MUNICH -- Europe was good to suppliers in 2008.
Despite being hit by a sharp downturn in orders late in the year, the majority of the leading suppliers to Europe increased their sales in the region.
According to in this year's Automotive News Europe ranking, 19 of top 30 top partsmakers to Europe reported gains.
The biggest winners were German wiring systems supplier Leoni AG, German lighting component maker Hella KGaA Hueck & Co. and Fiat-owned powertrain and electronics supplier Magneti Marelli S.p.A.
Thanks to the purchase of Valeo SA’s wiring business, Leoni boosted European sales 32.0 percent to $2.5 billion in 2008 compared with 2007. Hella increases its sales in Europe by 20.3 percent to $4.35 billion. Marelli's Europe sales rose 20.1 percent to $6.02 billion.
In all, 13 of the 19 suppliers that increase sales in the region are based in Europe.
Happy Americans in Europe
The other six companies to post sales gains are all based in the United States. The big winners were axle and driveline supplier ArvinMeritor Inc., up 12.5 percent to $2.30 billion, and transmission component maker BorgWarner Inc., which increased sales 10.0 percent to $2.56 billion.
The company in the top 30 to get hit hardest by last year’s downturn was Denso Corp. The Japanese supplier's sales fell 42.2 percent to $3.33 billion.
During an interview last summer with ANE Denso Europe President Shigehiro Nishimura warned that 2008 would be a tough year for the supplier because of the increasing cost of raw materials, weak new-car sales and static car production.
The decline ended five years of rapid growth in Europe for Denso and dropped it to No. 19 in the ranking from No. 12. The slump also hurts Denso's chances to reach its stated aim of becoming one of the top 10 suppliers to Europe by 2011.
Suppliers were ranked on their parts sales to carmakers in Europe in 2008. Foreign currency amounts were translated into dollars at the average exchange rate for the calendar or fiscal year.