With an estimated $6.7 billion in worldwide parts sales to automakers in fiscal 2014 and nearly 35,000 employees worldwide, Toyoda Gosei Co. would appear to be the very definition of a global supplier.
But President Tadashi Arashima, 65, does not see it that way. Although Toyoda Gosei ranks No. 37 on the Automotive News list of the top 100 global suppliers, 65 percent of its revenue comes from Toyota Motor Corp.
Three years ago, the company announced plans to reduce its dependence on Toyota and sell more components to other automakers. During an interview with Special Correspondent David Sedgwick, Arashima critiqued his company's progress.
Q: In 2012, Toyoda Gosei formed a plan to become a global supplier with significant sales to non-Toyota customers. How's it going?
A: I think we're on track. We haven't really seen much visible change in our sales figures yet. Even if we get a contract, it takes three, four or five years for a new car to come out. But we have expanded our non-Toyota business quite significantly, and there is more to come. We sowed the seeds, and now we will grow.
So Toyoda Gosei is getting new contracts?
Exactly. We are now in operation in Brazil, and we have built two new plants in Mexico. And we are constructing a new facility in India right now. So we have a number of new projects outside Japan.
Toyota represents 65 percent of Toyoda Gosei's sales. Does Toyoda Gosei still aim to reduce that to 50 percent by 2020?
Yes, but this is still a stretch, I think.
And will non-Japanese customers generate 30 percent of Toyoda Gosei's sales, up from 10 percent?
That is also a stretch.
So it's a slow process, and the competition isn't giving anything away?
A year ago, Toyoda Gosei acquired Meteor, a German supplier of rubber components. What did that achieve?
This gave us access to Daimler, BMW and Audi.
Is Toyoda Gosei still looking to make acquisitions?
I don't rule out future opportunities, but at this moment we have no intention to [buy] additional businesses.
Does Toyoda Gosei still aim to increase North American sales to $1.8 billion by 2018?
Yes, and I think we are very close to it.