A new joint venture has redrawn the map in one of the industrys fastest-growing and most fiercely competitive sectors front-end modules.
The partnership between Hella-Behr Fahrzeugsysteme GmbH and Plastic Omnium, called HBPO, will be a powerful force in the industry.
Valeo, which also has a joint venture with Plastic Omnium, is Europes market leader for front-end modules. Valeo delivered 1 million modules in 2003.
HBPO expects to deliver 2 million front ends a year to automakers within two years.
It will account for 1.25 million of the 3.5 million to 4 million outsourced front-end modules assembled worldwide. Combined sales will total $433 million in 2004.
The partners will have a total of eight plants in countries such as Germany, Slovakia, Spain, Mexico, Korea and the Czech Republic.
German companies Hella, a lighting and electronics specialist, and Behr, a heat exchanger expert, formed Hella-Behr Fahrzeugsysteme GmbH in 1999 to offer front-end modules to automakers.
Plastic Omnium, which is based in France, specializes in exterior body part and modules.
The front-end module segment is on the verge of huge growth, says Thomas Hedenborg, the former CEO of Hella-Behr who is now chief of the new joint venture, HBPO.