Riding high on the success of Toyota Motor, Denso becomes the world’s largest supplier of parts to automakers, excluding aftermarket. Denso worldwide sales rose 31% from $28.5 billion in 2006 to $37.5 billion in 2007. Denso is a leader in thermal and powertrain controls, electronics, small motors and telecommunications. Toyota remains Denso’s largest customer. The automaker owns 23% of Denso directly and more through other Toyota group members. Of Denso’s total sales to carmakers, 66 percent are in Asia, where Toyota is the leader. Another 15 percent are in North America and 16 percent in Europe.
Robert Bosch of Germany finished second after 3 consecutive years in the top spot.
Bosch owns 5.3 percent of Denso. That stake is a vestige of the days when the Japanese supplier, then known as Nippondenso, licensed various technologies from the German company.
Continental of Germany made the biggest gain. It rose from 12th to 4th. Its 2007 acquisition of Siemens VDO Automotive helped sales to $25 billion in 2007 from $11.5 billion in 2006.
Of the top 10, 4 have their headquarters in Europe, 3 in the US, 2 in Japan and 1 in Canada.
A detailed analysis of this year’s list shows that the biggest losers are heavily reliant on North America for sales.
That trend of falling sales at companies reliant on North America is likely to continue into 2008. North American vehicle production could fall below 14 million units this year compared with 15.1 million in 2007.