As a result of its international position, the KIRCHHOFF Group was able to achieve significant growth this year in its four business segments Automotive, Ecotec, Mobility and WITTE Tools. Turnover rose to 1,825 million Euros; after exchange rate adjustment, growth amounted to 6%. The KIRCHHOFF Group currently employs approximately 10,500 people in 49 plants across 17 countries.
KIRCHHOFF Automotive continued to grow in 2015 and consolidated its position in all its business segments. The German automotive components supplier, with its 8,250 employees, will achieve a turnover of 1,350 million Euros this year – this is 12% more than last year; after exchange rate adjustment this equates to a 5% increase.
KIRCHHOFF Automotive achieved a growth of approximately 8.3% in Europe and thus stands above the rate for passenger car sales in Europe of 7%. In the NAFTA region, double-digit revenue growth rates were recorded, equating to approximately 6% after exchange rate adjustment. Around 17 million vehicles were sold in North America by the end of the year. This means that a similar high level was achieved as that during the turn of the millennium. KIRCHHOFF Automotive delivers parts both for the numerous product lines from traditional American clients and for German clients who are increasingly manufacturing in Mexico for the North American market.
But the German market has also shown a remarkable recovery. In October, nearly 280,000 new passenger cars were registered in Germany. This is the highest volume for October since the start of the decade. Since the beginning of the year the number of newly registered cars rose by 5% to nearly 2.7 million. It is particularly encouraging that sales for diesel vehicles rose higher in October than sales for the market as a whole, despite the crisis over manipulations at VW. It can only be hoped that the German automobile industry and Germany as an industrial location will not suffer any lasting damage in terms of its image.
Approximately 82 million Euros were invested worldwide to achieve this positive corporate development. The company increased its capacity, particularly in the regions of the world’s economy that are growing rapidly: North America and China. In the USA, a new plant was opened in Lansing, Michigan, where parts are produced for the Chevrolet Camaro. KIRCHHOFF Van-Rob in Manchester received its first order to produce dashboard supports for Nissan North America. In China, the plant that was opened a year ago in Shenyang is being expanded and will produce components for BMW in the future. In the world’s biggest automobile market, demand is growing for lightweight solutions made of aluminium to produce body parts. The KIRCHHOFF Automotive plants in China are taking advantage of this, since they have been able to increasingly specialise in this technology.
But significant investments were also made in the European plants in Attendorn and Iserlohn and in Poland, Spain and Portugal, in order to cope with current and future new product lines. The core competencies at the Polish plant in Gliwice are being extended with laser welding and MIG aluminium welding. A new plant is currently being built in Gniezno in Poland. This is where complex welded assemblies will be manufactured in the future for the new VW Crafter. In Iserlohn a new building with a production area measuring 2,600 m² has been constructed to house laser systems, provisioning and despatch areas. Components for the new product lines Daimler E-class and GLK-class are lasered here and products for the VW Touran/Tiguan are stored . On the 1200 tonne hot stamping press, a newly developed stacking line automatically packs components that have been hot stamped at temperatures up to 200°C. In Attendorn, a cutting-edge welding system, with fully automated removal of the finished components, has been set up to produce the heel plate for the new VW Touran. The system is also designed and constructed to produce the heal parts of future vehicle models. A new hangar measuring 900 m2 provides additional logistics space for products such as the laser-welded dashboard supports for the Ford Mondeo or the hot-stamped door sills for the VW Touran.
“Numerous new orders and development projects for both premium and high-volume manufacturers prove that hot-stamped steel and aluminium materials are still gaining ground in lightweight automotive construction. We invested in the right technology at an early stage and are expecting growth in 2016 as well, as a result of strong domestic demand,” Arndt G. Kirchhoff was happy to explain.
KIRCHHOFF Ecotecis the market leader in Europe for the product lines of refuse collection vehicles, sweepers and lifters. The strong brands FAUN, ZOELLER and, since August 2015, the Turkish body manufacturers HIDRO-MAK belong to the company. The market position was significantly strengthened by the acquisition of a majority shareholding in HIDRO-MAK. The HIDRO-MAK brand extends the product range and will in future remain as the third autonomous brand in the Ecotec division. The company plans to supply the Arab countries and South-east Asia from the site in Turkey.
This year a total increase in turnover of 5% has been achieved. The German market for refuse collection vehicles, lifter systems and sweepers remains stable. Our extensive service network has been further expanded and a new cutting edge service centre opened in Stuttgart/Gerlingen. Ecotec now operates ten customer service centres in Germany, thirteen in France and twelve in the United Kingdom, in order to provide customers with optimum service via an comprehensive service network. In the refuse collection vehicles segment, a new side loader generation was successfully launched onto the market. Several large orders have already been placed. In the area of lifter systems, the new ROTARY III 2406 lifter was developed. In Switzerland, the market launch of the FAUN sweepers succeeded at the first attempt via the Ecotec subsidiary Contena-Ochsner AG. Activities in the sweeper sector in North America will also be further intensified in 2016. The overall unsettled geopolitical situation caused the Ecotec companies to broaden their base and open up new market potential. The first refuse collection vehicles were delivered to Australia, for example, and it is planned that these will be followed by sweepers next year.
FAUN, ZOELLER and HIDRO-MAK employ 2,500 people in fourteen plants across ten countries.
KIRCHHOFF Mobilitywill achieve a single-figure growth in turnover in the current year. More than 3,000 vehicles that are individually modified to meet the needs of drivers or passengers leave the establishments of the KIRCHHOFF Mobility division each year. A comprehensive and closely linked network of branches in Germany, Austria and Switzerland is easily and rapidly accessible for private customers. At the same time KIRCHHOFF Mobility has set up further partnerships with a range of vehicle manufacturers. In 2015, VW Commercial Vehicles awarded the accolade of “Premium Partner” to the company Jelschen GmbH, which is part of KIRCHHOFF Mobility, for its high quality vehicle modifications. This status is only given to tested modification manufacturers who fulfill the special requirements of Volkswagen. As a Premium Partner, VW sales staff will in future recommend Jelschen for vehicle modifications. At the Geneva Motor Show from 3rd to 13th March 2016, KIRCHHOFF Mobility will show how people with handicaps can also take part in the mobility of the future and regain a part of their freedom through individual vehicle modifications.
WITTE Tools was unable to pursue the upward trend from 2014 this year. Demand has come to an almost complete standstill in a number of important markets, such as Russia. Demand in the EU is also unsatisfactory, but fortunately it was possible to increase sales revenue by up to 20% in a number of markets in Southern Europe. In future, the company will counter the volatility of the markets with significantly increased marketing campaigns and new products. In order to make WITTE Tools’ product portfolio more interesting for the tool trade, the sales range will soon be complemented by pliers that are “Made in Germany”, among other things. User-specific tool sets for respective target groups can be tailored to individual requirements. Production has been expanded by a new three component injection moulding unit, which makes more efficient and more flexible manufacturing possible. Buyers are once again focusing more on the demand for quality, which represents an opportunity for WITTE Tools with its products that are “Made in Germany”.
The shareholders of the Kirchhoff entrepreneurial family also envisage good prospects for all business areas for the coming year. The KIRCHHOFF Group expects a growth in turnover of approximately 5% to achieve a total of 1.9 million Euros in 2016. The diversification of the customer and product portfolios, a high degree of flexibility and the further expansion and development of core technologies will safeguard existing jobs and create new jobs on a global scale.
Download PDF: Press release_KIRCHHOFF_Group_continues to grow