Global presence and flexibility: key assets for collaborating with major car manufacturers

EFI Automotive works with the world’s leading manufacturers. Thanks to its production sites on several continents and a high degree of adaptability to customer needs, the group has won numerous contracts with major manufacturers.

“Today’s manufacturers are thinking globally: although they are based in the United States, the major manufacturers like GM and Ford with whom we work have needs on all continents.” Adam Kirwin is Sales Director for EFI Automotive and has been working with Ford for many years: “Customers like this are looking for suppliers who can produce as close as possible to their factories, whether in the USA, Europe or China.” EFI Automotive, which has 12 locations on three continents (Europe, USA, Asia), offers global coverage that allows it to be as close as possible to its customers during the development of a project. To respond to and win the calls for tenders launched by GM and Ford, EFI Automotive was able to mobilize its American teams in Plymouth, Michigan, near Detroit, the birthplace of the two American manufacturers. Throughout these global projects, in order to best meet the customer’s needs, it is imperative to set up a robust project team with a single point of contact: “This is the role of the Global Account Manager,” explains Adam Kirwin, “he or she will coordinate the project for all the sites, manage the research, prototyping and production start-up phase, and be the one who will report on progress and any difficulties that may arise. His or her ability to share information well and to get people from different cultures working together in geographically remote areas is essential to the smooth running of the project.”

A tailor-made solution

Another advantage of EFI Automotive in meeting the expectations of the automotive giants is its flexibility. “While Ford is a long-standing customer, we were not yet referenced with GM,” explains Adam Kirwin, “when they were looking for a solution to remotely automate the parking brake function on their electric vehicles, we offered them not a off-the-shelf solution, but a tailor-made solution, which we developed with them.” The e-lock parking brake solution was also an opportunity for EFI Automotive to demonstrate its ability to innovate and offer new solutions for the electric and hybrid vehicle engines for which it was developed. In the end, GM was won over by this solution, which better met its expectations and also had the advantage of being more compact and therefore easier to integrate into its engines. The EFI Automotive site in Plymouth then underwent quality tests and received the TASL Approved label, an essential key to joining the American manufacturer’s list of suppliers.

From 5,000 to 20,000 hours of development

The duration and number of staff behind the various projects depends on the complexity of the specifications. Depending on whether we are supplying a completely new part or a part that we are already producing in series, the project could require between 5,000 and 20,000 hours of development time and involve between 3 and 10 people. The contracts then include a production period of five years, generally renewable. For the tenders related to GM and Ford, production at EFI Automotive’s American, European and Chinese sites should total around 25 million parts!