TOKYO -- Aisin Seiki Co. President Fumio Fujimori says the Japanese supplier wants to boost sales by building up business with customers other than Toyota Motor Corp. as part of its restructuring strategy.
Toyota is Aisin's biggest shareholder, with a 23 percent stake, and its top customer. The world's biggest automaker, including group companies Daihatsu Motor Co. and Hino Motors Ltd., accounts for 67 percent of Aisin's sales.
"We are very dependent on Toyota right now. So we would like to increase our share of business outside Toyota," Fujimori told Automotive News during the Tokyo Motor Show.
The fortunes of the drivetrain, brake and chassis maker have waned with Toyota's. For years, both raked in healthy profits. But now both are bracing for their second-straight year of red ink. So Fujimori is slashing costs and seeking to promote higher-margin products.
Fujimori didn't give a target for Toyota's future share of sales. But he said that "generally speaking," half would come from Toyota, the rest from other manufacturers.
Volkswagen AG, Aisin's No. 2 customer after Toyota, stands to see the biggest gains. Aisin's total revenues slid 18 percent last year, but sales to Volkswagen increased 13 percent.
Sales to the Detroit 3 are expected to fall. That reflects the smaller output of the reorganized General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group, Fujimori said. Ford Motor Co. and GM accounted for 4.3 percent of Aisin's sales last year, down from 4.8 percent a year earlier.
In addition to diversifying customers, Fujimori said he is cutting costs with the aim of creating a cost structure that can remain profitable even if sales plunge 30 percent in one year. Aisin projects a 19 percent decline in revenue for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2010.
Fujimori also said Aisin is pushing to bring six-speed automatic transmissions to smaller vehicles. Such gearboxes usually provide better fuel economy, but they are more costly, relegating them to large, expensive cars.
At the Tokyo Motor Show, Aisin introduced a front-wheel-drive six-speed automatic for small cars with engine displacements up to 2.0 liters. Aisin says the new transmission weighs less than its predecessor and delivers an 8.4 percent improvement in fuel economy.