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Automotive: Research & Development

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Equipment manufacturers, subsidiaries of major groups have chosen Normandy to establish their R&D centres
Faurecia in Caligny: vehicle seating mechanisms
Magneti Marelli in Argentan: injection parts and
engine control systems
Filtrauto in Vire and Argentan: rechargeable filters, plastic moldings

The world's 3rd ranking car seat manufacturer, Faurecia, has established its global R&D centre for car seat mechanisms in Caligny. Faurecia is Orne's leading private employer. Its R&D centre's annual budget: €700 million. Located alongside the equipment manufacturer's new 40,000m² plant, inaugurated in 2009, the new 7,000m² R&D centre (inaugurated in January 2010 for a total investment of €15 million), which will ultimately employ 400 engineers and technicians, reunites the plant's design, simulation, prototyping and physical validation tools, all devoted to research on car seat mechanisms, i.e. sliding rails, hinges, car seat height adjusters and modularity systems. Faurecia is the world leader in this activity with a market share of 18%. The location of its R&D centre also reinforces the industrial education and training campus which includes an apprenticeship engineering course in "Mécanique et Génie des Matériaux" (Material Mechanics and Engineering), developed by ENSICAEN.
MAGNETI MARELLI Motopropulsion France
This motor vehicle equipment manufacturer, entirely owned by the Fiat group, specialises in injection and engine control systems. The company, which celebrated its 40th anniversary on the Argentan site in 2010, has launched a €13 million investment programme over three years aimed at industrialising new products at its Normandy site. Magneti Marelli will be injecting €1 million into the site's R&D department, also a world leading research centre. The company, with its workforce of 310, produces 2 million "butterfly" valves, an engine part that controls the air entering the engine and impacts CO2 consumption . The Orne-based plant is the world's skill centre for these "butterfly" valves.
FILTRAUTO (French subsidiary of the Italian equipment manufacturer Sogefi)
The company's Vire site employs a workforce of 403 and, in 2009 , produced 26.7 million filters (oil, diesel and cabin). Filtrauto acquired Rovip, based in Argentan, in 2005; the company supplies its Vire plant with plastic components (75 million moulded plastic parts). The Vire plant develops and produces rechargeable filters, in particular under the brand name Purflux, for vehicle repair and part distribution firms such as Norauto, AD, Feu Vert... together with supermarkets. This market represented 9% of the Vire plant's activity in 2009.
Despite a 12.9% decrease in production in 2009, the European industry is over-capacity and will remain so until 2013, according to the American financial and market intelligence consultancy Standard & Poor's. The crisis could well have offered an opportunity for manufacturers to significantly reduce such over-capacity; however, "stabilising" State inventions and scrapping premiums have limited their room for manoeuvre, whilst considerably reducing their sales mix and their margins. Since the end (in Germany and Italy) and the reduction (in France) of support programmes, Standard & Poor's expect a reduction in sales by general vehicle manufacturers throughout Europe, which promises only to be partly compensated for by a slight improvement in sales mix. According to AlixPartners, in 2009, there were more automobile manufacturers at risk of insolvency in Europe than in the United States. Indeed, 54% of European equipment manufacturers were in a situation of "fiscal danger", i.e. at risk of bankruptcy over the coming two years. The European market has been sustained essentially thanks to support in the form of scrapping premiums launched by governments, which have obscured the true financial situation of subcontractors, who are - more often than not - highly dependent upon major car manufacturers. Whereas North America is already on the road to recovery (+12% scheduled for 2010), the Europe market should maintain its loss (-10%) for it has not, as yet, embarked upon major restructuration of its automotive industry.

  • 3 Sites industriels de Faurecia
  • Contrôleur de voitures
  • Filtrauto Vire
  • Test moteur
  • Pièces détachées - Faurecia