A brake supplier with roots in the U.S. auto industry going back almost 100 years is now out to crack a new market: the U.S. auto industry.
Chassis Brakes International was created in 2012 out of the former global holdings of Bendix Corp. but with a contractual prohibition on doing business in North America until 2015. The company has spent the last six years biding its time and growing its business in Europe, Asia, India and South America.
Now, with a newly opened plant in Mexico, an engineering center in suburban Detroit and — just like old times — a supplier contract with Ford Motor Co., on public display this year in the Ranger pickup, Chassis Brakes is throwing off the shackles and reintroducing itself to the market that spawned it.
"A lot of people in North America have never heard of Chassis Brakes," acknowledged Dennis Berry, president of the company's Americas region. "But we returned as soon as we could. Now, we see great growth possibilities."
Berry, a manufacturing engineer who started his career in Peoria, Ill., with Caterpillar, says the brake company will operate more or less like a newcomer — which it is. But its history with North American customers is too old and established to be discounted. He forecasts North American sales of $200 million in 2021 or 2022, based on new contracts in the pipeline, and longer-range sales of $500 million.