PARIS—New vehicle technologies means new requirements for suppliers, and Hutchinson S.A. already is getting ahead of those opportunities.
The firm, which is the third largest non-tire rubber manufacturer in the world, boasts a strong automotive presence. Its Body Sealing Systems unit accounts for about $995.3 million of the group's overall sales—which came in at $4.86 billion. Overall, the group generates about $3.7 billion in sales from its automotive units, the rest in aerospace.
Its Body Sealing Systems unit operates 23 plants with 9,000 employees in all major regions—Europe, the Americas and Asia-Pacific. Tristan De Montlivault, Body Sealing Systems vice president of business development, said the unit's products are found in nine of the top 10 auto makers in the world.
The unit's global footprint gives it an advantage as OEMs are moving toward a global platform.
"All the major OEMs are looking at what the other is doing," said Olivier Blottiau, Body Sealing Systems innovation manager. "There are more and more global programs now. To be able to produce everywhere in the world is very, very important."
It's safe to say that as the automotive industry changes, Hutchinson will be there to adapt with it. The unit most recently opened a new facility in Poland. De Montlivault said Hutchinson is targeting other expansion opportunities both in Asia-Pacific and the Americas regions.
Body Sealing Systems operates in three primary product groups: Static sealing for the glass-run channel; and dynamic sealing to cover openings in the automobile, such as the doors, sunroof and tailgate.