Germany's Mann + Hummel GmbH is widening its global view, with plans to expand to its east even as the firm's North American unit continues its own growth.
The automotive supplier is laying out proposals for joint ventures in India and Russia. Those sites would build on recent growth in China and South Korea in Asia, and the Czech Republic in Eastern Europe.
``We think we can cover with this the next interesting emerging markets,'' said Wilfried Lehr, managing director of Mann + Hummel's Automotive Original Equipment Division, at the Society of Automotive Engineers 2005 World Congress in Detroit.
Mann + Hummel, based in Ludwigsburg, Germany, has a target of 10 percent growth per year, which it expects to achieve by bringing new products in the market, increasing sales in existing markets and expanding globally, he said.
North America has been doing its share toward the firm's total 1.25 billion euros ($1.6 billion) in sales for 2004, said Claude Mathieu, president and chief executive officer of M+H's North American division. The company rang up $120 million in sales for 2004 and expects annual growth of 13-15 percent on its way to a target of $200 million in the region.
That growth will include production of an all-plastic oil module, a first for North America. Mann + Hummel first started production for the module in Europe, where it replaced a unit encased in metal. When customer Volkswagen AG began making the same engine in Mexico, the supplier made certain its new Mexico factory in Queretaro would be able to produce it as well.
The firm uses injection molding and blow molding within its North American operations, making air and oil filters, reservoirs and air-intake manifolds from its U.S. manufacturing sites in South Bend, Ind., and Portage, Mich.
At the SAE show, the company showed engine parts including a thermoplastic cylinder-head cover with an integrated air-intake manifold, and an engine cover that integrates the air cleaner.
The company is altering its footprint to refine its manufacturing, Lehr said.
Mann + Hummel will shift manufacturing, warehousing and advanced development planning now in three sites in France and one in Belgium to one centralized location in Laval, France, he said.
In November, it signed a letter of intent with Wako Industrial Co. Ltd. of Tokyo to develop air and oil filters in Japan, he said.
Its two joint ventures in China - in Shanghai and Changchun - are growing while M+H will take a majority ownership of its joint venture in South Korea in 2006, where it makes air filters and oil filters in Young-Si and Hwengsong.
The company still is finalizing its plans for both India and Russia, Lehr said.