FRANKFURT, Germany - SAI Automotive AG, one of Europe's biggest suppliers of interior parts, expects rapid growth in its interior-module business.
Modules will account for 10 percent of the group's sales of about DM3.5 billion ($2.1 billion) in 1998. But that will grow to 40 percent in 2002 or 2003, according to SAI Chairman Marc Assa. The forecast is based on contracts that have mostly already been awarded.
Frankfurt-based SAI has won door module contracts for the Ford Focus facelift in 2001, the planned Focus-based multi-activity vehicle, code-named C212 and due in about 2002, and the next Fiesta.
The contracts are worth a combined DM500 million ($298 million) a year.
The modules use technology that SAI first presented two years ago in a plastic door module concept. For each contract, SAI will supply the door module together with the door trim.
Cockpits will also be a fast-growing area for the group in the next few years, said Assa. SAI supplies cockpit modules through SAS Autosystemtechnik, a joint venture with Siemens AG.
In Brazil, SAI will soon begin supplying cockpit modules for Renault and the Volkswagen group. Supplies for the Renault Megane Scenic start next month, the Clio next year and the Kangoo in 2000. SAI will also supply the Volkswagen Polo produced in Spain, starting early next year, and the new Peugeot 306, starting in 2001.
SAI, which is majority owned by Sommer Allibert of France, has grown rapidly in the past three years. It acquired Daimler-Benz's plastic parts operation in Woerth, Germany, in 1996; bought majority control of German door parts manufacturer Lignotock in 1997; and absorbed Sommer Allibert's French automotive operations at the beginning of 1998.
In the first half of 1998, sales grew 52.8 percent to DM1.9 billion thanks mainly to the addition of the French Sommer Allibert plants. German operations have been held back by product delays, while US operations have lost money, partly because of the strikes at General Motors.
Assa said he expects profits of DM150 million this year on sales of DM3.5 billion. By 2002, the group expects sales of DM5 billion.