Automakers are racing to load vehicles with more features and gadgets, and the innovative companies that help them supply that content are reaping a revenue bonanza.
During 2004, aggregate revenues for the Automotive News Europe list of top 100 global original-equipment parts suppliers grew 13 percent compared with 2003. The top 10 suppliers on that list grew 12.9 percent. That comes despite global vehicle sales growing just 6.1 percent.
Even with static sales in North America and Europe, "there's a tremendous amount of content that adds revenue," says Jim Gillette, an analyst with CSM Worldwide.
Power sliding door and liftgate mechanism supplier Mitsui Kinzoku of Japan was the fastest growing company in the top 100. Its worldwide sales increased 59 percent over 2003 to $1.14 billion (E947 million).
Suppliers that can develop such electronic devices that replace mechanical functions will gain in this market, says Dave Royce, manager of corporate strategy for Siemens VDO in the US. The German company is No. 10 on the list.