Compared to a very bad situation in Europe generally, Austria is doing very well with just 4% unemployment—in Europe as a whole, excluding Germany, unemployment is over 10%. Last week I visited ZKW, a most innovative Austrian automotive lighting supplier delivering their products to most of the premium car makers.
Although it was my second visit, I was truly impressed by the level of innovation, the new technological products I discovered, and the atmosphere inside the two R&D buildings: very clean areas with high tech pictures on the walls and heavy investment in R&D. The production area itself impressed me with its clean processes mainly thanks to ZKW’s skill and expertise with PEI (polyetherimide) thermoplastic material for reflectors and other components: no dust, no varnish.
The strategy of ZKW is oriented toward premium cars and innovative generalist car makers and the new products launched in 2012 demonstrate this point: Scania R-Klass, BMW 3 and 7 Series, X6, and M1200GS motorcycle, Mercedes SL and GLK, Porsche Boxster, Volvo V40 car and FH truck, Royce Phantom—all of them offering as an option Full AFS/ADB with Xenon and LED technologies.
Their 2020 vision for premium lighting is the key underlying their growth and their positive success.Their growth makes competitors dream with €170m in 2005, €305m in 2010, €380m in 2011, and €440m in 2012 (planned) .
ZKW will have produced three million headlamps in 2012 by year’s end. It is a huge success for a company who built their first halogen headlamp in 1989!
DVN Editor in Chief