One of the outstanding winners in Europe's diesel boom has been German supplier Beru, based in Ludwigsburg near Stuttgart.
The publicly owned company is a market leader in diesel cold-start technology, and tops the global glow plug sector with an estimated 40 percent share.
Beru describes its corporate growth pattern as virtually the same as the growth in global diesel passenger car sales. It reported sales of E303.1 million in its most recent 2001-2002 financial year and is one of the most profitable European suppliers.
Although growth in diesel cold-start systems stagnated in the first nine months of Beru's financial year, ending December 1, 2002, earnings before interest and tax were strong at 17.6 percent of sales.
And the company is optimistic that new orders for its ISS quick start systems for the new Volkswagen Golf platform will raise diesel system sales this year. The electronically controlled system overcomes the traditional start-up lag of diesel engines.
BMW and Isuzu have also ordered the system, and the new Mercedes-Benz six-cylinder diesel will take it from 2004, with the eight-cylinder following in 2005.
Beru has used its success in the diesel sector to develop additional business areas in electronics and sensors, such as the tire-pressure monitoring systems it's marketing with Lear in the USA.
Beru's new CEO, Marco von Maltzan, expects sales to resume an upward trend and grow by 10 percent in fiscal 2003-2004.