Mechatronics Supplier Brose Reports Weakening Global Automotive Business, Appoints New President for North America and Plans Major Investments

Brose Group, one of the world’s largest mechatronic suppliers to the automotive industry, reports a recent slowdown in business as it lays the groundwork to combat a 7% reduction in its latest half-year. In other news, the company has appointed a new president for its North America operations. 

Kurt Sauernheimer 

The weakening economy in the automotive industry is also affecting business development in the Brose Group, reported CEO Kurt Sauernheimer in May when he announced the firm’s 2018 results. The roughly 6.3 billion euros in turnover generated in fiscal 2018 was just below the prior year’s level in what he described as a turbulent fiscal year. “In the first half of the year we were still growing six percent, but then turnover decreased by seven percent in the second half,” he explained. 

Brose electric power steering motor 

The company supplies more than 200 million electric motors and drives every year for HVAC and engine cooling, in the drive train as well as in steering and braking systems, also for window and seat operations. Their motors and drives are available in a power range of 20 to 15,000 watts and voltages of 12 to 810 volts. Brose is the world’s fourth-largest family-owned automotive supplier with more than 26,000 employees at 63 locations in 23 countries. Every other new vehicle worldwide is equipped with at least one Brose product, the company says. Pictured above is its administrative building in Bamberg, Germany. 

To counter the trend, over the next three years Brose plans to spend 1.5 billion euros on the development of new products, technical equipment and a global expansion of locations, said Sauernheimer. Brose sees more opportunities than risks in the new mobility trends, he noted, citing Innovative products such as doors that open automatically, flexible solutions for the interior or thermal management for electric vehicles as opportunities for the automotive supplier to continue to grow. In one such move, the company just introduced a new line of integrated motor-drive systems for e-bikes that represent an extension of its automotive expertise into a new market (see separate article). 

Wilm Uhlenbecker 

In July, Brose named Dr. Wilm Uhlenbecker as its new president for North America operations. A seasoned automotive executive, he has previously been CEO of the North American division of Akebono Brake Corporation and before that of Mahle Behr USA. The mechatronics specialist now counts twelve locations across Canada, the US and Mexico and employs approximately 6,000 people in the region. The entire range of Brose products is manufactured throughout the North American facilities, from door modules and seat systems to drives and electronics. 

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