HBPO, a global supplier of automotive front-end modules, plans to expand its North American operations in part because of growing demand from electric- and autonomous-vehicle manufacturers.
The Troy, MI-based company, a joint venture between suppliers Hella, Behr and Plastic Omnium, says in a news release it expects to add an assembly plant in Michigan and more than double employment in North America within the next four years.
In the past three years, HBPO has opened four new assembly plants in the region and added five new automotive customers, including two EV makers, says Diana Mannino, president of HBPO North America.
The company also increased production of plastic components 50% earlier this year with the addition of a third injection-molding press at its assembly plant in Puebla, Mexico.
“The number of new-vehicle models equipped with HBPO front-end modules in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico is expected to grow by 60%, from 12 in 2017 to more than 19 in 2022,” Mannino says. “Our annual sales in North America are expected to increase by 70% to more than $1 billion over the same period.”
Much of the company’s current product-development work in North America is devoted to future electric- and autonomous-vehicle programs, she says.
Mannino says HBPO’s rapid growth in North America has resulted in part from the benefits of outsourcing front-end assembly operations, including:
· Reductions in inventory investment of between $5 million to $7 million or more.
· Savings of 3,000 to 4,000 sq.-ft. (279 to 372 sq.-m) in plant floor space with the elimination of five or more assembly-line work stations.
· Reductions in warehouse space of up to 30,000 sq.-ft. (2,787 sq.-m) or more.
· Elimination of up to 80 suppliers requiring direct supervision, including quality-control and logistics management.
· Weight savings of up to 25% or more through HBPO design-and-development input.
“We are the only automotive supplier solely dedicated to the design, development and manufacture of front-end modules,” Mannino says. “HBPO also is the world’s largest supplier of front-end modules with annual production of more than 5.7 million units and sales of more than $2.3 billion in Europe, North America and the Asia Pacific region.”