Despite sharply declining industry sales in North America, TI Automotive plans to achieve an annual growth rate of 15% or more over the next several years globally.

The company's new chairman and CEO, Bill Kozyra, said auto suppliers need to redesign their business models to account for slumping production volumes in the United States and rapidly expanding markets in the Asia Pacific region and central Europe.

"We can't expect the US market to stage a comeback anytime soon," Kozyra said at the Center for Automotive Research's Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Michigan.

"Our industry needs to head straight into the eye of the storm, adjust to lower volumes in North America and focus on growth opportunities in other regions
throughout the world."

Kozyra said TI Automotive is making fundamental changes to its global organisation to spark long-term growth.

He noted the company is investing more US$40m per year in its restructuring efforts and $120m in new and improved facilities.

TI Automotive recently downsized its North American operations by reducing salaried headcount by more than 20% and is moving the headquarters of its largest business unit from the Detroit area to Heidelberg, Germany.

"Shifting the global headquarters of our fluid-carrying systems business to Europe will help us focus more directly on growth markets outside of the NAFTA region," Kozyra said.

The Tier One supplier has shuttered more than 10 obsolete or underused manufacturing facilities around the world in the past several years, while opening eight new plants in locations closer to its customers in Poland, Turkey, China, Korea and India.

"We have a major presence in the Asia Pacific region where we've done business for nearly three decades," he Kozyra said.

"Today, we operate 12 manufacturing plants in China, seven in Korea and four in India with another facility scheduled to open next year in Indonesia."

Kozyra said the company is operating at a profit on a global basis and in every region around the world, except for North America where he expects it to return to profitability during the first half of 2009.

Vertically integrated, the company claims to be the world's leading supplier of fluid storage, transfer and delivery systems, including brake, fuel and air-conditioning applications and customers include all major global automakers.

Europe accounts for approximately 50% of its annual sales of around $2.8bn while North America accounts for 25%, followed by the Asia Pacific region (20%) and Latin America (5%).

Toyota reshuffle may mean supplier pain - analyst