BURGOS, Spain -- Grupo Antolin's E80 million investment in developing new business areas has brought the Spanish supplier its first wins: deals to provide panoramic roofs to General Motors and PSA/Peugeot-Citroen.
Antolin raised the cash to compete against established roof suppliers such as Webasto, Arvin Meritor and Inalfa by selling 20 percent of the company to Spanish banks
Expansion into new business areas is a key part of Antolin's goal of more than doubling its sales in the next five years.
In 2003, the company had sales of E1.48 billion, and was No. 93 in the Automotive News ranking of the Top 100 Global Suppliers.
Antolin's first contracts to provide panoramic roofs are for the new Opel Astra Coupe, due next year, and for the next-generation Citroen Picasso medium minivan, due in late 2006.
"Traditional roofs are changing, and panoramic roofs are now a trend," says Fernando Rey, Grupo Antolin's chief research, marketing and design officer.
"To develop our business in this area, we are bringing in expert knowledge in areas such as materials, acoustics and vibration."
Antolin is also investing its recently raised cash into new plants in China and Mexico.
Its new E12 million plant at Auto-city near Shanghai in China, will supply car headliners to Dongfeng Motors and Ford's China plants, starting in February.
A E30 million factory in Hermosillo, Mexico, will provide window regulators, sunvisors and door modules to car makers in North America.
The manufacture and supply of panoramic roofs is now the company's fourth core business area.
Antolin will also supply the third row of seats for the next-generation Picasso, which will be built at the PSA plant in nearby Vigo, Spain.
The company's biggest customers are Renault and Nissan, accounting for 29.2 percent of business, followed by Volkswagen group (26.32 percent) and Ford (22.48 percent).
Earlier this year, Antolin started production of hard trim pillars for the Ford Focus C-Max medium minivan.