Several Tier 1 suppliers based in Europe are investing heavily and forming joint ventures in Asia
European investment in Asia soars
The Swedish safety systems supplier formed a joint venture last September in Changchun, China.
Autoliv Maw Hung Vehicle Safety Systems is 59 percent owned by Autoliv and 41 percent by Maw Hung Industrial.
The partnership includes the existing assets and business of seat-belt supplier Changchun Engley. The new company will also offer airbags and a range of sophisticated safety system solutions. Initial contracts are for the Audi A6 and Volkswagen Jetta, and for local Chinese automakers.
Germany's Hella-Behr-Fahrzeugsys-teme formed a 50-50 joint venture in February 2002 with South Korean supplier Samlip. The joint venture has won contracts for front-end modules from Hyundai and Kia, and plans to build three production sites in Korea. It expects to produce 500,000 front-end modules per year at these plants from 2004.
Germany's Benteler Automotive established a joint venture with Shanghai Huizhong Automotive (China) in January 2002 to produce chassis components for several different vehicle manufacturers. Through this, Benteler built a plant in Shanghai that makes chassis components. Production began in 2002.
France's Faurecia formed a joint venture last October with GSK to produce automotive seating at Wuhan, China.
The new company, FGW, is 51 percent owned by Faurecia and 49 percent by GSK. The company is providing complete seats for the Citroen Xsara and Picasso, which are made by Dongfeng-Citroen Auto-mobile in Wuhan. Production will reach full capacity by 2004 with sales of about E30 million.
In March 2002, Faurecia formed a joint venture with South Korean catalytic converter specialist Daeki Industrial. Faurecia is now the primary shareholder of Daeki Industrial with a 49 percent stake and has an option to increase this to 51 percent.
In March 2002, UK supplier GKN acquired 51 percent of Mahindra Sintered Products (India) from partner Mahindra and Mahindra. GKN paid £9.35 million (E15.3 million) for the stake, which gives it 100 percent ownership of the largest powder metals components manufacturer in India.
Also in March 2002, GKN paid 5.1 billion yen (E44.2 million) to acquire a 33.3 percent stake in Tochigi Fuji Sangyo, a leading Japanese supplier of driveline components.
GKN also has the right to buy additional shares in Tochigi Fuji that would increase its total stake to 50.4 percent. Together, the two companies expect to be the world's largest independent suppliers of torque management devices.
GKN also has a 20.4 percent stake in Tochigi Fuji Industrial, which it bought from Nissan. Tochigi Fuji specializes in powertrain parts.
In February, Germany's Kolben-schmidt Pierburg took over from Mazda the pistons business of Micro-techno Corp. in Hiroshima, Japan.
The facility has sales of E20 million a year.
French supplier Saint-Gobain established a joint venture company with Nippon Sheet Glass in July 2002. The new company is called NSG Vetrotex and is based in Tsu, near Nagoya, Japan. Saint-Gobain owns 60 percent of the new company.
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