Italian brake maker Brembo is small compared with brake giants such as Robert Bosch and Continental.
Big issues important to small Brembo
Brembo Executive Deputy Chairman Matteo Tiraboschi, 51, knows Brembo needs to grow — revenues rose 6 percent to $1.5 billion in the first half of 2018. But he tells Automotive News Europe Associate Publisher and Editor Luca Ciferri and Correspondent Andrea Malan that Brembo is watching the same issues as its bigger competitors.
Q: Have you been hit by steel tariffs?
A: So far, so good — touch wood. We haven't because we produce in the U.S. and buy steel there.
How would a tariff war affect your business?
On paper it shouldn't be a problem, as we keep production and sales geographically aligned, even for brake calipers. In the real world, our customers will be affected; so we will, too. If the U.S. imposes a 25 percent tariff on a Porsche made in Germany, which we supply, the eventual drop in sales volume will affect us.
Brembo supplies BMW's U.S. plant. Let's suppose BMW moves half of its production to Europe to avoid European tariffs on U.S.-made products. How do you replace the lost business in the U.S.?
Our U.S. salespeople will have to wake up every morning with an idea about finding new customers. Actually, we could manage these kinds of figures with our plant flexibility; bigger numbers would be a problem.
In your world, you own all the relevant intellectual property, the products and the tooling. Can any of your customers get the rights to a specific design?
A brake caliper is not like a tire; it is specific to a car. I cannot take a caliper made for a Mercedes and put it on a BMW or vice versa; it is physically impossible.
Each caliper is tailor-made, and we always have here at least 70 cars to test for development of the brakes, together with the customer.
That is true for discs, too. Our aftermarket department has several thousand product codes and each year has to develop all the ones for newly launched cars.