work with the company in this area.
With new development projects always on the go, the latest model to be introduced is the “green” train, while Dotto is also now revising its modern train model, the City Roamer.
“Every year emission controls are revised, “ explained Carraro, “so about every two years we must look at this aspect of our trains. The first new version of the modern train is due to go to a Swiss client and will feature a revised engine to meet new regulations.
“We don’t change the bodies of the trains very often,” she continued, “but do a lot of work on the technical side. Every two years, from a technical point of view, the trains are very different as a result of new regulations or because we find new technical elements which allow us to improve things.
“We also concentrate a lot on customer service and maintenance as this is very important for the client to have. Even in August, when many companies close for annual holidays, we have our customer care office open throughout this period.”
As has been mentioned, Dotto’s customer base includes municipalities, local authorities, trade fair centres and resorts, as well as the parks industry, with clients having a wide choice of vehicle to choose from to suit their specific needs. These include the Classic Line featuring the Muson River, Zeus, P90 and Sirius; the Modern Line, with the City Roamer; the Funny Train Line, featuring the Big Coast to Coast, the Green Express, the Coast to Coast and the Circus; and the On Rails Line, with the 507 Electric and the 60 Electric. Petrol, diesel, eco diesel, gas and electric powered locomotives are available, depending on the model, and a selection of coaches designed to accompany each tractor unit is also on offer.
“Parks are a different situation to towns and tourist clients when it comes to investing in a train,” noted Carraro. “The latter, when they decide to buy, realise soon after that it’s a good way to transport people and gives a good return on investment, so this still ensures a particularly strong market sector.”
Also among developments at Dotto has been the opening of another company, Carraro 2002, which currently sells trains in Italy, Germany, Switzerland and Austria. With premises close to the existing Dotto head office and factory, Carraro 2002 will also provide a large showroom area for the company’s products, while in the near future it will begin to produce the frames for locomotives and coaches.