“One mans loss is another mans gain" - Lectra on VW and Takata issues

“One man's loss is another man's gain" - Lectra on VW and Takata issues

Technology solutions supplier, Lectra says the current woes afflicting Volkswagen and previously those at airbag manufacturer, Takata, present genuine opportunities for new business as the market adapts to potential alternatives.

Volkswagen's emission scandal problems are well documented with a potential 11m diesel vehicles around the world having to be recalled, but any immediate shortfall from that could generate new business for fabrics, leather, technical textiles and composite materials supplier, Lectra.

“The automotive industry in the past months has been facing crises, ethical and economic,” said Lectra chief marketing officer, Celine Choussy at the supplier's recent briefing at its headquarters in Bordeaux.

“One man's loss is another man's gain. Other carmakers will benefit from [the] Volkswagen crisis to increase sales. What Takata does not produce, more TRW and Autoliv [for example] are taking the weight.

“For us it is a tremendous opportunity, overall it is good news for Lectra. It is about reliability, integrity, sincerity.”

Lectra - which supplies fabrics and leather cutting machines to numerous global Tier 1s for seating and interiors as well as airbags - is not a manufacturer but a final assembler in its home city of Bordeaux and sees particular growth for its products as global SUV demand continues to increase.

Equally, around 80% of the world's airbags are manufactured using Lectra machines, some of which are so vast they have to be shipped in modular form to be reassembled at the T1's desired location, with the supplier producing around 400 cutters per year.

“[There will be] +14m units during the next five years of which 4.8m are SUV,” added Choussy. “SUVs are more premium and carry a higher share of leather. Premium brands are growing faster and that has a definite impact.

“The market is still growing in China [although] Brazil and Russia are facing a deep economic crisis. It is not just China and the good news is across the key regions in the world that we see growth happening.”

Lectra employs around 1,500 staff and has customers in more than 100 countries.

Established in 1973 and based in France, Lectra generated revenues of EUR211m (US$233m) last year.