For 120 years the HELLA brand has built a global reputation as a leader in high performance and quality products.
Last year HELLA was acquired by automotive components manufacturer Faurecia, with the new association helping to establish umbrella company, FORVIA, making it the seventh largest automotive supplier in the world.
As market leaders in different fields, HELLA and Faurecia share in a vision, mission, and similar purpose.
That focus extends to the megatrends of the automotive industry, namely autonomous driving, electrification, and sustainability.
Improving vehicle safety and the user experiences while reducing its environmental impact is at the forefront of this combined vision. The HELLA brand remains a key presence in the design and development of their products and packaging.
The joining of HELLA and Faurecia also brings with it significant market leverage with one of every two vehicles produced globally now equipped with its products.
Through the sharing of knowledge and expertise, along with FORVIA’s noted ambition to reach $53 billion sales by 2025, HELLA Australia Managing Director Darren Robinson anticipates only positive developments and opportunities for the brand’s OEM and Aftermarket customers globally, including those here in Australia.
“With approximately 150,000 employees, operating in 42 countries across 300 sites and with 77 R&D centres housing close to 35,000 engineers, we can utilise experts across all business areas to support our business here in Australia,” he says.
“And with technology increasing at a faster and faster pace, we will be well positioned to offer the products, support and services required to support our customers with innovative new products, and to support the global transition from legacy combustion engines to electric vehicles and hydrogen well into the future.”
FORVIA’s current business and planned growth across global OEMs will likely offer up significant opportunities for local aftermarket customers as high investment in both R&D and innovations ensure a strong supply of new products and innovation.
More than $4 billion has already been committed to R&D in 2023. According to Darren this puts the company in a strong position to ensure Australian manufacturers and its aftermarket distributors have access to the very latest across innovations, products, technical information, training and support.
“We will continue to invest and develop our employees, products and service approach in Australia over the next five years and beyond and have clear strategic plans to increase our market shares between two- and four-times market growth, depending on individual customer segments such as Aftermarket, Truck, Bus & Trailer,” he says.
“This will be achieved by continuing to offer the latest products, by focusing on customer requirements and by generating market pull for our distributors.”
Through its Electronics and Clean Mobility Divisions, HELLA and Faurecia are winning OEM business for steer-by-wire systems, high-voltage converters, radar sensors, shake sensors and intelligent battery sensors. As a group, the company is also heavily investing in hydrogen related components and systems.
Commercial road transport is very much advancing parallel to trends seen similarly across the automotive industry.
Electrification and sustainability being two of the primary drivers. Greater use of electronic components in commercial vehicles, according to Darren, will continue to enhance efficiency and safety gains.
“This is one of the key portfolios that we will expand our offering to commercial transport,” he says. “Providing lighting solutions as a complete package which will improve efficiency for builders”.
Regionally, shrewd investment in manufacturing has protected the business from the current uncertainties inherent in supply chains.
For its commercial vehicle customers around 70 per cent of the products come from its state-of-the-art electronics and lighting production facilities in New Zealand, where it has been at the forefront of LED lamps since 1990. These products have, to date, received considerable worldwide recognition in the road transport, automotive and safety lighting segments.
This year the business celebrates 50 years of manufacturing in New Zealand.
As FORVIA, presently, explores bringing new products to the Australian market it will not only continue to pull products from its existing product ranges but drive the product development required to ensure local customers receive the right product for the specific application it is intended for.
“At this month’s Brisbane Truck Show we are showcasing our latest transport industry products which provide exceptional reliability and comfort, with installation and repair efficiencies,” says Darren.
“One special feature will include showcasing our Plug and Play Electrical Junction Box for trailers to provide better safety, reliability and labour efficiencies. We’ll also have a new range of accessory lightbars, beacons, and work lamps on display.”
Also featured, as part of the FORVIA display, will be a Smart Massage Seat cover and new Black Magic TOUGH light bars. The comprehensive range of light bars are specially designed for tough environments.
On a global scale, FORVIA is implementing an energy transition plan that will include Australia.
The company has committed to CO2 Net Zero by 2045. The CO2 neutrality project is managed as part of the “climate strategy and sustainable transformation” initiative, reporting to the Executive Committee.
Its holistic implementation includes an operational interface network for all Business Groups and support functions.
A monthly and global dashboard of key indexes is used to closely monitor the roadmap and react appropriately.
At HELLA’s New Zealand factory, its main supplier for lighting products in the commercial vehicle segment, electricity is sourced from 100 per cent renewable hydro energy.
Meanwhile, HELLA Australia has, to date, eliminated 70 per cent of plastic from its product packaging.
“There will be projects that we will also implement at HELLA Australia based on this initiative,” says Darren.
“At HELLA Australia we have transitioned to green energy for sourcing the electricity of our head office by installing solar power in February this year.”