PARIS - US supplier ArvinMeritor Inc. is counting on its new manufacturing bulk for strong European growth, according to a top executive.
The Troy, Michigan, supplier has created a corner module group from product groups of the former Arvin Industries Inc. and Meritor Automotive Inc. The goal: Integrate the company's undercarriage components to become a leader in front corner wheel modules and spur sales growth on the continent.
'Europe is a very important market for us,' said Terrence O'Rourke, president of ArvinMeritor's Light Vehicle Systems group. He made his comments during the Paris auto show.
The new corners group combines Arvin's joint venture, Arvin-Kayaba, with the Meritor Suspension Systems Co., a joint venture with Mitsubishi Steel Manufacturing Co. of Japan.
Bob Carlstedt, ArvinMeritor's vice president for suspension module engineering, is leading the effort. His responsibility includes Arvin's shock and strut business and Meritor's coil spring business, which is expected to generate sales of $700 million this year.
The development of the corner modules business was the principal product reason for the merger, according to O'Rourke. Arvin and Meritor merged in July to create a $7.5 billion business. The combined company operates 121 plants worldwide.
It can build 60 percent of an upper corner module: shock absorbers or struts, coil springs, spring seats, isolators, bearings and top mounts.
The company can also assemble the other components: knuckles, spindles, hubs, studs, bearing seals, discs and calipers, and drum brake assemblies.
O'Rourke's task is to see that corner module business in Europe contributes substantially to ArvinMeritor's goal of doubling revenue in five years, to $15 billion annually. O'Rourke is a veteran of five years with Lear Corp. and 21 years with Ford Motor Co.
O'Rourke's Light Vehicle Systems group also builds door modules, roof systems and wheels.
ArvinMeritor Inc. is also a supplier of stabilizer bars, torsion bars, and gas springs and vacuum actuators.
DaimlerChrysler is Arvin-Meritor's largest customer.