Auto
Wanfeng Auto to hit new roads
Last Updated: 2013-02-26 07:56 | China Daily
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Wanfeng Auto Holding Group, the world's largest automotive aluminum wheel producer by market share, is aiming to become a global service provider.

It plans to set up two manufacturing bases, in India and Central or South America, by 2015 and seek mergers and acquisitions in Europe, according to its president.

"Our globalization moves will help us sell not only our products but also our services to the world," Chen Bin, president of Wanfeng Auto Holding Group, told China Daily.

Construction work will start on Wanfeng Aluminum Wheels (India) Pvt Ltd, the company's first overseas manufacturing base, by the end of this year. The location has not been announced.

Investment in the base is 307.4 million yuan ($49.3 million), and its annual production capacity will be 3 million motorcycle wheels. The base will also produce auto wheels.

The group has been producing 12 million automotive wheels a year and 18 million motorcycle wheels.

Wangfeng's second overseas manufacturing base may be set up in Central or South America before the end of 2015, Chen said. Wanfeng has six manufacturing bases in Zhejiang, Shandong, Guangdong and Jilin provinces.

Chen said the company is also considering acquiring a European service company with six factories in Russia, Serbia, Germany, Italy, Mexico and Italy.

"In the coming 10 years we will go abroad to invest and do some mergers and acquisitions, following the Zhejiang government's policies of separating our auxiliary businesses from the main one."

Wanfeng's main clients include General Motors, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Volkswagen, PSA, Fiat, Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Hyundai Kia Automotive Group.

"As our clients have shown great confidence in the Chinese market, Wanfeng has also has paid more attention to domestic sales since 2006," the president said.

According to the financial report of Zhejiang Wanfeng Auto Wheel Co Ltd, the group's subsidiary company listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, its revenue totaled 3.93 billion yuan in the 2011 financial year and net profit was 290 million yuan.

The business performance report by the listed company showed revenue in the 2012 financial year was 4.1 billion yuan.

Wuerth China CEO Christoph Ladurner said: "The transformation of an automotive manufacturer to a service provider is a big step.

"It depends on which service Wanfeng wants to give to its customers and if these customers can accept its value-added package. Therefore, the customers will decide if the transformation works or not."

Wuerth Group, a leading supplier of automotive maintenance supplies based in Germany, has had a presence in China since 1994.

"From our experience, Chinese customers are more demanding in service than those in the West. Therefore, if Wanfeng finds the right service then it will have a prosperous future," Ladurner said.

He said the global automotive market in 2013 will experience challenges due to the economic situation, especially in southern Europe and the US.

"The Chinese market will gain importance because of the weakness of the above- mentioned continents. China will be transformed from a car importing market to a car exporting market and therefore be the No 1 car market," Ladurner added.

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