By Douglas Bolduc, Automotive News Europe
Nanterre, France -- Faurecia ceo Yann Delabriere thinks there is a good chance that Ford Motor Co. will become one of the French supplier's top three customers.
Delabriere feels this way because last month Faurecia was named as one of Ford's preferred suppliers for exhaust systems and interiors.
In 2008, Ford (including Volvo) was Faurecia's fifth-largest customer with sales of about Euro1200 million (about $1700 million). Renault ranked third with sales of Euro 1380 million euros. (See table)
When asked whether Ford would climb in the rankings, Delabriere told Automotive News Europe: "There is certainly good potential for that. It would be a dream come true to have my Ford business at the same level as my business with Renault-Nissan."
Delabriere feels confident that being added to Ford's preferred supplier list will help to develop Faurecia's business with the automaker in Europe, the US, Asia and South America.
"Ford already is a big customer, accounting for 10 percent of our revenues," Delabriere said. "I would be happy to see this figure grow in the coming years."
Faurecia, which is also a major supplier of seating systems, reported global sales of about Euro 12 000 billion (about $17 000 million) in 2008. Here is a breakdown of its biggest customers.
1. VW group 23.9%
2. PSA 22.9%
3. Renault-Nissan 11.5%
4. BMW group 10.3%
5. Ford Motor Co. 10.0%
After reporting a Euro 66 million operating loss in North America in 2007, Faurecia rebounded to a Euro 27 million operating profit there in 2008.
Despite the continued challenges facing automakers in the market, the ceo expects the success to continue.
"The business has to be profitable and it will be profitable," he said.
He said Faurecia is in a good position in North America because of its contracts with growing European transplants such as BMW AG and Volkswagen AG.
Another reason Faurecia has a good chance to grow in the region is because it is in better shape than rivals such as interiors specialist Lear Corp., which recently filed for bankruptcy protection in the US and Canada.
"Today, the (North American) market is at a crossroads. Automakers there are rethinking their supplier base because a lot of companies there are in trouble," Delabriere said. "I am pretty sure the OEMs will want to increase their business with the most reliable and viable suppliers. North America is full of possibilities for Faurecia."
PIC: Faurecia ceo Delabriere promises to remain profitable in the US