Brembo S.p.A.'s brake systems have crossed the Atlantic many times over the past 50 years on some of the world's most exclusive imported sports cars. But the Italian supplier's first foray into the United States came in 1992 when it secured a contract to supply high-performance brakes on what was then a new V-10 sports car, the Dodge Viper.
Now, 20 years later, Brembo has opened its first U.S. manufacturing plant in Homer, Mich., about 100 miles west of Detroit, and is poised to expand North American operations. Brembo is riding the market's fast-recovering volumes and automakers' desire to capitalize on its high-performance brand recognition.
Since opening its headquarters in 2010 outside Detroit, Brembo North America has invested $150 million in the market with plans to invest $100 million over the next few years to expand its presence.
Brembo generated revenue of $300 million in 2011 and expects that figure to climb with new contracts with the Detroit 3 for its Michigan-made brakes. In January, General Motors said it would use Brembo brakes from the Homer plant on the Cadillac ATS and XTS. Brembo also supplies brakes to the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 and Z06, Buick Regal GS, Cadillac CTS-V and Chevy Camaro SS.
Brembo has grown its North American operations to 500 employees in Michigan and Mexico. North America accounts for 20 percent of Brembo's worldwide sales, second only to Germany.