WEINHEIM, Germany (May 25)—After suffering a drop in sales last year, Freudenberg-NOK G.P. anticipates "moderate growth" in 2004 based on a generally improved U.S. economy, according to parent group Freudenberg.
Freudenberg-NOK's sales last year shrank 2 percent to $815.9 million, but management termed this a "good performance" considering U.S. vehicle production was down 4 percent, Freudenberg said.
Looking to reduce costs, Freudenberg-NOK last year intensified its efforts to move the manufacture of high-volume mature products to lower-cost regions, principally in Latin America. While a considerable share of this relocated production went to existing Freudenberg facilities, the company invested in a new plant in Mexico, the Simrit Division facility in Queretaro that opened in November.
At the same time, Freudenberg NOK reported success in its strategy to target business at the "new domestics"—the North American assembly plants of European or Asian vehicle makers. Freudenberg NOK is "ideally positioned" to secure business from these customers because the parent companies already do business with Freudenberg in Europe or NOK Corp. in Asia.