Plastics have seen increased opportunities to get onto North American-made cars and trucks as automakers work to improve their fleets' fuel economy. But the real growth lies ahead, when the need to reduce mass from today's cars climbs to 15 percent and higher.
Johnson Controls Inc. plans to build 10 new seat plants in China over the next five years to offset a sluggish market in Europe and a more modest expansion in North America. Speaking during a meeting with investors Wednesday, company CEO Steve Roell said he remains "bullish" on China. "We think it will continue to prosper, though not as fast as it has been," he said. Johnson Controls currently has 56 plants in China -- some wholly owned and some joint ventures -- that generate $5 billion (31 billion yuan) in sales. Roell did not offer any details about the new sites.
An antitrust investigation into automotive wiring harnesses has spread across three continents and involves at least seven international auto suppliers. Investigators from the FBI raided the U.S. headquarters of Denso Corp., Yazaki North America Inc. and Tokai Rika Group North America, including its Tram Inc. unit; the European Commission carried out "unannounced inspections" of companies in Europe; and Japan's Fair Trade Commission raided offices of Sumitomo Electric Industries Ltd., Yazaki Corp. and Furukawa Electric Co.