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ANALYSIS: Ficosa reflects on its position in NAFTA

By Matthew Beecham | 8 March 2011

The Spanish car parts supplier Ficosa has acquired the US-based rearview mirror manufacturer, Camryn as part of its globalisation strategy. The move, combined with Ficosa’s acquisition of Delbar Products Inc in 2008 and alliance with Japan’s Ichikoh last year, strengthens its position in the North American rearview mirror market, writes Matthew Beecham.

Delbar produces automotive rearview mirrors. The company was founded in 1947 and is based in Perkasie, Pennsylvania, US. Since April 2008, Delbar has been operating as a subsidiary of Ficosa North America Corp. Although it has inevitably taken time for Ficosa to integrate Delbar’s operations into its own business, this acquisition clearly elevated the Spanish supplier’s position in NAFTA.

Last May, Ficosa and Ichikoh formed a global alliance in the automotive mirror business.  In announcing the deal, the partners said their objective was “to deliver a better service by undertaking joint actions on a global basis.”

A few months after this announcement, we spoke to Vicenç Aguilera, managing director of Ficosa Technology about how the alliance was shaping-up.  He told us: “Our alliance with Ichikoh has started in North America where we have taken care of all the assets of Ichikoh and reorganised its business. We are now in the early stages of joining forces in China in order to develop new products for this fast-growing economy. ... Thanks to this alliance, Ficosa has a reinforced its position in the United States.  Going forward, we expect to develop business not only with European or American car manufacturers but also with other manufacturers.”

This latest move to acquire Camryn is expected to increase Ficosa’s rearview market share in NAFTA to 28.7%.  just-auto estimates that Ficosa enjoyed an 18% share of the automotive exterior rearview mirror market in North America prior to its alliance with Ichikoh.

Ficosa currently has manufacturing plants in four NAFTA locations:  Indiana, Tennessee, Kentucky (a plant acquired from Ichikoh in 2010) and in Monterrey (Mexico). Its presence in the US also includes an R&D centre in Michigan. 

Ficosa is focusing its growth beyond NAFTA, reaching out to Asian markets, which it expects will generate 30% of its sales by 2016.  Its efforts to expand in Asia include plans for two new assembly plants to support its Shanghai manufacturing facility which is currently being expanded.

See also: SPAIN/US: Ficosa acquires Camryn