Brembo seeks growth in Americas
Leading European performance brakes brand Brembo is continuing to diversify its global strategy in a bid to tackle sales figures that continue to fall in much of its traditionally strong markets. In the first quarter of 2013, the German and, to a lesser extent based on the relatively good performance of its automotive manufacturing, UK markets were the only two to increase sales, while domestic Italian and southern Europe continued to look weak. However, growing sales in the USA and China are prompting global investment, such as the 115 million euro investment the manufacturer recently announced to expand its US and Brazilian operations. And the company has continued to indulge its penchant for spectacle, with involvement in top-level motorsport series, such as MotoGP and Formula One, and Hollywood blockbusters driving its continued premium brand marketing.
Chairman of Brembo, Alberto Bombassei played up the company’s “revenue and margin growth, despite the challenging economic scenario” in the first quarter of 2013, saying this was “enabled by the extensive internationalisation achieved by the Group over time, as also witnessed by the additional investments planned for the current year. Thanks to its consolidated global presence, the company is in a position to offset the declines in those markets, such as Italy and southern Europe generally, where demand for cars and motorbikes is continuing to show a significant decline.”
Brembo’s 115 million euro investment in the Americas will be spread over the 2013-2015 three-year period, used to expand the Homer industrial hub (Detroit, Michigan), and to move and step up production in the current plant in São Paulo. These investments are in line with the Group’s development strategy aimed at strengthening the productive capacity in the areas where customers are demanding a greater product volume and a higher service level.
In the United States, the investment will total 83 million euros, thus significantly increasing the productive capacity of the Homer industrial hub. The expansion of the plant has become necessary after the acquisition of new businesses and further market shares with our main North American customers, such as Chrysler, General Motors and Ford. This initiative is expected to enable the subsidiary Brembo North America Inc. to double its sales, going from €178.5 million for 2012 to about €350 million for 2015.
In Brazil, €32 million will be used to move the current plant from São Paulo to Santo Antonio de Posse (north of São Paulo), where a larger and more modern plant will be put into operation, enabling the Company to meet its growing production requirements. Also the subsidiary Brembo do Brasil Ltda is thus expected to increase its sales by about 100% in the three-year period, going from €66.6 million for 2012 to about €130 million for 2015.
“Brembo’s investments in the Americas,” stated Bombassei, “support two important areas that continue to perform dynamically and show positive market trends and that are marked by a gradual increase in demand for our products. The company must continue down the path of internationalisation and, in parallel to these measures, it will continue to plan investments not only in expanding markets such as China, India and Eastern Europe, but also in Italy where, although the automotive crisis unfortunately is not showing clear signs of a reversal of the current recessionary trend, we have continued to invest, from 2008 to the present, at a rate of over € 40 million a year.”
Fast & Furious, motorsport
As previously mentioned, Brembo has continued to position itself as a technology leader through visibility in sporting and popular culture contexts. Somewhat accurately described by Brembo as “the main character” in Fast & Furious 6, the 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona uses a dual caliper braking system on the rear for the variety of special and spectacular stunts performed in lieu of human interaction during the movie. Fast & Furious 6 head of transportation Dennis McCarthy called upon Brembo to design the brake system, and the message that such fierce driving skills can only be supported by world-leading braking technology is clearly communicated.
Brembo engineered a unique system, which consisted of a custom dual circuit configuration for the rear with two pair of four-piston aluminium alloy calipers. One pair is used for conventional braking, while the other is connected to a hydraulic handbrake for vehicle dynamic control that establishes drifting; something the movie is well known for.
The discs are 350x28mm wide, and include 72-vane friction surfaces with racing Type III slotting, a two-piece floating construction, with billet aluminium mounting centres and Brembo hardware which allows for better ventilation.
The front system is composed of six-piston lightweight monobloc brake calipers in aluminium alloy, with an integral stiffening bridge along with high performance brake pads that have a large surface area and volume for fade resistance and longevity. The front discs are similar to the rear ones, 350x34mm wide 72-vane friction surfaces with racing Type III slotting as well.
This technology comes from top-level racing programs, and is derived from the Gran Turismo systems available through authorized dealers.
Brembo has also continued to position itself at the forefront of motorsport, and its internationalisation goals are being supported in this way too. Most recently, it became the official media host at the 35th annual Concours d’Elegance of America on Sunday, 28 July, also sponsoring a display of 30 supercars and motorcycles for the third straight year. The Concours brings together a collection of significant and rare cars particularly noted for their design, craftsmanship and style qualities. Some of the supercars on display at this year’s event include a 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish, a 2014 Corvette Stingray, four 2013 Ferraris (458 Italia, California, F12 and FF), a 2014 Jaguar XF, four Lamborghinis (’86 Jalpa, ’08 Reventon, ’13 Aventador and ’13 Gallardo), a 2012 McLaren MP4-12C and three 2013 BMW motorcycles, among others. Many are equipped with Brembo brakes as original equipment.
Having begun actitvities in the market in 1988, North America now represents 23 per cent of Brembo’s worldwide revenue, second only to Germany. “With the consolidation in our new headquarters and R&D center in Plymouth and our growing presence in North America, the Concours d’Elegance of America is an excellent fit for Brembo,” commented Dan Sandberg, president and CEO of Brembo North America.