The “Sachs Korea Suspension Company Ltd.” joint venture with Kasco will take over the shock absorber and pneumatic spring activities from the leading manufacturer of automotive components with headquarters in the Pusan area and supply the Korean car manufacturers.
Jean Pierre Dolait has been appointed as Vice President Sales and Marketing, Aftermarket Tenneco Automotive ( Monroe brand suspension products and Walker exhaust systems). Previously at Valeo, Dolait reports to Tenneco’s General Manager, Aftermarket, Don Miller.
In Mid-September, the Spring-, Suspension- and Chassis-specialist celebrated its 50th anniversary in Finnentrop, with the slogan: “50 years of experience – Ready for the future.” More than 400 guests accepted the invitation for the central celebration event, approximately 50 percent of them being customers, coming from 40 countries. The terror attacks in the USA had their effect on this event too: is it possible to celebrate an anniversary thinking about thousands of victims in the States and the pain of their families? “The main impact has come from our colleagues in the United States, who wanted us to continue with the programme. We also want to give a example of multinational understanding and positive relations”, declared a visibly-moved Wilfried Eibach, head of the family owned company. The success story started in 1951 with the production of industry springs. In the Seventies the department for automotive springs was founded. Nowadays the name Eibach is known world-wide as a synonym for leading chassis technology. For some years the programme has gone far beyond the pure spring. The construction process has been supported by “CAD”-applications and it has carried out pioneer work in the field of new methods of corrosion-protection. Also the chassis system harmonisation is a huge field of activities in the year 2001. Today Eibach AG stands as a family holding on top of the German company group, consisting of four daughter companies. Abroad, Eibach is represented with production, engineering and/or distribution facilities in Irvine (California, USA), Broughton Astley (Leicestershire, GB), Tokyo (Japan) and Warriewood (New South Wales, Australia) and through more than 50 exclusive distributors. In Germany the 250 employees have achieved a turnover of 25.2 million Euro. The world-wide turnover in 2000 of the 400 employees amounted to 48 million Euro. During the celebration guests had practical experience of the secret of Eibach’s success: the fact that – beyond the many technological qualifications – the family owners have never neglected the human dimension, and they have always been aware of their social responsibilities.
Robert Bosch GmbH (Stuttgart) and Michelin (Clermont-Ferrand) have announced a long-term strategical partnership in the development and distribution of integrated driving dynamic management systems. The co-operation covers the fields of research and development as well as the introduction of product to the market. Both companies have identified working areas for the basis of common developments and synergies.
One of the Holy Grails of the auto industry, and the tyre industry in particular, has been a car which would stop in 30 metres from a speed of 100kph. Continental AG has recently demonstrated a highly upgraded version of a compact-sized car that will achieve that goal. The development of a car able to achieve this goal, the 30-metre car, has been set as a target by Continental, and others for some years, but Continental is the first claiming to have achieved the target. Continental’s team dedicated to the project was entitled “Reduced Stopping Distance” project. The current “best” stopping distance from 100kph from a compact car is 38.5 metres; so attaining a reduction of 8.5 metres is a quite a considerable achievement for the Continental team. The project brought together development researchers from Continental’s tyre business, with experts from Continental Teves, the brake and electronic systems operation; the latter now part of Continental Automotive Systems Group. This expertise, combined with existing knowledge of air suspension, mounting and chassis systems, were all brought together within the ContiTech Group to place the group at the vanguard of the chassis development sector. According to Dr. Stephan Kessel, “We want to be the forerunner in total chassis management so we’ve also got to have the appropriate damping and steering skills.” This suggests that further acquisitions may be under consideration in the near future.
Hayes Lemmerz International is going to acquire the Schenk foundry in Germany in order to expand its suspension presence in Europe. Klaus Jünger, President European Chassis Components Group said that “this is an excellent base for our expansion in Europe.” Major customers of Schenk are Audi, BMW, Opel and Porsche.
Hayes Lemmerz International, one of the world’s leading suppliers of wheels, brakes, powertrain, suspension, structural and other lightweight components to the automotive and commercial highway markets, has announced that its Board of Directors has approved the repurchase of up to an aggregate of $30 million of its outstanding Common Stock. “Based on current market prices, our stock is at a historical low and we believe that the repurchase program is a good investment of available funds,” said Ron Cucuz, Hayes CEO and Chairman of the Board.
Ford has conceded that it was aware of problems with Firestone tyres in Venezuela as long ago as 1998. Ford CEO Nasser admitted two weeks ago that, in Venezuela, not only had the tyres been changed, but modifications had been made to the vehicle suspension. Analysts said that attempts to place the entire responsibility upon Firestone have failed.
Analysts are recommending investment in GM rather than Ford. Ford is under the public microscope and the focus of analysts. This week, the shares have fallen 13%, representing damage to the group of more than US$ 10 bn. The management is accused of having known about the problems – which have led to the voluntary recall of Firestone tyres – for around two years. Consumer groups and official authorities want an answer to the question whether Ford has worked (ie changed or improved) on the suspension of its vehicles in Venezuela in order to overcome the problems there. The reaction at the stock exchange has probably gone far too far, as, even if the company had to mount a vehicle recall, the figure of US$ 10 bn is too high. The real costs, if any, would be in the region of US$ 1 bn or less.
The Venezuelan subsidiary of Ford has said that it will no longer fit Firestone tyres as OE on its Lazer vehicle and 350 truck. Goodyear tyres will be used instead. Bridgestone/Firestone says that this represents only a 2 per cent loss of sales in the Venezuelan market.