Johnson Controls Inc. says that it has agreed to acquire German seat specialist maker C. Rob Hammerstein Group. The purchase will boost JCI's market share for seats in Europe by giving access to CRH customers like BMW AG and Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz. JCI does most of its business in Europe. The merger also plans to develop lightweight seats for future vehicles.
Automakers are pressured to make their cars more fuel efficient ahead of tougher emissions rules. In the new standards that start to take effect in Europe in 2012, suppliers have been asked to reduce the weight of their components since lighter cars need less powerful, more-efficient engines.
Beda Bolzenius, JCI vice president and president of Johnson Controls Automotive Experience says the CRH acquisition will enhance JCI's seat product offering as it will advance its strong market position through global manufacturing capabilities, innovation and further optimization of its portfolio.
CRH has about 3,600 employees in nine countries and the acquisition will lead to growth in Europe and China, the world's biggest auto market.
JCI, which specializes in interiors, will integrate CRH into its Johnson Controls Automotive Experience unit, which is concerned with mechanisms and metal. [via autonews - sub. required]