PARIS - AlliedSignal has hired a new executive to push sales of its Garrett turbochargers.
The company's direction has not been clear. It has divested itself of other automotive businesses, selling its brake business in 1996 to Bosch and its safety restraint business to Breed Technologies last month.
But AlliedSignal says it wants to strengthen its turbocharger business.
'We are going to revive the Garrett brand, whose name is very much alive with our customers,' said Lambert Snijders, newly appointed as vice president and general manager for AlliedSignal Turbocharging Systems in Europe.
Worldwide turbocharger sales should grow by $100 million to $800 million this year, according to Snijders. AlliedSignal's top five customers are Volkswagen AG, Ford, General Motors, Renault and PSA.
Garrett holds 65 percent of the market in Europe, where the main competitor is German maker KKK.
Snijders, 54, is a former top executive at Philips, the Dutch electronics giant. He was previously in charge of Philips Automotive Systems, which was recently sold to VDO-Mannesmann of Germany.
'This is a market with an annual double-digit growth,' said Snijders. He was speaking at AlliedSignal's new European headquarters in Levallois-Perret, near Paris.
AlliedSignal will manufacture three million turbochargers in 1997 and aims at five million units in 2000. Its biggest factory, located in Thaon-les-Vosges, France, will make 7,000 units daily by the end of 1997, up from 5,500 only a year ago.
Turbochargers are assembled in Thaon-les-Vosges and Atessa, Italy; parts are made in Waterford, Ireland; and Skelmersdale and Cheadle, UK. Half the division's 4,400 workers are in Europe.
AlliedSignal is close to buying a facility in Bucharest, Romania, to build cheaper components. The location, said Snijders, 'can also help us enter eastern Europe markets.'