Strength in Innovation and DiversificationFri, 09/01/2017 - 15:15
Mexico is home to a price-driven automotive market. But the competitive prices offered have neither stopped clients demanding high-quality products to export, nor do small drops in sales affect the impetus of international players to produce quality, says Pablo Paredes, General Manager of Trelleborg Mexico City.
“After 10 years of experience in the automotive market, we have found that even in price-oriented product segments such as seals and gaskets, clients place high importance in quality,” says Paredes. This vision has encouraged the company’s faith in the sector since, according to Eduardo Basurto, Customer Service Adviser of Trelleborg Sealing Solutions Automotive Hub North America – Mexico, even after a small drop in sales in the US, Trelleborg’s qualitydriven operations have led it to participate with large internationals like Bosch and Continental.
Technology development trends in the last three years have contributed to Trelleborg’s global growth in the automotive industry, except in the US in the first months of 2017. Basurto sees dips and peaks as normal in any industry and identifies trends in automation, hybrid technology and intelligent vehicles as a signal that combustion engine production will drop in five years’ time. Since Trelleborg is present in both ecological and traditional engine productions, its team expects it to thrive in spite of any economic or market trend fluctuations. The company invests approximately 20 percent of its income in innovation to stay ahead of oscillations and product preferences.
“Our core business revolves around sealants for any piece that needs it,” says Paredes. Door panels, sensors and instruments all require seals and Trelleborg manages innovative technology in precision seals such as liquid silicone combined with plastics and polytetrafluoroethylene composites. The company looks for new compounds as needed, adapting to certifications and vehicle innovations. It can also draw on preapproved compounds when clients ask, which allows it to compete in the Mexican export market contributing to vehicle safety, weight reduction and comfort. “We create work plans with companies for up to 15 years, demonstrating long-term commitment to clients and the industry’s evolution.” Amid many options to form partnerships, the company prefers to work with large players that provide long-term projects supplying OEMs.
The company’s 100 years of experience and Swedish roots underpin its reputation and helped it become the preferred brand of the European market, says Paredes. The sealant expert’s international operations span North and South America, Europe and Asia, and NAFTA has allowed Trelleborg to supply Tier 1 and 2 companies, as well as OEMs with operations in Mexico from its US plant. Over 60 percent of the US branch’s production is destined to companies based in Mexico. “We can provide continuity to companies in global markets,” says Paredes.
Through 10 years of supplying several industries in Mexico, the most important of which has been the automotive sector, Trelleborg has branched into mining, aerospace and oil and gas, solidifying its reputation for supplying high-quality products. “Trelleborg Sealing Solutions is our most important division and automotive sales represent 26 percent of this division’s income, meriting the creation of a department called AutoHub to cater to the automotive supply chain,” says Basurto. Although it has not reached excessive specialization in one industry, namely automotive, the Sealing Solutions division trusts the sector to evolve and plans to remain a part of this evolution to stay in the race. “Some companies may be concerned by over-specialization in one industry and the increasing numbers of Asian companies in Mexico are imposing a bleak panorama on national companies that depend on automotive manufacturing,” says Paredes. As Japanese, Korean and Chinese OEMs import their supply chains, which distinguishes their brands’ manufacturing, Trelleborg is not afraid of this influx. “Our reputation precedes us,” says Paredes.