2023: Reasonable result despite difficult conditions

J. Wolfgang Kirchhoff, Chairman of the Management Board of KIRCHHOFF Automotive, looks back on a year that was once again characterized by many challenges at the seniors and jubilarians’ celebrations of KIRCHHOFF Automotive at the German locations. Nevertheless, he believes that the South Westphalian automotive supplier is well positioned for the future.

The past year has not made doing business any easier. After sales on the automotive market in the first few months of the year gave rise to hopes of an economic recovery, the economy cooled down in the second half of the year. The availability of raw materials, trade restrictions and sanctions, as well as their impact on inflation, determine the framework conditions for the reorganization of supply chains.

While new registrations of electric cars are increasing significantly, those of combustion engines and plug-in hybrids are continuing to decline. This is a positive development for KIRCHHOFF Automotive. This is because the South Westphalian automotive supplier develops and produces safety-relevant metal structural components, especially with regard to changes in car bodies and requirements such as those found in electric vehicles. The company can therefore currently look forward to a good and balanced order situation for new business.

Many new products and safety structural parts for electric vehicles have been successfully launched this year on new systems in the European and North American KIRCHHOFF Automotive plants. The focus was on the development of resource-saving and crash-relevant structural body parts in lightweight construction for combustion engines and electric vehicles.

KIRCHHOFF Automotive continued to invest in technologies and production facilities at its plants worldwide in 2023. New 1800 and 400-ton presses and modern welding systems were installed in the North American plants. One year after the start of production, the latest KIRCHHOFF Automotive plant in Atlanta/USA was officially inaugurated in May. In order to create sufficient capacity for the production of body-in-white parts and dashboard carriers for new customer programs, the plants in Puebla, Mexico, and Querétaro are being extensively expanded. A new construction phase at the Esztergom plant in Hungary was already initiated at the end of 2022 after orders for larger and more complex assemblies were won.

Conscious of its ecological responsibility, KIRCHHOFF Automotive is using low-carbon steel for the first time. To this end, the automotive supplier is cooperating with leading steel manufacturers such as ArcelorMittal, SSAB and, more recently, ThyssenKrupp, to work together on the development of low-carbon steel for cars and trucks. "We are already seeing the first signs of success," confirms J. Wolfgang Kirchhoff.

Almost six million euros were invested in new technologies and equipment at the KIRCHHOFF Automotive main plant in Iserlohn in 2023. Welding capacities have been further expanded for newly launched products. For example, the first semi-automatic machine, an automated robot system for projection welding of fasteners, went into series production in spring. In addition, the automation and digital control of highly complex production processes was further advanced. Many new product launches for current, predominantly e-vehicle models from major car manufacturers were successfully implemented this year.

At the Attendorn plant, over eight million euros were invested in new systems for the electric platforms of major car manufacturers and for plant expansions in 2023. Four new welding systems - two semi-automatic and two fully automatic - were put into operation for the production of new, highly sophisticated products.

"Despite the persistently difficult conditions, we were able to close the year with a reasonable result," says J. Wolfgang Kirchhoff. In 2023, KIRCHHOFF Automotive will achieve a turnover of 1,800 million euros with around 8,000 employees. "The trust of our customers and the performance of our employees enabled us to achieve an extraordinary increase in sales performance, so that we expect healthy growth in the coming years as well," says J. Wolfgang Kirchhoff.

You can read more about the 2023 financial year review and 2024 outlook in the winter edition of K>MOBIL.

<- Back to: News archive