Today, Tuesday, 8th October, a new Magneti Marelli Automotive Lighting plant for the production of headlamps and rear lights for the automotive sector was inaugurated in Batu Kawan, in the Malaysian state of Penang.
The plant was built to replace the facilities in Bayan Lepas, with a significant increase in the production capacity, which will go from 1.7 million lighting units per year to 2.2 million components, with a potential further increase up to 2.9 million units per year. The production plant was also equipped with cutting-edge machinery and production technologies that guarantee the highest technical-qualitative standards, capable of satisfying the needs of “premium” automotive segment.
The new facilities cover a total surface area of 56,600 square meters, 26,600 of which are dedicated to production, with an actual workforce of 1000 employees, that could possibly grow of a 50% more, in relation to the gradual increase of the production capacity.
In the recent evolution dynamics and in the shifting of weights between the various areas of the global automotive market, the ASEAN market is becoming increasingly important both in terms of internal dimensions and as a production hub aimed at the entire Asian continent, Japan in particular.
As a whole, the ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) market consists of ten countries (Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia), it has approximately 600 million inhabitants (2011 estimates, source: ASEAN Economic Community Chartbook 2012) and covers an area of about 4.5 million square km, with a GDP of more than 2200 billion dollars (2011 estimates, source: ASEAN Economic Community Chartbook 2012). Taking into account Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia alone, the volume of the automobile market for new registrations has reached about 3 million vehicles in 2012, while the circulating fleet is amounts to over 38 million vehicles.
In this strategic scenario, the strengthening of Magneti Marelli Automotive Lighting industrial presence in Malaysia is aimed at satisfying the needs of customers living in the same ASEAN area and on the Japanese market, with potential prospects of an average annual growth of 15% in the next five years for lighting-related business in Malaysia.
In particular, the Malaysian plant of Batu Kawan will be producing front headlamps, rear lights and fog lamps, also introducing LED technology. Production will be aimed at the Japanese carmakers (Honda, Mazda and Suzuki) and at carmakers belonging to the ASEAN area (Proton & Perodua in Malaysia, Ford and GM in Thailand and Indonesia).
“In the changed scenarios of the global automotive market – stated Eugenio Razelli, Magneti Marelli’s C.E.O. – a very interesting production and market entity such as the ASEAN area is gaining strength next to China and India. By inaugurating this new industrial facility in Malaysia, Magneti Marelli proves that it is ready to seize the market opportunities of an extremely dynamic context, and to increase its own production and technological capacity in areas with a high growth rate, confirming, in the lighting area as well as in other areas, a significant strategic presence on the entire Asian continent ”.
The Automotive Lighting division develops technologically advanced automotive lighting solutions. The production plant in Malaysia will also be aimed at the production of LED-based technological solutions able to offer new possibilities in terms of safety, styling and lower energy consumption.
The technological evolution resulting from the use of LED and Xenon technologies – with the 35 Watt configuration as well as the new, highly competitive 25 Watt solution - has opened up new frontiers in terms of safety, reduced energy consumption and CO2 emissions, at the same time providing new freedom to design engineers. According to research conducted by Automotive Lighting, an automobile fitted with Xenon technology for the low/high beam functions and LED technology for all the other front and rear lighting functions can potentially save up to 80 Watt and 2 grams of CO2 emissions per kilometre compared to traditional lighting with halogen lamps, in addition to ensuring driving with high safety standards.
With an incidence of over € 2 billion in Magneti Marelli’s total turnover of € 5.8 billion, approximately 22 million headlamps and 22 million rear lights produced annually, Automotive Lighting represents one of the main areas of Magneti Marelli’s business footprint as well as one of the leading players at the global level in the lighting sector. Automotive Lighting features a global presence, with twenty-three facilities located in fifteen countries operating in close contact with the customers: Brazil, Czech Republic, China, France, Germany, Japan, India, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Spain, Turkey and the U.S. The R&D centres, focused on innovation, are located in Europe (Germany and Italy) and in the United States.
Some of Automotive Lighting’s main innovations in the technological evolution of this sector have been the introduction on the market of the first Xenon headlamps in 1991, the Xenon Dynamic Curve Light in 2003, and the first headlamp with active infrared module in 2005. Kicking off a veritable revolution in lighting technology, in 2008 Automotive Lighting launched the full-LED headlamp in mass production (for the Audi R8), with all lighting functions in LED technology. Then came the world’s first headlight to be equipped with an active infrared night vision system and, since 2010, the first full-LED headlamp with adaptive function (for the Mercedes Benz CLS).