Heuliez wants more business from German automakers

Kehl, Germany. French coachbuilder Heuliez has opened an office in Kehl, Germany, near the French border, to help it win new business from German car manufacturers.

"It is a neutral location," says Bernard Girard, Heuliez international sales director.

Heuliez built around 180,000 Citroen models between 1992 and 2001. But, says Girard, the company is no longer just an "extended workbench" for PSA/Peugeot-Citroen.

"Last year we opened an office in Seoul in Korea," says Girard. "We aim to offer not only production but also development services worldwide."

Heuliez plans to open a plant in eastern Europe by the end of this year, and is examining locations in North America in cooperation with an unnamed potential partner. Heuliez achieved sales of around 500 million euros in 2004.

The company is particularly strong in the market for steel folding tops. Heuliez developed the roof module for the Peugeot 206CC Coupe convertible, which it builds alongside the Opel Tigra TwinTop at its plant in Cerizay, western France.

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