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Issue: Aug 2017


HBPO Adding Automotive Plants and New Product Lines in North America



by Alan Tran

HBPO, the auto industry's leading supplier of modular front-end systems, is expanding its North American footprint – adding two new plants, developing additional product offerings and increasing unit sales.

 

Anja Sprenger, president of HBPO North America, said the company plans to add "just in sequence" production facilities next year to support two major auto makers with assembly plants in Aguascalientes and Saltillo, Mexico.

 

Production of front-end modules for FCA's Chrysler Pacifica models began last year at an HBPO plant in Windsor, Canada, and a third shift recently was added at a company plant opened last year in San Jose Chiapa, Mexico, to support nearby Audi Q5 assembly operations.

 

A third shift also was recently added to HBPO's Toluca, Mexico, plant that supports FCA.

 

Sprenger said HBPO unit sales in North America are expected to grow from sales of 883,000 units in 2016 to more than 1.4 million units in 2017, while employment will climb by nearly 50 percent from 450 employees in 2016 to more than 650 in 2017.

 

She noted that HBPO plans a multi-million-dollar investment in research-and-development activities, new product launches and plant additions in North America over a five-year period, including a major expansion of the company's plastic molding operations to support a new product line in 2018.

 

Known primarily as an assembler of complex front-end modules, HBPO added a center console in North America last year and will begin molding an active grille shutter for a major car maker in North America next year.

 

The company also is actively developing front-end modules designed to reduce weight and lower costs for a variety of electric vehicles. It expects to produce its first electric-vehicle front-end module later this year.

 

In addition, HBPO would like to expand its product offerings to include instrument-panel or cockpit modules. The company recently was awarded a contract to design, develop and produce a complex cockpit-module for a European car maker that will go into production in Germany in 2019.

 

HBPO's North American operations currently include headquarter offices and product development facilities in Troy, Michigan, and production facilities in Windsor, Canada, as well as plants in Puebla, San Jose Chiapa and Toluca, Mexico.

 

Based in Lippstadt, Germany, HBPO North America expects to build nearly 1,400,000 complex front-end modules this year accounting for more than 20 percent of the company's front-end module production globally.

 

With just three hours of advance notice from a customer, HBPO is able to deliver just-in-sequence front-end modules for vehicles coming down a customer's final assembly line. The process can involve the management of more than 200 individual components for 250 or more variations of a single front-end module.

 

"By sourcing front-end modules from HBPO, a car maker can eliminate five or more work stations and up to 100 or more operations on its final assembly line," Sprenger said. "We are a proven systems integrator with a global reputation for quality and innovation, among other advantages and benefits."

 

About HBPO GmbH:

 

HBPO GmbH, Lippstadt: HBPO is the only company in the world that specializes in the design, development, assembly and logistics for complex front-end modules.  A global market leader for front-end modules, the company reported sales in 2016 of 1.8 billion euros. HBPO has more than 2,000 employees worldwide annually producing more than 5.3 million front-end modules per year at 25 JIS (just-in-sequence) manufacturing facilities and eight development sites in North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

 

Founded as partnership between HELLA and Behr in 1999, the company's name changed to HBPO when Plastic Omnium joined the partnership in 2004. The company also has joint venture programs in Korea and Malaysia.

 

HBPO's global customer portfolio of automotive brands includes Audi, Bentley, BMW, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat,  Hyundai, Jeep, Kia, Mercedes, Mini, Nissan, Porsche, Proton, Renault, SEAT, Skoda, SsangYong and Volkswagen. Additional information is available online at www.hbpogroup.com

 



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