It's never easy accommodating demand for a hot-selling car, asSachs Suspension Mexico S.A. de C.V. is learning.
The unit of Germany'sFriedrichshafen AG is supplying the shocks for DaimlerChrysler AG's new 300C and sister model, the Dodge Magnum, from its operations in Guadalajara, Mexico.
ZF Sachs is responsible for 100% of the two models' shocks, which are shipped to DaimlerChrysler's assembly plant in Brampton, Ont., Canada.
Ralf Hoscheid, plant manager-Plant 2, says demand has increased so rapidly that ZF Sachs doesn't have enough cases for shipping the shocks. It is using cardboard boxes as “emergency packaging” becausehas not been able to return cases fast enough. Chrysler picks up the shocks for shipment to Brampton four times per week.
“It's a problem because of the high upcoming volume,” Hoscheid says. He has had to hire 15 additional people to assemble the non-returnable packaging. It's a minor problem Chrysler probably is happy to have, and one that also is good for ZF.
The German supplier has a long and fruitful history with Mercedes, and Julio Caspari, president-ZF North American Operations, says that relationship has helped it gain business with Chrysler as well.
Caspari says Chrysler has improved greatly under the leadership of CEO Dieter Zetsche and former Chief Operating Officer Wolfgang Bernhard.
“When you see the new 300C, for example, it's a completely different Chrysler car,” Caspari says. “It has much more technology (than previous Chrysler models), much better quality, and, overall, I can say we are profiting from that improvement.”
Although the line making 300C and Magnum shocks also is producing shocks for other models, most notablyMotor Co.'s F-150 pickup, it is the increasing popularity of the 300C that has caused ZF Sachs to hire 80 additional workers, bringing total employment on the line to 310.
The plant produces 50,000 shocks, struts and suspension modules per day for passenger cars and commercial vehicles and employs 1,350 workers.