Hella names two vice presidents
Hella named Mark Brainard vice president of sales at Hella’s Corporate Center and Steve Lietaert vice president of program management at Hella Electronics Corporation, both headquartered in Plymouth, Michigan.
Brainard, formerly vice president of program management at Hella Electronics, will lead efforts to further strengthen Hella’s business relationships in automotive lighting and electronics, positioning the company for additional growth in strategic product areas such as energy management, driver assistance and lighting.
Lietaert will be responsible for the successful launch, management and growth of new products for the North American automotive market, including energy management products, position sensors and driver assistance systems, as well as various new non-automotive products.
Brainard began his career as an electronics design engineer at Ford Motor Company. Prior to joining Hella, he held several management positions at Siemens VDO.
Lietaert had been a product group director at Hella Electronics prior to his new assignment. Before joining Hella, he held management and senior engineering positions at a number of Tier 1 automotive suppliers.
Brainard and Lietaert will report to Dr. Martin Fischer, the CEO of Hella Electronics Corporation and the president of Hella Corporate Center, Hella KGaA Hueck & Co.’s holding company in the United States.
Fischer said Hella added more than 50 jobs in Illinois and Michigan last year and plans to fill more new positions throughout the Americas in 2011.
“Our electronics business in the NAFTA region alone grew on an annualized basis of more than 20 percent,” he said. “To meet current customer demand, we plan to further expand facilities in the U.S. and Mexico.” Fischer said Hella plans to add several new production lines at its high-tech manufacturing plant in Flora, Ill., complete a 55,000-square-foot expansion of the company’s San Jose Iturbide electronics plant in Mexico, and expand its engineering and product development presence in Brazil.
To support customer demand in North America, Fischer said the company’s Flora plant is to begin production of intelligent battery sensors – part of Hella’s portfolio of energy-management components – next year. The company’s expanded facility in Mexico shall fill increased demand for existing products and support the introduction of a new line of contactless position sensors for use in steering and transmission applications.
The company has received a number of major new-business awards from automakers in the Americas, including contracts for energy-management sensors, radar-based driver assistance components, body electronics, and lighting products.
“Hella already has produced nearly 1.5 million sensors for automotive radar systems using 24-gigahertz technology in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region,” he said. “We’re now seeing demand for similar systems in the Americas.”
Hella considers its new technologies in both lighting and electronics as the cornerstones for its
success in the Americas and elsewhere around the world. The supplier’s research and development programs employ 3,500 people, more than 15 percent of Hella’s total workforce. Fischer noted that full-LED lighting systems and energy-saving electronics are two areas that will be very important for Hella in the future. Hella currently provides full-LED headlamp systems with adaptive front lighting for both the Audi A8 and recently introduced 2011 Audi A6. The company’s “intelligent” LED lighting system is one of four headlight systems Hella supplies to Audi for the A6. Relying on 64 LEDs, Hella’s technology provides light that adapts to a variety of driving situations and is similar to daylight in quality.
“The Audi A6′s sporty appearance is enhanced by LED lighting as well,” pointed out Steffen Pietzonka, vice president of marketing for Hella’s automotive lighting division in Lippstadt, Germany. “We’re proud of our partnership with Audi and pleased that Hella’s LED lighting systems are able to contribute to Audi’s distinctive A8 and A6 styling.”
Hella’s energy-management systems also are helping automakers achieve ambitious new fuel-economy goals.”Despite growing interest in hybrids and electric vehicles, proven technology for gasoline-powered cars and light trucks will be key to improving overall fuel economy and reducing emissions for years to come,” Fischer said, noting that Hella has been a leader in the development and production of stop-start system components, accelerator pedal sensors, electric vacuum pumps and turbocharger actuators.
As an example, he pointed out that Hella’s stop-start technology has the potential to improve overall fuel economy by seven to eight percent in city driving. In lighting, HID- and LED-headlamp systems also can reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions.
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