HALDEX: Open for Progress
The 24 months that have passed since executive vice president Stephan Mr. Kulle joined Haldex has proven probably even more hectic than even he expected; not only has the world been struggling with Coronavirus, but the company has also made some structural changes. Now, as the pandemic subsides in Europe, he outlines the Haldex strategy and situation.
“Corona has changed our priorities,” Mr. Kulle admits. At the commercial vehicle brake and suspension tier one OEM – and in the market generally – one megatrend has risen to the top: e-mobility. As a result, Haldex is accelerating development of its EMB, Electro-Mechanical Brake, which uses electrical signals rather than air pressure to slow even heavy commercial vehicles. Not only is the device faster than air brakes, and so offers a safety benefit, it also does away with the need for a power-sapping compressor on an electric vehicle platform.
Haldex-VIE has signed an agreement on pre-series production with a Chinese bus manufacturer – with several other bus manufacturers in that market evaluating the technology with prototype installations. And in Europe, two major truck OEMs have also been trialling the system. There were a few winter tests, Mr. Kulle reports, and now demonstration vehicles are also being prepared for further pre-launch trials.
During the Coronavirus lockdown, as people have been prevented from travelling to meet physically, they found other means of connection, including e-learning and video conferencing. So too Haldex, which is building on this trend by developing more e-learning for fleets and customers, particularly in the premium segment. “One learning from Corona was the need to have a more digital discussion with customers, so we will focus on this in future,” Mr. Kulle adds.
That training, including technical and product content, has also been extended internally to sales staff along with coaching. That was part of an internal shift to a new matrix organisation for key account (customer) management, which should improve the experience of customers now and in future. “We have done a lot, and used the Corona time to do this,” Mr. Kulle observes.
Meanwhile, new faces have come in at the very top of Haldex. They include a new CEO, Jean-Luc Desire, who took over in June from Helene Svahn. He has 20 years’ experience in the automotive industry, latterly from tier one supplier Tenneco.
New board of directors appointees also bring with them deep automotive experience. They include deputy chairman of the board Hakan Karlsson, former CEO of Volvo Bus; Detlef Borghardt, previously CEO of axle OEM SAF-Holland; Dzeki Mackinovski, formerly of Volvo and Knorr-Bremse; and Catharina Modahl Nilsson, formerly of Scania and Traton.
States Mr. Kulle: “With these changes, we are increasing the sustainability of our organisation and focusing on business. We have experience now in management that helps a lot.”
One thing that has not changed is the company’s focus to be a full systems supplier for trailers. “One of my priorities and ambitions is still to become market leader in trailer system brake and suspension,” says Mr. Kulle. Helping on the way is the LifeSeal+ brake actuator, which is sealed on the parking brake side to prevent internal corrosion, offers value in terms of total cost of ownership. No wonder that a high-volume contract has recently been signed with a major trailer manufacturer.
With premium products such as LifeSeal+ and EB+4.0, as well as offering lots of support to OES customers, Haldex has built a base for growth in the aftermarket. And of course Haldex also holds a market-leading position in conventional air suspension systems for trailers.
Coming soon to retailers across Europe are new trailer parts and accessories with an old name: Grau. Haldex is increasing the ranges of Grau branded buy-and-sell products in the value market.
More big news comes from the truck side. While Haldex in recent times has more been associated with the vehicle in tow, it has secured a new nomination from a major global truck OEM. The letter of intent (loi) agreement mentions both ADB and EMB, he reveals. “In combination with EMB, we would like to be a selective ADB supplier for future advanced products.”
One thing seems clear: Haldex has paved the way for long-term, sustainable growth.