ZKW Achieves 1.25-Billion Euros in Revenue and Record Number of Employees
Number of employees increased to around 10,000 – Production area in Silao/Mexico expanded by the end of 2020
With a revenue of 1.25-billion euros and a new record number of employees, the lighting systems specialist is closing the 2019 financial year. At the end of the year, the ZKW Group employed around 10,000 people at ten locations in eight countries. The plant in Silao, Mexico, which went into operation in 2015, will be expanded by 19,000 square meters of production space by the end of 2020. It is planned to double the staffing level by 2023. High-quality headlamps for premium car manufacturers such as BMW, Daimler, Ford Lincoln, GM, Navistar, Nissan Infiniti, VW, and Volvo, are produced in Silao. ZKW is investing a total of around 67.5 million euros at the site in Mexico. The ZKW Group’s revenue was maintained at a high level of 1.25 billion euros despite the difficult conditions in the international automotive industry. “Despite the tense economic environment, we are continuing to expand our locations in order to remain competitive in the long term,” says Oliver Schubert, CEO of the ZKW Group, explaining the strategy.
Premium Headlamps for the NAFTA Region
Construction began in November 2019 and the current area of the ZKW plant in Silao, Mexico, will be expanded from 22,000 to 41,000 square meters. The extension will be equipped with state-of-the-art technologies for the manufacture of innovative automotive lighting systems – such as plastic injection molding systems, hard coating for the coating of plastic diffusing lenses, painting systems, metalization equipment for reflectors, and headlight assembly lines. Completion is scheduled for October 2020 and the start of production is scheduled for August 2021. The number of employees is to rise from 700 at present to around 1,400. “The site in Silao plays a strategically important role in the ZKW production network because it offers attractive framework conditions for the automotive supplier industry,” says Schubert.
New Subsidiaries in Asia
The past financial year did not bring ZKW new record revenue due to the automotive crisis. Nevertheless, the signs are pointing to growth: Since last year, the lighting systems manufacturer has had a branch in Incheon, Korea. The former location of LG Electronics serves the development and distribution of rear lamps for the automotive market in the Asia-Pacific region. The LG site in Ningbo, China, where the rear lamps are produced, was also integrated. Furthermore, ZKW expanded its plants in Slovakia and Mexico with additional capacities. Altogether, more than 210-million euros will be invested. At the company headquarters in Wieselburg (Austria), a new logistics center and development laboratory will be built starting in April 2020. “Wieselburg is and will remain the nucleus for innovation and the driver for sustainable global corporate success,” says Schubert.
Innovations with Nature as a Role Model
In line with the motto “Nature as a role model”, sensors and cameras are integrated into the headlights as part of “Project Dragonfly”, to make vehicles fit for autonomous driving. Thanks to artificial intelligence, the sensors can recognize other road users and road signs, calculate distances and speeds, and generate control commands for the vehicle. Digital light from ZKW supports the sensor technology. ZKW holds numerous patents for its innovations for the car of the future – such as high-resolution lighting systems, solutions for autonomous driving or innovative styling. In 2019, the company was awarded the Global VW Group Award, the German Design Award and the Innovation Award of the province of Lower Austria, among others.
With high-resolution lighting systems, solutions for autonomous driving and innovative styling, ZKW is developing into a dynamic, globally active group. ZKW is one of the fastest growing companies in the automotive supply industry worldwide. In line with its vision “Bright Minds, Bright Lights”, the lighting systems specialist is always looking for qualified personnel and the brightest minds in the industry. “Our goal is a 360-degree offering for the automotive industry. The expansion of the product range to include the rear lamps business is a milestone for ZKW”, Schubert looks ahead.