Issue: Apr 2006


Hella Sets Goals For Major Growth



Hella's future will include new and innovative products

by Nick Palmen

Hella KGaA Hueck & Co. aims to double its global sales of automotive lighting, electronics and aftermarket products to more than $7 billion and significantly increase its American and Asian business in the next six years.

Hella has organized its global business into three divisions: Lighting, Electronics and Aftermarket and Special Equipment, according to Jean-Francois Tarabbia, CEO of Hella's Electronics Division.

"Product innovations, a further push to internationalization of the business, and new areas of management responsibility are key contents of Hella's 'Vision 2012' plan for the future," Tarabbia said. "One of its goals is to achieve a quality standard of only two defects per million parts as well."

Hella is well positioned to achieve its goals, Tarabbia said. Each of the divisions contributes about one-third of the company's annual sales, currently more than $3.7 billion. Hella's 65 plants all over the world employ 24,000 people, including 2,900 working in research and development to guarantee an innovative product portfolio.

Tarabbia recently joined the Hella management board and took over management of Hella's electronics division last month. Previously he was chief operating officer and head of the body-and-chassis electronics division of Siemens VDO Automotive AG, in Germany.

"Hella's competence includes developing software that we can integrate both into our own systems and into external systems," explains Dr. Ralf Voss, the electronics division's senior executive vice president. "The complexity of today's software-based systems in vehicles makes interface management extremely important, since it is used to master this complexity."

Dr. Voss joined Hella last year. He also will provide corporate support for Hella's NAFTA activities. He was previously a development manager responsible for body and safety electronics at DaimlerChrysler.

Hella's future will include new and innovative products, Tarabbia said. Two new products which will debut in North America this year are adaptive cruise control and a rear-view camera.

Hella also is introducing the industry's first capacitive rain sensor, which can be integrated almost invisibly into the windshield. It combines functions of rain, light, humidity and solar measurement in one device for the first time, thus replacing up to three individual sensors.

In addition, Hella has developed the first ultrasonic-based sensor for measuring oil levels, which can be supplemented by a special chip, referred to as a "tuning fork," which also measures oil conditions.

With product innovations and software integration, further internationalization is one of the key tasks of the Hella management team, Tarabbia added. "Since almost all European automakers are already on Hella's books, we will be focusing our sales efforts in North America, Korea, Japan and China."

Today, almost 85 percent of the German-based company's sales are in Europe. North America contributes about 10 percent and the Asia-Pacific region 5.5 percent.

Hella's plans include development networks tied to a central development department in Germany and complemented by regional development centers to support individual target markets.

The German-based company also announced a reorganization of its North American operations.

Dr. Raymund Heinen has been named president of Hella Lighting and Steve Hubble has been appointed president of Hella Electronics. Both are based in Plymouth, Michigan. Wolfgang Benz continues to head Hella Inc., which is responsible for aftermarket and special equipment business in North America and is based in suburban Atlanta, Georgia.

Hella, a global supplier, develops and manufactures components and systems for lighting and electronics for the automotive industry, including advanced driver-assistance systems enhancing safety and comfort. In addition, joint venture companies produce complete vehicle modules, air-conditioning systems and vehicle-electric systems. Hella is one of the world's largest companies selling automotive parts and accessories, with sales companies and partners in more than 100 countries. Annual consolidated sales for the Hella Group total $3.7 billion.

Hella is one of the 100 largest industrial companies in Germany. A total of 24,000 people are employed in 65 production facilities, production subsidiaries and joint venture companies. More than 2,900 Hella engineers and technicians work in research and development across the Group. Customers include all leading automakers and system manufacturers, as well as the automotive aftermarket.

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