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'Growth is currently not our main aim'

Safety all around the wheel: Beissbarth Automotive Group refocuses on its core business

Munich. Beissbarth Automotive Group is refocusing on its core business, the service sector.

"We want to take good care of all customers that have something to do with wheels," says managing director Jean-Loup Bourjot. He is primarily thinking of repair workshops and chains for tires.

The Munich company, which has been part of France's Facom Holding since 1997, "has gone through hard times," he says. For the past two years the corporation has been working on managing the turnaround.

Growth currently is not the main aim, says Bourjot.

To ensure profitability the company wants to concentrate on axle alignment, its core business. "This is Beissbarth's origin and we established our reputation here," says Bourjot.

He also says the group's second core competence comes from the acquisition of Sicam, an Italian manufacturer of tire fitting racks and wheel balancing machines.

Bourjot does not believe that it is a good idea for companies supplying automotive repair shops to offer all products. "The most successful companies in our industry concentrate on one or two activities," he says.

That is why the Munich-based company has reduced its product range. Another factor is the national - rather than European - character of this part of the business.

"There is a big difference between what German customers want and what Italians or French want," says Bourjot.

Beissbarth plans to launch a new axle alignment technology in 2006. Contrary to how other systems work, "there is no contact between measuring instrument and car," in the Beissbarth product, says Bourjot.

He says that axle alignment could in future be done within seconds with this contact-free technology. "And if the axle alignment then indicates faults, the repair shop can sell the service necessary in a convincing way to its customers."

The Beissbarth Group had sales of 154 million euros in 2004. The target for 2005 is approximately 160 million euros.

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