Q&A with Inteva Products

By Matthew Beecham | 12 January 2011

Earlier this month, Inteva Products LLC acquired ArvinMeritor’s body systems business.  The move enables Inteva to strengthen its position as a global supplier of interior systems, door systems and access control systems while expanding its product expertise to include roof systems, motors and electronics.  In this interview, Matthew Beecham talked with Stefan Land, Vice President and Executive Director for the Roof Systems Product Line, Inteva Products. Stefan was previously Vice President and General Manager of ArvinMeritor’s Body Systems business group.

just-auto: Could you give us some revenue forecasts for your expanded business?

Stefan Land: As a private company, we have a policy not to release specific revenue forecasts. Over the next month or so, we will be looking into our product lines and talking with our customers in different regions of the world about our existing and future participation in their vehicle programmes. Our strategy is to grow the combined business, not consolidate it. Today, the combined company generates about €2.2 billion revenue. We currently employ over 8,000 people at 43 facilities in 18 countries 30 manufacturing facilities around the globe.

On that basis, Inteva has doubled in size overnight. How is the board managing that process?

We are merging two companies of similar size. This is a different scenario than a big company taking over a small one. In order to do this right, we believe in the expertise of those management teams, as well as the employees of both companies. For instance, the former body system management team is now part of the global leadership team of Inteva. In order to achieve a good integration, we need to use the expertise of each company in order to offer even better value to our customers. So unlike a typical acquisition, we have both teams on board managing the business.

While the acquisition has given Inteva a stronger presence in Europe, Asia and the Americas, what about those emerging markets?

Today, we are in the Americas, Western and Eastern Europe, China and India. So we are positioned in those areas that will show significant growth. Today, a lot of our products also go into the Russian market for example. While we don’t have a location there, this is certainly part of our strategic discussions.

How is your business in China shaping-up?

Following the acquisition, we operate four product lines, namely: interiors, closures, roofs, and motors and electronics. Do we have presence of all those product lines in all our locations? The answer is no. Is this good news or bad news? We consider this good news because it gives us opportunities for growth.

As far as the Chinese market is concerned, we are very strong on three of our four product lines. We are very strong on the roof side; actually we do have our own production as well as a joint venture which covers a big portion. We have been doing business in China for decades on the latch and window regulator side, as well as on the motor business. However, we do not have a presence in the interiors market today. So our strategy is to grow with our interiors business in China

How do each of your four product lines stack-up in the European marketplace?

The picture here is pretty similar to China. We are known here as one of the top suppliers for latches, motors, roofs, closure systems, window regulators and door modules. We do develop and design interiors as well with our location in Wuppertal, Germany. However, we are not producing here, so one of the strategic aspects of acquiring the body systems was to use its footprint in Europe to develop and expand interiors into this region.

So overall, we have a strong footprint in Europe, not only on the manufacturing side but also on the engineering side. And we understand that our customers need us working alongside them, specifically on the engineering side.

What is your position in the roof module market?

We are number two in the European roof module market. And we have been able to grow our business with additional customers. For example, we added Daimler to our roofs business line. We are expanding this other customers, too.

What would you say Inteva’s unique selling point in the roof module area is?

In the European marketplace, there are a lot of cars that have a standard tilt and slide roof. The trend now is for panoramic roofs with complex shading systems and more glass options. So there is a huge appetite for these roofs offering different styles and options. But with all these technical solutions I cannot go into too much detail yet as we are working on special projects with some of our customers. However, I can say that you can expect to see more from us on the roof side with us taking a greater market share.