HARMAN: Adapting Vision to a New Market RealityBy MBN Staff | Tue, 01/01/2019 - 16:39
Q: What role does HARMAN want to play in the evolution of the car of the future?
A: HARMAN sells much more than an audio experience. Today, our value proposition to OEMs and the entire market is a full experience involving audio, connectivity and the human-to-machine interface. Our products do not only reproduce multimedia; users can connect their devices and our systems can display valuable data so drivers can interact with their environment through their vehicle. We even have a role in ensuring driver and passenger safety through the integration of cameras and multiple sensors.
Connectivity must not be focused solely on the user but on the environment. Automobile technology must still be updated manually in most cases when there are changes in software or digital platforms. At HARMAN, we have already developed solutions that allow clients to update their software remotely through the car’s Wi-Fi network or through their phone. We closely collaborate with our customers to ensure our systems leave the OEM’s plant with the latest updates available.
Q: What strategies will the company implement to lead the industry in this transformation?
A: HARMAN’s history is one of innovation. We evolved from audio to systems integration using connectivity technologies that now might be common but were breakthroughs for the industry at the time. Our goal as a company is to continue betting on innovation, investing heavily in R&D and engineering, which has allowed us to stay ahead of our competition. Moreover, we do not want to innovate just for the sake of it. We want to create user-friendly products that result in a top-notch experience for our customers.
Q: How does HARMAN work with its clients to supply solutions that boost their own value proposition?
A: We are actively participating in the development of state-of-the-art technology and the client determines the focus that we give to our products, whether related to style, features, functionality or energy consumption, to name a few. We are working with electric vehicle brands on the production of their head units, for example, where a key concern is the amount of energy that each component in the vehicle consumes.
Before, only premium vehicles would include brands like JBL, Bowers & Wilkins, Harman Kardon or Bang & Olufsen. Now, even higher volume brands in the mid and economy segments offer clients the option to incorporate these high-quality systems in their vehicles.
Q: How will the USMCA treaty between Mexico and the US impact Mexico’s automotive manufacturing operations?
A: This is a new opportunity for Mexico. There were two years of negotiations toward a new deal but during that time, investment kept arriving from US companies that follow a regionalization strategy. Regionalization has forced companies to analyze the profitability of manufacturing a product in different regions. Since many of them focus on the North American market, it is natural to choose a location like Mexico. Despite the US desire to implement measures that boost local manufacturing, the reality is that Mexico is the most attractive investment destination due to the costs related to establishing a new facility, the available space to land a new company and the pool of operational and engineering talent.
Q: How will HARMAN help its clients build the necessary capabilities to comply with new rule-of-origin standards?
A: Helping our clients build their regional capabilities and comply with new trade standards is part of the reason why it is important to build HARMAN’s capabilities in the country. As a corporate standard, we comply with the same quality requirements as any other HARMAN facility in the world and our clients can be certain about this.
From our Queretaro site, we support 13 clients, exporting products and components to five continents. We are already working with BMW in San Luis Potosi and we have a presence in Nissan and Daimler’s COMPAS venture in Aguascalientes.
HARMAN designs and manufactures audio and visual products, automation solutions and connected services for various industries. The company has four divisions: Connected Car, Lifestyle Audio, Professional Solutions and Connected Services