We grow continuously

The managers of the KIRCHHOFF Group look back at a positive financial year during the company’s annual press conference.

Due to its international structure the KIRCHHOFF Group was able to show a clear growth in all four business units, Automotive, Ecotec, Mobility and WITTE Werkzeuge this year. The revenue has increased by 1.825 million Euros and with an adjusted currency exchange rate, the growth amounts to 6%. At the moment the KIRCHHOFF Group employs in 17 countries, 49 plants about 10,500 employees.


Also in 2015, KIRCHHOFF Automotive grew further and developed a stronger position in all business areas. In total, the domestic automotive supplier will reach revenue of 1.350 million Euros with 8,250 employees; 12% more in comparison to the previous year, with an adjusted exchange currency of 5%.


KIRCHHOFF Automotive recorded a growth in Europe of about 8.3% which is therefore, higher than the car sales in Western Europe, recorded at 7%. In the NAFTA region the revenues could potentially translate into double-digit numbers, with an adjusted exchange currency rate of about 6%. Until the end of the year it is forecast that about 17 million vehicles will be sold in North America. By then, nearly the same level of sales will be reached as it was at the turn of the millennium. KIRCHHOFF Automotive delivers parts to numerous American customers and also to German customers, who increasingly produce in Mexico for the North American market.


The German market has recovered amazingly. In October almost 280,000 cars were newly registered in Germany; that is the highest volume in this decade this far. Since the beginning of this year the registrations of new vehicles increased by 5% and reached almost 2.7 million units. It is especially pleasing that despite the tampering crisis at VW, the number of sales of diesel vehicles has grown stronger since October in the overall market. We hope that the German automotive industry along with Germany, as a desirable industry location will not suffer from a lasting damaged image.


To propel positive growth and development in the Company, about 82 million Euros were invested worldwide. The Company has enlarged its capacities especially in North America and China, regions that have demonstrated strong growth in the world economy. In the USA, a new plant in Lansing, Michigan was opened, in which parts for the Chevrolet Camaro are being produced. KIRCHHOFF Van-Rob in Manchester has received its first order for the production of cross car beams for Nissan in North America. In China the plant in Shenyang, which was opened one year ago, will expand and will produce components for BMW in the future. In the largest automotive market worldwide, the demand for lightweight aluminum solutions for chassis parts has also increased. And who benefits from that? The KIRCHHOFF Automotive sites in China, who were able to further specialize in these technologies.


In Europe, the plants in Attendorn, Iserlohn, as well as in Poland, Spain and Portugal have been strongly invested in handling current and future start-ups. That is why laser welding and aluminum MIG welding extend as the core competencies in the Polish plant, Gliwice. A new plant in Gniezno, Poland is also currently being built. There, complex welding assemblies for the new VW Crafters are going to be manufactured in the future. In Iserlohn a new building with a production area of 2,600 m² has been built to house an area for laser systems, provisioning and dispatch. There, parts for start-ups from Daimler’s E and GLK classes are welded and products for VW’s Touran/Tiguan projects stored. In machinery, a newly developed destacker system, which automatically destacks up to 200°C hot hotformed parts has been added to our 1200to hotforming press. In Attendorn a new highly modern welding system with fully automated removal of the finished parts was set up for the production of the heel part for the new VW Touran. The system is also designed and constructed for heel parts of future vehicle models. A new hall of 900 m², fully equipped, offers further logistics area for products like the laser welded cross car beam for the Ford Mondeo or hotformed rockers for the VW Touran.


“Numerous new orders and development projects for premium and volume manufacturers prove that automotive lightweight construction, hotformed steel, as well as aluminum components are undergoing unstoppable growth. We invested early in the right technologies and therefore, expect great growth in 2016 due to strong domestic demand”, reports Arndt G. Kirchhoff happily.


KIRCHHOFF Ecotec with its product line of compactor trucks, sweepers and lifters is the market leader in Europe. The brands FAUN, ZOELLER and Turkish attachment manufacturer HIDRO-MAK also belong to the company. With the acquisition of majority shares of HIDRO-MAK in August, the Company’s position in the market has been significantly strengthened. The brand HIDRO-MAK complements the product portfolio and will remain as an independent brand while still part of the Ecotec group. Arab and Southeast European countries will be supplied by the plant in Turkey.


Overall, this year’s revenues are projected to increase by 5%. The German market for compactor trucks, lifter systems and sweepers still appears to be stable. The extensive service network has been further expanded and a new, highly modern service center in Stuttgart/Gerlingen opened. Ecotec currently runs ten customer centers in Germany, thirteen in France and twelve in Great Britain in order to care for all customers through a nationwide service network. In the segment of compactor trucks a new side loader generation was successfully launched. Several large orders can already be expected. For the lifter systems, a new lifter ROTARY III 2406 has been developed. In Switzerland, the market introduction of the FAUN compactor trucks succeeded instantly through the Ecotec subsidiary Contena-Ochsner AG. Activities in the compactor trucks sector in North America will be intensified in 2016 as well. Generally turbulent geopolitical trends have caused the companies of Ecotec to broaden their position and to seek out new market potentials. As an example, the first compactor trucks were delivered to Australia, sweepers are to follow the next year.


FAUN, ZOELLER and HIDRO-MAK employ in 10 countries, 14 plants with 2,500 employees.


KIRCHHOFF Mobility is going to achieve a revenue growth in the single-digit percentage range at year’s end. More than 3,000 individually modified vehicles for active, and passive drivers leave the KIRCHHOFF Mobility facility each year. A continuously growing net of nationwide branches in Germany, Austria and Switzerland offer private customers quick and easy accessibility. At the same time KIRCHHOFF Mobility has established partnerships with various vehicle manufacturers. In 2015, VW commercial vehicles awarded Jelschen, which belongs to KIRCHHOFF Mobility, the ‘Premium Partner’ award for their high-quality modifications. Only manufacturers with proven track records of fulfilling special requirements receive such recognition. As now a ‘Premium Partner’, Jelschen will be recommended for VW sales in the future. KIRCHHOFF Mobility will participate in the Geneva International Motor Show, from the 3rd to the 13th of March in 2016. The goal at the show is to showcase how people with limited mobility can take part in the mobility of the future, and how they can gain a piece of their freedom back through individual vehicle modifications.


WITTE Tools was not able to continue the upward trend of 2014 this year. The demand in some important markets, like Russia for example, came to an almost total standstill. Also, the demand in the EU has been unsatisfying; however happily, some markets in Southern Europe could see a revenue increase of up to 20% again. The company is going to face the volatility of the markets with considerably higher marketing efforts and new products. In order to make the WITTE Tools product portfolio even more interesting to the tool specialist trade, “Made in Germany” pliers will start rounding off the sales program. Application-specific tool kits for the various target groups will also be put together. The production was extended by a new three component injection moulding system that enables us to produce more efficiently but also more flexibly. The need for quality has become a higher priority for customers and with it, a chance for WITTE Tools to showcase their “Made in Germany” products.


In the following year, managers from the Kirchhoff family see good prospects for all business units. In 2016 the KIRCHHOFF Group expects a revenue growth of about 5%, which translates into 1.9 billion Euros. The diversification of customers and product portfolio, a high level of flexibility and the worldwide extension and development of core technologies are going to propel existing workplaces and create new workplaces globally.

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