The automobile business is in a state of flux. Electrification is challenging the century-long dominance of the internal combustion engine, while digital technology is taking self-driving cars from science fiction into everyday reality. Young people, meanwhile, prefer ride-sharing and car-sharing services to outright car ownership. The future leadership of the industry is very much up for grabs and no one knows who will emerge the winner: old-school car manufacturers, brash startups, the giants of big tech or sharing apps.
In the face of change, car manufacturers have taken the strategic decision to focus resources on developing the autonomous driving and anti-collision technologies likely to decide who survives into the next generation. As part of that, they are happy to hand off the responsibility for R&D in more traditional areas, such as the development of sophisticated components, to third parties.
Spain-based Gestamp, a specialist in designing, engineering and manufacturing highly engineered car components, is well positioned to benefit from this outsourcing trend. The company has two great strengths. First, with more than 100 manufacturing facilities in 22 countries, Gestamp has a truly global presence which enables it to provide the same standardized parts to customers wherever they operate. Second, it is a technological leader, particularly in hot stamping (the technology of stamping metal into shapes at temperatures of around 900°C to create lighter and stronger, and thus safer, parts that offer the twin benefits of fuel economy and passenger safety. The company also maintains its lead through a network of more than 1,500 researchers in 13 R&D centers worldwide.
Gestamp’s financial performance testifies its extraordinary success. Since 1997, when the company was founded, sales have risen by over 20 times. With the exception of a single year during the global financial crisis, sales have risen for 20 years in succession, propelled by organic growth and strategic M&A.