Brose North America President Jan Kowal: Pricing pressures are a big concern.
Brose North America Inc., part of Brose Fahrzeugteile GmbH & Co., expects $630 million in sales in 2007, thanks to the addition of its seat adjuster business next year. Jan Kowal, president of Brose North America, said the unit had $248 million in sales last year.
Kowal, 51, discussed his growth plans with Staff Reporter Julie Armstrong.
Are you on track to reach your target of $294 million this year in North American sales?
We are a little bit behind because a couple of products have been postponed by the customer.
Which projects were postponed?
I am not allowed to answer this question.
Who is your largest automaker customer in North America?
We have pretty good distribution between Ford, General Motors and DaimlerChrysler, but Ford is going to grow to be the largest. We are achieving a market share of about 20 percent with all the customers we have.
Today on the market we have only three divisions: window regulators, door modules and latches. In the States, of a $280 million business this year, door modules are $93 million and window regulators are even bigger. Latches are only 10 percent of our total.
You're going to ramp up the seat business next year, right? Who is your customer?
Yes. Johnson Controls is going to be the Tier 1.
How far along are your new plants in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and London, Ontario?
Tuscaloosa is built and starting the pilot production. We will be having pilot production next year for our London plant.
What will you build at each plant ?
We will be producing door modules in Tuscaloosa for Mercedes.
We have other orders which could be built there, but we haven't made the decision that it is going to be there. For London, it's going to be seat adjusters to start with for Johnson Controls and, in 2006, door modules, too.
Looking ahead, what are your top three challenges? What's keeping you awake at night?
Cost pressure, of course, with tremendous pressure coming from the Big 3, who because of their legacy costs, have to be even more creative in purchasing. This in combination with increasing prices in raw materials.
What profit margin are you seeking?
Our goal is to keep 5 percent net profit globally, but we are not there.
You may e-mail Julie Armstrong at [email protected]