SRG Global Inc.'s product portfolio ranges from grilles to coating finishes. Grilles, which make up the supplier's biggest product by volume, now must include lightweight options, says CEO Dave Prater, 56, who spoke with Staff Reporter Jack Walsworth.
Q: How will SRG's products adapt in the lightweighting era?
A:There are a couple of really good opportunities. The first would be the active grille shutter. Today, a lot of vehicles have a standalone shutter system that sits behind the grille, representing an additional assembly. By integrating it into the back of the grille or into the face of the grille, we can take two parts into one. One part will be lighter than two, and it creates added functionality in terms of reducing the coefficient of drag on the vehicle.
And the second?
It's something we call thermal plate. It's a high-temperature resin that can be plated. We're working with several of our customers right now. If you look at the bezel design exhaust system on a luxury vehicle, you'll see the stainless steel bezel at the end of it. We're able to replace that with a high-heat polymer plating.
Is the number of finishes decreasing?
I don't see the number decreasing, because consumers continue to want something to differentiate their vehicles. When I joined in 2009, we had a handful of finishes: basic bright chromes, satins, platinums and many colors of body color paint for spoilers and bodyside panels. Over the last several years, a lot of our customers are looking to go darker, with more darker chrome and more various shades of satin or finishes that look more like aluminum. We have an advanced development center in Taylor, Mich., where we're able to develop alternate finishes for customers. We've gone from what was a handful to north of 20 potential finishes now.
What finish is popular today?
Customers all have various shades they like for styling. But bright is still the single largest portion of chrome that you see.