Japanese suppliers in Western Europe: Meeting new demands for electrification and autonomous driving

Expand business with European OEMs, increase production capacity in areas such as advanced materials



 According to LMC Automotive, the sales volume of light vehicles in the 17 countries of Western Europe has continued to increase, up 3.2% y/y to 13.27 million units in the January to November 2017 period. As a result, in addition to the increasing number of orders from European automakers and parts suppliers, Japanese automotive parts suppliers are engaged in a wide range of activities to capitalize on the emerging trends and new demand in Europe such as the strengthening of environmental and fuel economy regulations, electrification and electric vehicles, connected cars, and autonomous driving, activities that include the strengthening of production systems, development and marketing capability, M&A, capital participation, and alliances.

Related reports:
Autonomous driving technology: Japanese and western OEM approaches (Jan. 2018)
IAA 2017: German OEMs emphasize electric mobility (Sept. 2017)
European market: Passenger vehicle sales exceed 15 million units, diesel vehicles drop below 50% (Sept. 2017)
Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Audi adopting ADAS and automated driving systems (Aug. 2017)


Germany automobile plant map (Click to open site map)

For countries and regions other than Germany please refer to the map entitled ‘OEM Plants Interactive Map


Europe - General:

New manufacturing sites Panasonic: Constructing a new Li-ion battery plant in Europe after 2020
Mitsui Chemicals: Planning to construct its own PP compound factory in Europe
Increased production capacity U-Shin:Renovating the production equipment at its four plants in Western Europe manufacturing key sets and door handles
Strengthening of R&D and Marketing U-Shin: Increasing R&D staff in Europe and strengthening development capability of high value-added products
Furukawa Electric:Strengthening marketing functions in UK and Germany
New product introduction Clarion:Received first order for its on-board camera system from a European manufacturer
Sanden:Supplying air conditioning HVAC units and control units to DAF Trucks
Yokohama Rubber:Full-scale deployment of second brand "ALLIANCE TYRES" focusing on price competitiveness


M&A, Alliances, & Establishment of joint ventures Hayashi Telempu:Technical tie-up with sound proofing material supplier on development for next-generation automobiles
Hitachi Chemical:Acquired all shares of insulation part supplier. Cooperation to develop low fuel consumption and eco-friendly parts
Furukawa Electric:Held inauguration ceremony of joint venture for high voltage resistant windings
Mitsui & Co.:Invested in a German electric vehicle charging startup that uses EV batteries
Mitsubishi Electric:Concluded an agreement to launch a joint venture for high-accuracy positioning service delivery
R&D and product development Asahi Kasei:Established European R&D center, promoting collection and accumulation of advanced technology information and development of new businesses
Alps Electric:Joint commercialization of on-board biosensor module with German supplier
・Kakizakai Seiki:Developing shearing technology with German laboratories and companies
Sumitomo Riko:Established R&D center for anti-vibration rubber
Toray:Inaugurated R&D base specializing in advanced materials for automotive applications
Strengthening of production system Toyobo:Transferred airbag base fabric production to joint venture company. Also transferred cushioning material business
Nisshinbo Brake: Consolidated two factories for the manufacturing of friction materials for passenger cars into one location
Strengthening of business and sales structure Ashimori Industry: Established European office, identifying market needs and development trends
Nabtesco: Established European regional headquarters
Mitsubishi Chemical: Established a department to promote automotive business, and provide sales support for Mitsubishi group companies

Western Europe (excluding Germany)

Acquisitions, Joint ventures, and Alliances Daikin: acquired an Italian fluoropolymer compounds manufacturer
Nidec:Established a French joint venture subsidiary with PSA in 2018 for the manufacture of EV drive motors
PIOLAX:Signed a global production and sales cooperation agreement with French Group A Raymond
Panasonic:Acquired a 69% stake in a major parts and systems supplier in Spain
Bridgestone: Acquired tire retail chain in France, expanding sales network
Mitsubishi Chemical: Acquired a 44% stake in an Italian carbon fiber molding manufacturer to develop business with Western automakers
Mitsubishi Electric: Partnered with high-accuracy location information service HERE, the leading digital map company in the Netherlands
Mitsubishi Materials: Acquired the copper processing division under the umbrella of a manufacturer based in the UK
Strengthening of production system Kaneka: Enhanced production capacity of modified silicon polymers in Belgium
G-TECT: Expanded UK press factory, retrofitted for electrification and the processing of next generation aluminum body parts
Sekisui Chemical: Increased capacity of its plant in the Netherlands for the production of laminated glass interlayer film used in head-up displays
Teijin: Decided to increase production of aramid fibers for tire reinforcement at its plant in the Netherlands
Toray:Plans to double the production capacity of high-grade artificial leather at its subsidiary in Italy
Nippon Seiki: Established new production line at UK factory for the assembly of head-up display
Bridgestone: gradually increasing production of passenger car tires in Spain
Press Kogyo: Refurbished facilities of subsidiary in Sweden plant for small-lot, multi-product production
R&D and product development AGC:Staff of approximately 250 conducting research at ACG’s Technovation Center in Belgium
JTEKT: Expanded factory in Belgium and established European R&D center. Preparing for electrification and EV products
Sekisui Chemical: Established new European research center in the Netherlands. Development of advanced functional intermediate layer film
・Horiba:Established advanced emissions test center at engineering facility of UK subsidiary.
Other Calsonic Kansei:Established White Motion LLC in Japan, a cyber security joint venture with a French IT venture company

Europe - General: Introduction of new products and brands, strengthening of production system

Company name Activities
Clarion First order from a European automaker for on-board camera system
Clarion received its first order from a European automaker for its on-board SurroundEye camera system, to be supplied from 2018. The company developed an entry model with basic functions such as image processing and video display for European automakers, and reduced the cost of the standard model. In addition, Clarion started supplying automated parking systems featuring SurroundEye technology to Japanese automakers in fiscal year 2017.
Sanden Supply of HVAC units and control units for car air conditioners to DAF Trucks in the Netherlands
In July 2017 Sanden Automotive Climate Systems began supplying DAF Trucks NV in the Netherlands with HVAC units and control units for car air conditioners. The new climate control unit uses propriety control logic to contribute to improved fuel efficiency by optimizing compressor output. The research and development base of Sanden International Europe in Bad Nauheim, Germany was responsible for product development, with production at Sanden Manufacturing Poland sp. z o.o. (Polkowice, Poland). This was the first complex development program from design concept to production to be conducted wholly in Europe by Sanden.
Panasonic Construction of a new plant for batteries for EVs, etc. in Europe from 2020
In May 2017 Panasonic announced its plans to construct a new factory for Li-ion batteries for electric vehicles (EVs), etc. in Europe from 2020 onwards. The company is learning the needs of automakers, and will decide the investment amount after obtaining a certain degree of stable purchase commitment. (May 2017 news releases)
Furukawa Electric Strengthening of marketing function in the UK and Germany
Furukawa Electric developed its overseas marketing bases in fiscal year 2017, strengthening its activities in areas such as sales promotion and market research, with the aim of expanding the sales of its optical fiber products. The company established a subsidiary in Singapore in August 2017 and another in the UK in October 2017. In the automotive field, the company will promote its optical fiber related products as infrastructure technology for autonomous driving. In Germany, Essex Furukawa Magnet Wire Europe, established jointly with Essex Magnet Wire in March 2017, will be responsible for collecting the latest information on EV applications. The joint venture company produces and sells high-voltage windings to satisfy the high performance requirements of EVs, etc. (July 2017 news releases)
Mitsui Chemical Planning to establish a wholly-owned factory to manufacture PP compounds in Europe, with operations scheduled to start in 2019
Mitsui Chemical plans to increase the production capacity of thermoplastic polypropylene (PP) at its overseas bases. The company plans to increase its production capacity in the U.S., Mexico and India by July 2017 and manufacture the materials in-house instead of conventional outsourcing, as well as to increase its sales in Europe. The company plans to narrow down the list of candidate bases for the new plant in the near future, with plans for an annual production capacity of 30,000 tons. Operations are scheduled to begin in 2019. In 2016 the company’s annual production capacity in Europe was 15,000 tons. Capacity was increased to 20,000 tons in FY2017.
Yokohama Rubber Full scale deployment of a second brand of tires focusing on price competitiveness in Europe from 2017
Yokohama Rubber launched Alliance Tires, its second brand of passenger car tires in Europe in the spring of 2017. The tires of the Alliance Tire brand differ from that of Yokohama Tires in terms of performance, by introducing price-competitive tires, expanding its product lineup. The brand will compete with the low price commodity tires sold by Chinese and Korean tire manufacturers. The Alliance Tires products will first be sold in Spain, Belgium, Italy, France, and Denmark. After introducing the brand’s tires in other European countries, the company will also consider selling the brand in Asia. Alliance Tire products for the European market are scheduled to be manufactured at the company’s plants in Japan.
U-Shin Renewal of manufacturing facilities for products such as key sets, primarily for Europe, by 2021
U-Shin, is targeting to renovate its factories with redesigned equipment for the production of product, primarily for the European market, by 2021. U-Shin’s capital investment will amount to several JPY billion because its production facilities are becoming outdated for products such as key sets and door handles, making it more difficult to manufacture high quality products. The renewal is targeted for the manufacturing facilities of the access mechanism (steering lock, etc.) business acquired from France’s Valeo, including eight locations in Germany, Hungary, France, Spain, Italy, Slovakia, Russia, and Brazil. (May 2017 news releases)

Expand research and development in Europe and strengthen development of high value-added products
U-Shin will increase its European R&D staff from the approximate 120 persons in 2017 to about 150 employees over a three year period. In response to the diversified needs of European automakers, U-Shin plans to create a development system for high value-added products such as handles and key sets used for doors, and power closure systems for the automatic opening and closing of rear gates. The development bases are located in Germany, Italy, France, and Slovakia, many of which are co-located within the manufacturing plants. U-Shin is jointly developing products and technologies with its research bases in Japan. (May 2017 news releases)

Germany: M&A, Joint ventures, R&D and Sales, strengthening of production systems

Company name Activities
Asahi Kasei Established European R&D center in October 2017, promoting the collection and accumulation of advanced technology information, and the development of new businesses
In October 2017 Asahi Kasei established its European R&D center in Dormagen, Germany (within Asahi Kasei Spandex Europe GmbH). The center is responsible for collecting and accumulating advanced technology information on automotive applications, environmental and energy related technologies in Europe, and to accelerate the development of new businesses utilizing the research and development capabilities of the Asahi Kasei Group. In collaboration with Asahi Kasei Europe, which started operations in April 2016, Asahi Kasei plans to provide R&D and technical services to quickly and efficiently respond to customer needs.
Ashimori Established its European office in June 2017 to identify market needs and strengthen relationships with business partners
Ashimori established its European office (Sindelfingen, Germany in the state of Baden-Württemberg) in June 2017. The office will gather information such as European market needs and development trends, leading to business expansion. The office is also responsible for strengthening relationships with its existing business partners including German automakers and cultivating contacts to develop new customers.
Alps Electric Commercialization of automotive biosensor module jointly developed with German automakers
Alps Electric plans to commercialize its on-board biosensor modules developed in collaboration with German automakers. The modules sense the driver’s state such as the condition of the driver's eye pupils and heart rate, collecting information required for autonomous driving and advanced driving systems. The module is combined with an acceleration sensor, a gas sensor, and a sound wave sensor. The module was also developed by incorporating the technical knowledge of its subsidiary Alpine. Alps Electric aims to have the product equipped in next-generation automobiles after FY2020. (July 2017 news releases)
Kakizakai Seiki The company will develop shearing technology with German research laboratories and companies, aiming for utilization in automotive applications, etc.
Kakizakai Seiki will collaborate with German laboratories and companies to develop shear technology for carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) and amorphous alloys. Because CFRP is difficult to recycle after scrapping, the company aims to recycle road reinforcement materials, etc. by grinding more finely. For amorphous alloys, the company aims to reduce manufacturing costs for products such as the motor core for EVs. (July 2017 news releases)
Sumitomo Riko German anti-vibration rubber R&D center started operations in 2018
Sumitomo Riko established an R&D center for anti-vibration rubber at the site of its German subsidiary SumiRiko AVS Germany GmbH (Steinau an der Straße city) acquired in 2013. The company will construct two buildings, a new development department office and a prototype and testing facility, with plans to start operations in September 2018. The site is expected to employ 150 persons. The investment amount is about EUR 7 million (about JPY 870 million). The center will collaborate with its second global automotive sales headquarters (established in Frankfurt in February 2017), which is in charge of sales to non-Japanese automakers, to expand its technology and service system for European manufacturers. After operational, the company will also consider sharing functions and integration with its R&D bases in France, Poland and Italy. (June, 2017 news releases)
Toyobo Toyobo makes its PHP joint venture a production site for airbag base fabric, and transferred its cushioning material business
Toyobo’s airbag business in Europe consists of its joint venture PHP Fibers GmbH (Obernburg, Germany) producing the yarn and Toyobo producing the base fabric. However, due to the high brand recognition of PHP, the base fabric will be manufactured by both entities from 2019. To accomplish this, Toyobo will introduce 47 looms and establish a new production system. The investment amount is expected to be JPY several hundred million. As a result, Toyobo's base fabric production will consist of five locations around the world in Japan, Thailand, China, the U.S. and Germany. In addition, Toyobo Europe GmbH (TEG, Dusseldorf, Germany) transferred the European operations related to the cushion material BreathAir project to PHP Fibers GmbH for bedding applications. From September 2017, Toyobo has produced product for applications such as automotive and railway seats with TEG equipment and sold using the sales channels of PHP. The company is planning to expand the business.
Toray Established R&D base specializing in automotive materials in Germany in August 2018
Toray established Toray Automotive Center Europe (AMCEU), a development base specializing in automotive materials, near Munich, Germany in August 2018, to be closer to European automakers leading the market in the adoption of new materials that are suitable for weight reduction, electrification, and EV applications. Toray will provide comprehensive solutions that combine experimental, evaluation and technical support for the application, molding and design of advanced intermediate base materials such as carbon fiber composite material, resin and films, to expand its automotive-related business. The total floor space of AMCEU is about 3,400 square meters. It serves as both a one-stop customer service base and as a core technology development site of Toray in Europe
Nabtesco European regional headquarters established in Germany in May 2017
Nabtesco established Nabtesco Europe GmbH as its European regional headquarters in Limburg, Germany in May 2017 as part of Nabtesco’s mid-term business plan to strengthen its overseas development capability and enter new markets. The capital amount of the company is EUR 2.5 thousand. Nabtesco will accelerate the Group's efficient expansion into Europe and oversee the pre-existing projects in Europe to strengthen its operational foundation.
Nisshinbo Brake Consolidation of two production sites for brake friction materials to be completed in 2018
Nisshinbo Brake will consolidate two of the factories manufacturing passenger car brake friction materials that were owned by TMD Friction Group SA (Neverrhein-Westfalen State Leverkusen City) which it acquired in 2011. Since 2014 the company has been working to integrate the Leverkusen plant with the Essen plant, and the restructuring is scheduled to be completed in 2018. The investment amount is EUR 53 million. The plants manufacture products such as disc pads and brake linings. As market demand increases, the company will make additional investments incrementally and expand by upgrades to its manufacturing sites.
Hayashi Telempu Technical tie-up with soundproofing material supplier on development for next-generation automobiles in 2017
Hayashi Telempu formed a technical partnership with Adler Pelzer of Germany in April 2017 for the development of soundproofing materials used for automotive interior and exterior parts. The partners will combine their expertise in vehicle acoustic technology (soundproofing technology) to develop materials and parts and to provide lightweight and high performance NVH (Noise, Vibration, Harshness) solutions for next generation vehicles. The companies will also cooperate on measures for structure borne noise under 500 Hz, which is a issue with EVs.
Hitachi Chemical Acquired all shares of a German thermal insulation parts supplier in 2017, cooperating to develop low fuel consumption and eco-friendly parts
In April 2017, Hitachi Chemical announced that it had acquired 100% of the shares of ISOLITE GmbH (Rheinland-Pfalz State), an insulation parts supplier for automotive, aircraft and industrial applications. The acquisition amount has not been disclosed. ISOLITE 's insulation products are adopted by European automakers for pipe insulations connected to turbochargers. Hitachi Chemical will expand the sales of ISOLITE 's thermal insulation components in Japan, while taking advantage of ISOLITE' s sales network and manufacturing bases in Europe to accelerate the promotion of Hitachi Chemical’s automotive products in the European market. In the future, the companies will cooperate to develop thermal insulations to meet market needs such as low fuel consumption and environmentally-friendly components, thereby providing solutions for thermal management of engines and exhaust system parts.
Furukawa Electric Established a joint venture for high voltage winding with the subsidiary of Superior Essex of the U.S., and held the opening ceremony in November 2017
In March 2017 Furukawa Electric established the joint venture Essex Furukawa Magnet Wire Europe GmbH (Bad Arolsen, Germany) with Essex Magnet Wire (Bad Arolsen, Hessen, Germany), a subsidiary Superior Essex of the U.S. for the production of High Voltage Winding Wire (HVWW). Essex Magnet Wire owns a majority of the investment and operates the JV on its premises. The opening ceremony was held in November of 2017. HVWW dramatically improves electric motor performance to realize high efficiency and high output.
Mitsui & Co. Invested in Germany electric vehicle charging startup that uses EV batteries
In October 2017 Mitsui announced that it invested in Mobility House AG (Munich, Germany) specializing in electric vehicle charging stations in Europe, as well as a JV with Daimler to operate a power grid that uses recycled EV batteries. The investment ratio has not been disclosed, but the deal is large enough for Mitsui to dispatch officers to sit on the company’s board to support the company's growth. While full-scale deployment of EVs is expected in the future, there is the concern that the renewable energy grid fed by solar and wind power generation will be an unstable power source. As a result, the renewable energy grid needs to be stabilized by supplementing with power from a battery power storage system and automatically adjusting EV charging timing in line with the power supply and demand requirements. Mitsui, which has identified mobility as one of its growth areas, will work to commercialize an advanced business model with the aim of expanding the business to other areas such as the U.S. and Japan.
Mitsubishi Chemical Established department to promote automotive business in Germany in 2017, and provide support to Mitsubishi group companies
Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings established AMS (= Automotive solutions, automotive business promotion center) and staffed it in June 2017 in Germany following similar entities in Japan, the U.S., China, and Thailand. The business unit conducts market research and provides support for the sale of automotive materials such as carbon fiber composite materials, high functional resins, gasoline tanks and interior trim resin products handled by Mitsubishi group companies, leveraging the group’s sales force to approach European automakers, resources for which to date have been limited. The first step was to hold a tech show for Renault and PSA to introduce all the technologies of the group’s companies. (May 2017 news releases).
Note: It is uncertain at which location in Germany AMS will be based, but most likely it will be co-located at Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Europe GmbH (Wiesbaden).
Mitsubishi Electric Agreed to set up a joint venture for high-accuracy positioning service delivery in Berlin, Germany
In August 2017, Mitsubishi Electric announced they had concluded an agreement among four companies including Bosch, Geo++ and u-blox to set up the joint venture Sapcorda Services Co. to provide high-accuracy global navigation satellite system (GNSS) positioning services in Berlin. The company's ownership ratio and business start date was not disclosed. The four parties recognized that existing solutions for GNSS positioning services do not meet the needs of emerging high precision GNSS mass markets. As a result, they decided to join forces to facilitate the establishment of a worldwide available and affordable solution for System Integrators, OEMs and receiver manufacturers. In the beginning, the positioning system will be utilized for autonomous driving and advanced driver-assistance safety systems for applications such as automobiles and agricultural tractors.

Western Europe (excluding Germany): Acquisition, joint ventures, alliances, Enhancement of production organization, and R&D

Company name Activities
AGC Inc. Conducted about 250 theme researches at Belgium's Technovation Center
AGC (formerly Asahi Glass) is conducting research on about 250 themes relating to glass for automotive and construction applications at the AGC Technovation Center established in Belgium in 2014. WAGC is working on the development of glass that incorporates light emitting diodes. (May 2017 news releases)
Kaneka Enhanced production capacity of modified silicon polymers in Belgium
In May 2017, Kaneka announced the expansion of its production facilities at Kaneka Belgium N.V. (Westerlo, Belgium) for modified silicone polymers as functional ingredients used in products such as adhesives. Plans call for an increase in annual production capacity by 10,000 tons, an investment amount of about JPY 4 billion, and the expanded facility is scheduled to be operational by the end of 2018. This will bring the annual production capacity to 30,000 tons. In Europe, demand for functional raw materials that do not use solvents is becoming more popular for automotive applications due to rising environmental regulations, and the company is aiming to expand business by strengthening its supply system.
Calsonic Kansei Establishment of automotive cyber security joint venture in Japan with French IT venture company
In July 2017, Calsonic Kansei announced that it established a 50:50 joint venture in Japan, White Motion LLC, with French cyber security company Quarkslab to fully take on the issue of cyber security in the automotive sector. The capital is JPY 20 million. The company will provide security assessments for the entire vehicle, as well as security measures needed by automobiles in the era of connected cars era for both cyber security and functional safety. The company will also provide security training and consulting for employees of its client companies.
JTEKT Expanding Belgium factory and strengthening development of drive parts in Europe
JTEKT Torsen Europe S.A. (Strepy-Bracquegnies) in Belgium acquired an adjoining factory and increased the site area by 25% to 655 million square meters. The acquired factory space is dedicated to the research and development of drive gears and machine tools, and the opening ceremony of the R&D center was held in May 2017. It will operate sequentially by the end of 2018 and enhance its capability to propose drive parts in preparation for the electrification of vehicles and the spread of EVs in Europe. The investment amount is around JPY 200 million. (May 2017 news releases)
G-TECT Increasing production capacity of the UK press factory, also to handle aluminum processing for electrification
In August 2017, G-TECT announced that it will expand the production capacity of G-TEKT Europe Manufacturing Ltd. (Gloucester, UK) in response to new orders for iron press parts from Japanese and European automakers. The company will establish a new building on the adjacent site of the existing factory and introduce two large transfer press machines and two large blanking press machines. Operations are scheduled to begin in January 2019, and the investment amount is about GBP 30 million (about JPY 4.2 billion). This facility shall also be able to handle the processing of next generation aluminum body parts, the demand for which is expected to expand due to electrification in Europe.
Sekisui Chemical Established European research center in the Netherlands in 2017, investing in increased production capacity of plant for intermediate film for laminated glass used in head-up displays
A subsidiary of Sekisui Chemical Co., Ltd., SEKISUI S-LEC B.V. (Roermond, Netherlands) manufactures and sells interlayer films for laminated glass and is located in the Chemelot Industrial Park; in June 2017 it announced the establishment of its European research center at the Brightlands Chemelot Campus in the vicinity of its interlayer material resin plant in Sittard-Geleen. The investments will strengthen the company’s collaboration and integration with industry, government and academia at the same location to develop new high-performance interlayer film for the global market with special functions added in Europe.
SEKISUI S-LEC B.V. will invest JPY 20 billion to expand facilities to produce high performance resin at its plant to increase the output of wedge-shaped interlayer film used for head-up display (HUD) as a result of the increased demand for electrical equipment and connected cars.
Daikin Acquired Italian fluoropolymer compounds manufacturer in 2017
In August 2017, Daikin announced plans to complete the acquisition of all shares of Heroflon S.p.A. (Province of Brescia, Italy) by the end of October 2017. Although the purchase amount has not been disclosed, it is estimated to be on the scale of several JPY billions. Heroflon is a fluoropolymer compound manufacturer supplying products centering around mainly polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), which is a highly functional and high value-added fluoropolymer used in a wide range of fields such as automotive, construction, electrical power, and chemical industries. Daikin, which manufactures materials such as PTFE, plans to strengthen its relationship with European automakers through Heroflon to expand the sales of fluoride materials that are excellent with regards to functional properties such as heat resistance and wear.
Teijin Decided to increase production of aramid fibers for tire reinforcement at its subsidiary in the Netherlands
Teijin decided to increase the production of aramid fibers at its subsidiary, Teijin Aramid B.V. in Arnhem city in the Netherlands. The company plans to increase the production equipment of its factory by the end of 2017 and to be operational by around the spring of 2019. Although the investment amount has not been disclosed, it is probably several hundred JPY millions and production capacity is likely to increase by about 10%. Over the next several years it is likely that about JPY 2 billion will be invested, increasing production capacity by up to 20%, inclusive of the 2017 round of capacity expansion. (September 2017 news releases)
Denso Invests in Finnish venture company, leading to the development of products related to the mobility services market
Denso invested in Finnish venture company MaaS GLOBAL (Helsinki City). The investment amount is seen as JPY several hundred million. MaaS is engaged in the development of mobility services in Helsinki that provides users an alternative to car ownership by using a dedicated smart phone application to book and pay for a combination of mobility services such as taxis, rental cars, buses, trains, etc. Starting in January 2018, Denso is planning to collaborate with MaaS to develop mobility service products that combine several modes of travel using activities such as satellite laboratories in Helsinki and Munich.
Toray Plans to double the production capacity of its high-grade artificial leather plant in Italy
Toray plans to expand the plant production capacity of its Italian subsidiary Alcantara S.p.A. (Milano) that manufactures and sells its Alcantara brand of high-grade artificial leather material. The company plans to invest about EUR 300 million (approx. JPY 35 billion) in a phased manner over the next five years as a result of increased demand to roughly double the production capacity of the Nera Montoro Plant (Terni, Umbria province). Demand for Alcantara is not limited to the interiors of luxury automobiles, as there has been growing new demand for it as a material to decorate consumer electronics devices such as PCs and headphones, which is expected to lead to a shortfall in production capacity of the material in 2019.
Nippon Seiki Established new production line for head-up display in the UK from 2018
Nippon Seiki established an assembly line for head-up display (HUD) in its UK subsidiary UK-NSI Co., Ltd. (Redditch, UK) that is scheduled to start production from 2018. It will be the company’s third HUD manufacturing site, following those in Japan and the U.S. The HUD components such as the concave mirrors required to display images on the windshield are exported from Japan. In Europe, the number of models equipped with HUDs is increasing, and the company’s UK plant was established to satisfy new orders being received from European automakers. In the future, the subsidiary will also be involved in new product development. (September 2017 news releases)
Nidec Established French joint venture subsidiary with PSA in 2018 for the manufacture of EV drive motors
In December 2017 Nidec announced that its French subsidiary, Nidec Leroy-Somer Holding (ANGOULEME Cedex), would establish a joint venture with PSA in the March to April 2018 timeframe to develop and produce drive motors for applications such as EVs. The paid-up capital at the time of establishment was a 50:50 split of EUR 15 million (about JPY 2 billion). Total investment for the development and production of the new motor will be EUR 220 million and split 50:50. Production at the French plant will begin in 2022. First, the JV will supply drive motors to PSA for its hybrid vehicles, EVs and plug-in hybrid vehicles, then gradually will start selling drive motors to other automakers.
Piolax Concluded a global cooperation agreement for production and sales with A. RAYMOND of France in 2017
In October 2017 Piolax entered into a global production and sales cooperation agreement with France’s A. RAYMOND SCS (Grenoble, France) both of whom are involved in fasteners and small drive components. Both companies had been experiencing increasing difficultly trying to serve customers with their individual resources in all countries and regions as automakers expanded throughout the world. As a result, the two companies share each other’s sites, with Piolax using the sites of A. RAYMOND in Europe and South America, and A. RAYMOND using the sites of Piolax in Southeast Asia. Through the partnership Piolax aims to increase its sales by JPY 10 billion and operating profit by more than JPY 1 billion.
Panasonic Became subsidiary in July 2017 Ficosa, the leading Spain parts and system supplier
In July 2017, Panasonic announced that it would acquire an additional 20% of shares in Ficosa International S.A. (Barcelona, Spain), a leading supplier of automotive parts and systems in Spain, increasing its stake in Ficosa to 69%, and making it a consolidated subsidiary. Since Panasonic acquired 49% of Ficosa's shares in June 2015, the two companies have jointly developed new electronic mirrors. Going forward, the companies aim to further expand business by jointly developing products for growth fields such as next-generation cockpit systems and advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS).
Bridgestone Gradually increasing tire production capacity in Spain and Poland by 2022
In October 2017 Bridgestone announced its plans to upgrade production equipment and expand capacity at three of its tire factories in Spain and Poland. Bridgestone Europe NV/SA (Brussels), its subsidiary located in Belgium, invested a total of about EUR 66 million (about JPY 32.4 billion), effectively increasing its production capacity by more than 20% with the upgrades to be phased in by 2022. The Burgos plant (in the state of Castilla y León) in Spain will extend capacity for Nissan from 27,500 to 33,300 pieces. In addition to large diameter tires, Bridgestone will enhance its supply capability, especially for high-performance tires that excel in terms of fuel economy and quietness.

Acquired French tire retail chain in 2017
In June 2017 Bridgestone announced that it acquired 100% of the shares of one of France’s largest tire retail chains, Groupe Ayme, making it a wholly-owned subsidiary. As a result, the acquisition adds 104 retail outlets under the “Côté Route” brand managed by Ayme to expand Bridgestone’s retail network in France to more than 900 outlets, alongside the traditional First Stop and Speedy retail store brands.
Press Kogyo Updating equipment of its Swedish subsidiary in 2017 for small lot production of multifarious products
In June 2017, Press Kogyo upgraded its subsidiary in Sweden, PRESS KOGYO SWEDEN AB (Oskarshamn State), with one laser cutting machine to handle small lot production of various products. The company has set up a system that can be profitable even with small lot orders for suspension and chassis parts. The company plans to introduce a second unit in 2018. The company plans to increase the number of orders from commercial vehicle manufacturers. In addition, the company intends to reduce costs by automating incidental tasks such as the transport of steel sheets and products. Also, the company is bringing in-house the manufacture some of the products it had ordered externally to reduce outsourcing costs and increase cost competitiveness.
Horiba Established advanced emissions test center established in 2017 at engineering facility of UK subsidiary
In July 2017, Horiba, Ltd. announced that it opened an advanced emissions test facility, the Advanced Emissions Test Center (AETC), at its engineering facility of its UK subsidiary HORIBA MIRA, Ltd. (Nuneaton, Warwickshire, UK). AETC is the first facility to collaborate on development, combining Horiba's state-of-the-art emissions testing and simulation equipment with the measurement know-how of HORIBA MIRA. In addition to conventional emissions regulations, the facility is compliant with the new RDE (Real Driving Emissions) regulations that require emissions measurement testing under various real-world environmental conditions while driving. As a result, the facility will support the development of European automakers and expand Horiba’s business.
Mitsubishi Chemical Acquired 44% stake in an Italian carbon fiber molding manufacturer to develop business with Western automakers
In October 2017 Mitsubishi Chemical announced that Mitsubishi Chemical Carbon Fiber and Composites GmbH (Düsseldorf, Germany), its 100% wholly-owned German subsidiary, had acquired 44% of the shares in Italy's C.P.C. SRL (Modena City, Emilia-Romagna State), which specializes in carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) forming. The investment amount is likely more than JPY 8 billion. C.P.C. supplies CFRP molded parts for luxury cars in Europe and the U.S., but with the cooperation of Mitsubishi Chemical aims to expand its sales with the major automakers. The company plans to install a 5,000 ton class and a 3,000 ton class press machine in the future.
Mitsubishi Electric Partnership with the leading European digital map supplier HERE in the Netherlands to expand the use of high-accuracy location information services
In October 2017, Mitsubishi Electric announced that it had agreed with HERE Technologies (Amsterdam), the leading European digital map supplier in the Netherlands, on a partnership to expand the use of high-accuracy location information services. The two companies will integrate HERE's high-precision map and cloud location information service with Mitsubishi Electric's high-precision positioning technology, aiming to disseminate new and beneficial services that are easier to use in preventive safety and autonomous driving technologies. The partnerships plans to first develop business with western automakers beginning from around 2020. In 2015 HERE was acquired by three German automakers including BMW as well investment by Intel.
Mitsubishi Materials Acquired copper processing division of UK group company in 2017
In May 2017 Mitsubishi Materials completed the acquisition of Luvata Special Products (Pori, Finland), a division of Luvata UK that manufactures and sells copper processed products. Luvata Special Products has 12 manufacturing sites in seven countries including Europe, the Americas, and Asia. Its portfolio includes high value-added products such as welding electrode materials used in automobile manufacturing and superconductive wiring for medical equipment such as MRI. As a result of the acquisition, Mitsubishi Materials will expand globally in the copper processing business, which to date has been limited to the markets of Japan and Southeast Asia, as well as develop business in new growth fields.

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