China is already the world's largest automotive market with around 20 million light vehicles produced annually, and it is one of the most important emerging markets of the automotive industry with an expected increase to over 27 million light vehicles in 2017. To be able to make the most of this potential, Autoneum has acquired the stake in Nittoku. Wuhan Nittoku Autoneum Sound-Proof, the joint venture now operated by Nittoku, Autoneum and their Chinese partner TGPM, has maintained a production site in Wuhan, Hubei province, for supplying Japanese automobile manufacturers since 2011. In light of the demand of the automobile manufacturers active in the region, there is an opportunity to supply non-Japanese suppliers with components for acoustic and thermal management in the future as well. Around 200 employees produce dampers, inner dashes, hoodliners, outer dashes, and more at the Wuhan plant. Due to the high production volumes, an expansion of the 7,500 square meter production area is planned for 2014.
"This stake enables us to expand our existing production capacity in China and thus strengthen our position as the global market leader for acoustic and thermal management solutions for vehicles. In light of the strong demand from our customers, we see significant opportunities for a further increase in our market share in the emerging market of China," says Autoneum CEO Martin Hirzel.
Wuhan is one of China's most important automotive clusters and the domicile of European, American and Japanese automobile manufacturers and their suppliers. In addition to three wholly owned plants in Chongqing (since 2006), Taicang (2010) and Shenyang (2011), Autoneum operates production sites in Guangzhou (2003) and Tianjin (2004) together with Nittoku in China.