Sales growth of 13 percent to EUR 340 million – demand for components for electric drive technologies increasing all the time – investments of EUR 100 million planned for 2018 – expansion of Rankweil site to continue. Hirschmann Automotive will invest around EUR 100 million in its sites in 2018.
Rankweil (Wirtschaftspresseagentur.com) – The Rankweil-headquartered global automobile supplier Hirschmann Automotive GmbH expects to achieve sales of around EUR 340 million for the 2017 financial year now ending. That is an increase of 13 percent from 2016, explained CEO Volker Buth and CFO Thomas Mayer in an interview with Wirtschaftspresseagentur.com. With this growth, Hirschmann has surpassed its 2016 result, when the company posted growth of nine percent and generated a business volume of more than EUR 300 million for the first time. The earnings situation is described as satisfactorily positive.
Tesla among Its Customers
Hirschmann Automotive develops and produces plug connectors, contact and sensor systems, special cable solutions, and plastic overmolds for various vehicle components by customer order. Exports account for more than 95 percent of the company’s sales, and its customers include European premium vehicle manufacturers. In addition, Hirschmann has counted one of the three big US car manufacturers among its customers since 2016. In the same year, electric vehicle producer Tesla also became a new customer.
Growing Twice as Fast as the Market
Buth and Mayer explained developments in 2017 by citing the fact that the company managed to grow twice as fast as the market. “This enabled us to expand our market share,” they said, adding that Hirschmann is very competitively positioned and has the technologies required for this. Although the automobile supplier was able to make gains in all sales regions, it achieved particularly high growth in the US market, Buth and Mayer said. In a best-case scenario, the company could post double-digit growth again in the 2018 financial year.
Fifty Percent of New Projects Already Involve High-Voltage Products
The international trend for electric drive technologies is having an increasing impact on Hirschmann’s order books, too. In 2016, for example, high-voltage products (approximately 400 volts) for electric and hybrid vehicles accounted for just 10 percent of incoming new projects. “This year, EUR 50 million of the total new project volume of around EUR 100 million came from high-voltage products alone. That’s 50 percent, or half of new projects,” Buth and Mayer reported. The momentum on the market for electric and hybrid vehicles is sufficient evidence in and of itself. However, conventional vehicle drive systems in the low-voltage range (14 volts) are developing all the time and generating corresponding demand among suppliers too, Buth and Mayer said.
5,000 Employees in the Group – 1,000 in Vorarlberg Alone
Hirschmann Automotive has development, production, and sales locations in Rankweil, Nantong (China), and San Miguel (Mexico), as well as three further production sites in Târgu Mureș (Romania), Vsetín (the Czech Republic), and Kenitra (Morocco) that come under the auspices of the Rankweil headquarters. The company also has sales offices in Detroit in the US and in Shanghai. The Group has a workforce of around 5,000 employees, of whom about 1,000 work in Rankweil alone. The headcount here has been increased by 170 employees since 2016. Hirschmann already employs 1,500 people in Morocco, for instance, and a further 250 in Nantong.
Investments of EUR 60 Million in 2017
Hirschmann is pushing ahead with the investment program it has been running for years. This year alone, some EUR 60 million were invested in the Group’s various locations. At the Vorarlberg site, construction work was completed on a new canteen and employee center, a central laboratory, a new apprentices’ workshop, and a new building for tool construction. In Kenitra, Morocco, production space was doubled to around 28,000 square meters.
New Central Warehouse in Rankweil
In the 2018 financial year, Hirschmann Automotive is planning to invest some EUR 100 million in the Group. Among other things, the money will go toward doubling the production space at the Nantong site in China to an area of 20,000 square meters. Work on this project got under way in October 2017 and is scheduled to be completed in December 2018. The site in Vsetín in the Czech Republic will be expanded by 15,000 square meters in 2018 to create space for tool construction, injection molding technology, and automation. This project is also expected to be finished in December 2018. And at the end of 2018, construction work will get under way in Rankweil on a new, fully automated central warehouse for the European sites, Buth and Mayer said. It is due for completion in 2019.
A Sector of the Future: Autonomous Driving
Besides the trend for electric drive systems, Hirschmann Automotive has also increased its focus on a field that will be of particular importance in the future: autonomous driving. One of the prerequisites for self-driving vehicles are multigigabit networks in the vehicles with transfer speeds of up to 20 gigabits per second. That is roughly what is required to transmit videos in real time. Since current speeds are about eight gigabits per second, a group was set up in mid-2017 with the objective of developing the required components. In addition, the associated product management was established and the laboratory expanded at the start of the year, the two managers explained.
Hirschmann Automotive has been owned by fruit-juice manufacturers and brothers Franz and Roman Rauch since 2003.