DETROIT -- Mann+Hummel Group plans to double its North American sales and manufacturing operations by 2010.
The company reported $120 million in North American sales in 2002, the first year that it broke even here. North America makes up about 15 percent of the company's business, which is based in Ludwigsburg, Germany.
Mann+Hummel will invest as much as $50 million in North American plant expansions in the next seven years, says Claude Mathieu, CEO of Mann+Hummel Automotive Inc.
The automotive unit, which makes up about 75 percent of Mann+Hummel Group's global business, supplies air filter and intake manifold systems, liquid filter systems and cabin filters to automakers.
Mann+Hummel expects to expand all those businesses in North America.
"We will do that through injection molding, which is what we use to produce plastic manifolds and to produce air cleaners," Mathieu says, "but also with blow molding because some part of the air-induction system can be produced by blow molding."
Mann+Hummel was awarded the air-cleaner contract for the 2005 Ford Freestyle sport wagon. It already had won the air cleaner contract for the Mercury Marauder sedan.
Mann+Hummel last year acquired the air induction and technical parts unit of Solvay Automotive. Mann+Hummel plans to expand its injection-molding operations in South Bend, Ind., and Tlalnepantla, Mexico.
The U.S. expansion also will include blow molding capabilities in order to produce integrated air-induction systems for North America.
But Mann+Hummel isn't relying only on Solvay for global growth.
"We are now shareholders in the biggest filter manufacturer in Korea," says Dieter Seipler, CEO of Mann+Hummel Group, speaking of a company now called Dong Woo Mann+Hummel. "We have a second joint venture in China. We also work on some projects in Japan. But we do not yet have any direct acquisitions. We'll think about it."
But don't expect Mann+Hummel Automotive to diversify too much.
Says Seipler: "We're not working on fuel injection or electronics."