Tag Archive | "Hella"


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As the season of flat batteries creeps in, how are suppliers preparing garages this winter? CAT Reporter Daniel Moore finds out.

Battery labelling at Yuasa factory

Like all of the aftermarket, we wait in joyful expectation of a foggy and icy winter, but how are battery companies preparing for the oncoming season?

The idea is of course to recommend a replacement before it fails to start the car, thus eliminating some of the seasonal peaks and troughs in battery sales.

Trying to achieve a similar theory but with a slightly different end goal in mind, Swedish battery charger firm CTEK has launched a campaign to encourage motorists to prolong the life of the battery by regularly giving it a maintenance charge (by using one of the firm’s switching ‘smart’ chargers of course). A new consumer product called ‘Time to Go’ has removed most of the process indicators on the front panel, instead simply telling the motorist how long it will be until the battery is charged. The product ties in with a Bluetooth dongle and smartphone app called ‘battery sense’, that gives the motorist real-time info about the state of health of their batteries – this could be particularly useful on vehicles that are rarely used over the winter such as classic cars or motorhomes. Sten Hammargren, Consumer Business Unit Manager at CTEK, said “It’s a reflection of the demands that today’s consumer has for household tools and accessories that can keep them in the picture – we’ve seen it with other household goods such as washing machines and tumble dryers and now you can have this type of information from your battery charger.”

Of course most consumers will prefer the garage to check the state of health of their battery and Bosch Car Service member garage Spiros Motors, is one workshop that has followed suit by carrying out free of charge battery checks on every vehicle it sees. Dinos Christoforou, Master Technician at Spiros Motors, expands: “Every single service for any vehicle coming in, it’s one of the main checks that we do”, highlighting the tools used for the job, he said, “We use Bosch Bat121 Electronic Tester that measures the amperage of the battery. notifies us of how much amperage is in the battery before it needs to be charged up”, adding that a ticket print out is then issued from the machine. You might ask what the point of a printout is if the machine has it on the display, well, this information is then relayed back to the customer, complete with the printout as proof that the check has been carried out as described and notifying them of the steps taken before receiving the keys back to their vehicle.

To avoid breakdowns, Steve Hudson, Head of Business Development at Behr Hella Services, says garages should consistently advise customers to maintain their battery all year around no matter how much or little the vehicle is used. “Battery related issues remain the most common cause of breakdown, whatever the season, battery health should be a priority”, notes Hudson. “Technicians should be recommending that customers that use their vehicles infrequently or make only short journeys, should charge the battery on a regular basis, which will substantially reduce the risk of electrical related breakdown”. Lee Quinney, Country Manager for Banner Batteries GB, echoes Hudson’s sentiment suggesting ongoing training should be a number one priority of any garage, particularly with the eclectic range battery technologies flooding the market. “Giving the garages the training and support that is needed has never been more important, particularly as specifying the wrong start-stop battery for a vehicle can have serious consequences”, he replied.

When the time for battery replacement comes, a number of manufacturers have introduced online applications allowing workshops, suppliers and the like to source their models easily. Ecobat Technologies (formerly Manbat) is a prime example with its EBT Battery Finder that has helped extend its distribution network to many independents nationwide. “Users simply need to enter the registration number of the vehicle in the search box and the site will use a sophisticated VRM database to locate the correct car and provide access to its vehicle- specific details”, notes Paul Payne, Sales Director at Ecobat Technologies. “This information naturally includes the exact specification of the battery for which it is designed, and therefore provides an absolute assurance the battery is the precise replacement the VM has specified for that model”.

With the extensive amount of gadgets and promotions on offer, workshops and retailers can be rest assured that by investing in some of these wares and services will enable them to avoid those battery blues this winter while picking up some extra revenue along the way.

While technology in vehicles becomes increasingly complex, we were interested to find out how this could impact the battery market in the years to come. Although we have touched on the aforementioned start-stop technology, it is the now and future as battery maker DBS Energy’s MD Henry James, points out, “The market in automotive batteries is moving towards ‘All Electric’, but the current future is in stop-start technology, which is having a positive outcome on sales of AGM batteries due to larger amounts of stop-start cars being on our roads”, he said. “There has already been a huge swing to sealed maintenance free flooded batteries also, which has already started to take place in the commercial vehicle sector too.”

Ecobat’s Sales Director Paul Payne concurs and expands. “In the short to medium term, the replacement market will remain dominated by the 12-volt battery. Clearly AGM sales will increase and [traditional] batteries gradually fall back, but any significant growth outside this core sector, is still several years in the future.”

Yuasa’s James Douglas says before investing in future wares, workshops must first identify and understand the different setups for each model on the market, something that is still a little unclear among some garages. He said, “The key issues is there hasn’t been a massive volume of start-stop cars going through garages needing their battery replaced, it’s only now that it’s beginning to increase. We are still pushing that message and explaining to garages that it’s a completely different setup. If a car has EFB battery then it needs to be replaced with EFB and likewise with AGM as opposed to a conventional one.”

Whatever the weather, it looks like there is still good business in battery services for a while yet.

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The website, is free of charge to users, available round the clock and kept up-to-date, giving workshops a genuine advantage, allowing them to develop a greater level of technical competence, which will contribute to the overall success of their business. HELLA, one of the world’s leading original equipment (OE) component and system suppliers, created the easily accessible portal to provide technicians with complete online support, including the latest range extensions, which are updated monthly, technical product information and HELLA Online Training – in short – to assist workshops to future proof their businesses.

TECH WORLD also links to the company’s online catalogues enabling them to browse all that HELLA, Behr Hella Service and Hella Gutmann Solutions has to offer. In addition, briefing notes are available, which give detailed information on product features and specifications, as well as links to supporting Apps, such as the ELIVER light comparison App and Behr Hella Services Compressor App.

Technicians can also access a range of practical technical training modules for lighting, electric and electronics and thermal management, and take advantage of the detailed technical information, with access to a know-how tool in which HELLA reveals how components work.

With this insight, they are able to more easily identify the cause of a fault and through this technical background knowledge how to rectify it. What’s more, technicians have the option to view technical clips and diagnostic tips to assist with the repairing process. To optimise the whole repair process, HELLA has continued to invest to provide excellent product availability and depth of range to help technicians complete their work to the highest possible standard. HELLA’s commitment to make the workshops day-to-day business life easier, faster and ready to face the future, demonstrates that the company really is the ‘workshop’s friend.’

To experience HELLA TECH WORLD please visit – www.hella.com/techworld. For more information about the OE quality products available from HELLA, please call customer services on: 01295 662400 or email hella.sales@hella.com

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HELLA is looking for workshops that have ‘something special’ to feature in the company’s 2019 “Experts At Work” calendar to celebrate the dedication and commitment that technicians make to the industry globally.

HELLA, a world renowned manufacturer of automotive components and lighting solutions, is giving workshops the opportunity to enter the competition to show what makes their business extraordinary. Whether it is a team of excellent employees, working with exceptional cars or perhaps it’s in the most unusual location – HELLA wants to hear from you!

To enter, workshops simply need to send in a few photos that really showcase their premises or what makes it different, along with a short description of why they have got what it takes to be featured in the calendar.
The winners will receive a range of top quality prizes including an exclusive photo shoot by a professional photographer, as well as the international “Experts At Work” award from HELLA, with their pictures used in the calendar, which will be distributed worldwide. Last, but by no means least, the winners will also receive a fantastic package worth almost £500 for their workshops.

The competition is underway, but closes on 6th November 2017, so don’t delay, apply today! https://www.hella-contest.com/en

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HELLA – 2019 Workshop Calendar Competition

Chipping Warden, October 2017 HELLA is looking for workshops that have ‘something special’ to feature in the company’s 2019 “Experts At Work” calendar to celebrate the dedication and commitment that technicians make to the industry globally. 

HELLA, a world renowned manufacturer of automotive components and lighting solutions, is giving workshops the opportunity to enter the competition to show what makes their business extraordinary. Whether it is a team of excellent employees, working with exceptional cars or perhaps it’s in the most unusual location – HELLA wants to hear from you!

To enter, workshops simply need to send in a few photos that really showcase their premises or what makes it different, along with a short description of why they have got what it takes to be featured in the calendar.

The winners will receive a range of top quality prizes including an exclusive photo shoot by a professional photographer, as well as the international “Experts At Work” award from HELLA, with their pictures used in the calendar, which will be distributed worldwide. Last, but by no means least, the winners will also receive a fantastic package worth almost £500 for their workshops. 

The competition is underway, but closes on 6th November 2017, so don’t delay, apply today! For all the details about this exciting opportunity visit www.facebook.com/hella.deutschland and like the page. Alternatively you can also access https://www.hella-contest.com/en/

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Dr. Stefan Sommer (L) and Dr. Rolf Breidenbach (R)

OE brands ZF and Hella have inked a deal which will see both suppliers cooperate on sensor technology, such as front cameras, imaging and radar systems.

Both firms will now begin a joint development project in camera technology, aiming for a market launch in 2020.

“This strategic partnership for sensor technology with Hella enhances our position as a complete systems supplier for modern assistance systems as well as autonomous driving functions,” says Dr. Stefan Sommer, CEO of ZF Friedrichshafen AG. “This non-exclusive cooperation with Hella is an important expansion of our Vision Zero ecosystem of development partnerships. Thus, we can create a wider technological foundation for safety and autonomous driving.”

Dr. Rolf Breidenbach, CEO at Hella KGaA Hueck & Co., added: “Hella is a strong and experienced provider of sensor technologies. Our knowledge aligns perfectly with ZF’s expertise. By combining our strengths, we clearly aim to provide market leading and high performing assistance systems and autonomous driving functions. In addition, this cooperation will strengthen Hella’s position as a well-regarded supplier for imaging and radar sensor technologies.”

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A deal has been struck between Hella in the UK and German filter brand Hengst Filtration.

The alliance will see filtration products packaged and sold as Hella Hengst from the beginning of April.

Stock will be distributed from Hella’s 90,000 sq ft warehouse in Oxfordshire and there are four UK product managers and six UK business development managers to support the new alliance. Recent hires include Product Manager Mark Adams, who previously worked at Trico and Universal Automotive.

Apart from new packaging, the cabin air filter range will include a set of intructions incase there are any problems in locating or fitting the filter.

Christopher Heine, CFO at Hengst said: “We have entered into this alliance because it combines the best of two traditional companies”.

Matthew Say, MD of Hella UK commented: “As part of our service concept, we want to deliver best in class logistics. As noted, we have a 90,000 sq ft footprint with a pick-by-voice delivery system and are able to deliver within 24 hours. This means that we become our customers’ second warehouse. What we have from day one is a substantial stock investment allowing us to service the aftermarket”.


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As one of Europe’s leading original equipment (OE) manufacturers and system suppliers for the passenger car, commercial vehicle (CV) and agricultural industries, HELLA also offers a huge range of aftermarket products that naturally reflect the quality implicit in a major OE manufacturer.

Battery related issues remain the root cause of most vehicle breakdowns with battery performance reduced by as much as 35% as temperatures hit freezing. Therefore, batteries are a particularly important product across all sectors, so as would be expected, the HELLA range is designed around quality.

To ensure its entire range remains at the very top of division when it comes to performance and durability, HELLA has recently reviewed, updated and expanded its range to provide the most appropriate solution for the varying needs of drivers.

The renewed car, light commercial vehicle (LCV) and CV battery ranges are included in HELLA’s latest Power Promotion, which runs until the end of the year and means the more batteries that a wholesaler orders, the greater their rebate.

As well as high quality products supplied by a reputable OE manufacturer, another major benefit for wholesalers distributing HELLA batteries is the no minimum order quantity stipulation and with next day delivery, factors only need to order what they need, when they need it.

The re-energised battery range consists of four models: Classic, Premium, Supreme and AGM, to cater for every conceivable application, from passenger car and LCV to heavy duty and agricultural.

The Classic range is designed for smaller capacity engines and older vehicles, providing a cost effective solution for these applications because of its reliability and maintenance free convenience.

For general purpose applications, HELLA has designed the Premium range for all classes of vehicles. It is one of the top selling models in the range and offers matching OE performance and a long service life, which is why the range proves so popular.

With the Supreme, HELLA provides a higher than OE specification solution for vehicles with extremely high energy consuming demands. Particularly ideal for diesel engines and vehicles with a large number of electronic devices and energy sapping additions, its robust design and optimised performance ensures reliability and a long service life.

The HELLA AGM range is ideal for the growing number of vehicles featuring stop-start functionality, as it is designed to cater for this technology due to its excellent cyclic capacity as well as providing up to 50% more starting power.

For more information about the OE quality products available from HELLA or for BEHR HELLA SERVICE, please call the sales team on: 01295 662400 or email: hella.sales@hella.com

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Paul Tredgold takes us through the Hella Sonne programme at Spellbound Cars


Some of you may have seen him in our Movers and Shaker’s section a few issues back, but for those who didn’t, Paul Tredgold is Head of Paint for Hella UK’s new paints division and Sonne programme that went live this September.

The Sonne brand has been used in in Spain for over 19 years, however Hella felt the time was right to bring the concept to the UK aftermarket; thus hiring Tredgold with his extensive knowledge and expertise of the refinishing industry. “I’ve been in and around body-shops all my working life”, he said. “I worked for a manufacturer initially then for a distributor in London and another manufacturer afterwards which has given me an excellent grounding, and subsequently why I was chosen to do this for Hella”.

One of three UK distributors, Automotive Paint Supplies, has started distributing the programme to repairers and classic car restoration workshops, one of which is Spellbound Cars, where we met up with Tredgold to see the programme in action.

On our visit, we watched a team at the garage take an Aston- Martin Lagonda back to bare metal. Tredgold provided a rundown of the processes involved. “There are three to four elements that make up the Sonne brand. You have your range of primers that are undercoats and you need to put them on before the colour”, he said. “Base coats are the colour and the clear coat is the varnish which goes over the top to make the vehicle shiny. This is followed by your ancillaries”. The Sonne programme totals 68 toners and 84 swatches, which generates the 70,000 colours listed on the system.

The refinishing specialist explained that cars entering the workshop would normally have a code on the vehicle identification (VIN) plate that can be looked up on the database to extract the colour code. He notes that workshops can also type in the vehicle model and colour on the system, usually leaving them with a hefty list of toners to match up the colour in question. However, in the case of the Aston in front of us, as well as the other rare cars in the workshop, the tool of choice for determining a colour code is a spectrometer which is a nifty gadget that is used to detect the vehicle’s colour if the code is not available on the system. The device is then hooked up to the main computer database via USB allowing experts to prepare and mix the correct toners together before repainting the vehicle. Tredgold said: “The Sonne programme is fully compliant. The UK has a solvent commissions law that says you have to use compliant products to EU rules and every product in the Sonne range is compliant. That would be one our main USPs”.

Top paint is a must for restorers

Top paint is a must for restorers

Tredgold and the Hella team have started the VIP distribution training by jetting customers over to Madrid to provide them with a comprehensive overview of the Sonne brand. “We take our distributors out to Madrid where we orientate them around Hella and all of its divisions”, said Tredgold: “We would look at the products with them on a technical basis and carry out a presentation about Sonne along with an overview of the product range and how they all work together. We will then go and do a practical demonstration”.

Although it’s still early days for the programme, Tredgold has a strategy to increase distribution. “Our strategy is ‘distribution not dilution’, so I’m hoping for any between 14-20 distributors in the UK that will manage the business for us” he said.

More importantly for Tredgold, it’s all about helping repairers match the colour and carry out the job effectively first time round to avoid making mistakes and losing out on business profits. “My main mantra is profitable sustainable business for all stakeholders. We want to put a bit of profit back into the industry”, he concluded: “Free to choose is becoming a bigger market, which is where we are into and is our target. I see a great opportunity for a brand like Sonne in free to choose markets”.

We look forward to seeing more of this concept in the near future – and will hopefully get a return visit to Spellbound Cars.

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Matthew Say gives us a guided tour of Hella UK’s Oxfordshire facility

vital_stats_hellaThere are some companies that make like to play on their country of origin: some of which you can probably think of – and perhaps it is no wonder. For example, anyone who has ever visited the Dubai edition of Automechanika will know that a great number of visitors will head straight for the German pavilion without looking at the rest of the show, such is the power of Brand Germany’s reputation for Teutonic efficiency.

Hella is a German business with a global footprint. It is larger than you might imagine. It has constantly been in the top 50 largest global automotive suppliers and in the top 100 industrial companies in any category in Germany and worldwide operates a dozen joint ventures, although few people will know this. The quality of the products has never been in doubt, but prior to a marketing campaign that started earlier in the year, not everyone knew what the company offered.

“I think we’ve been focused on developing the products and service but not on sending that message to the market” explains Matthew Say, Managing Director, “We’ve just built a very good business under the radar. We’ve grown every single year in the UK, but we’ve done it by stealth. There are a lot of companies that make more noise than us but are going backwards. Now it’s our turn to make some noise, not to scream and shout, but I think if you are going to take a message to the market it is always better to do that from a position of strength and growth”.

This strategy has already started to take place. You might have noticed the cover gatefold on the June issue of CAT as well as the adverts on the inside pages – and this is just one of many examples of the brand increasing its visibility to the motor trade.

One of the reasons why the firm is now ready to actively promote itself is the acquisition of an 83,000 sq. ft. site in Chipping Warden. The core of the newly refurbished space is a warehouse that is much larger than the firm previously had which means availability has improved. It also boasts improved processes, such as pick-by-voice and barcode-indexed stock.
The rest of the site provides a training workshop and conference rooms.

A larger, leaner space means more stock is available to be picked and once easier to get through the door. “There is a very good availability and the parts arrive when we say they will” says the MD. Also, the range is developing and growing quickly –we can react far quicker than we did [when delivering from the previous location]”.

The improved space meant that the firm could write a ‘customer charter’. “It’s a service commitment to our customers” explains Say. “We wanted to provide a written guarantee that their phone calls and emails will be answered and that our logistics will be first class”. He added that the decision to put a charter in place arose from a discussion with colleagues about how it felt as a consumer to receive poor service from a large company, such as a utility firm or a telco. “Dealing with a poor representative on the phone will shape your impression of the business. From our perspective, we just wanted to eradicate those negative things – and keep it customer centric” he said.

To help with the expansion, the firm has recruited a number of staff over the past year. Among others, Iain Molloy joined as a Business Development Manager with the garage equipment team, Matthew Smart is a new Product Manager, Nicky Coombe joined as a Credit Controller , Bill Johnson, Sales Director, Chris Griffin, Head of Pricing, Helen Goldingay, Marketing Manager, and Matthew Say himself is reasonably new to the firm, having joined the company in 2015.

All of these changes amount to a significant amount of investment and internal restructuring, but as Say highlights, the changes are necessary. “The thing about the aftermarket is that if you are not good at what you do, consumers will let you know very quickly. We operate in a highly competitive environment that requires the highest quality of products and service.”

The new facilities and plans should help Hella keep its brand ahead of the competition. “We’ve been here for 42 years and at the moment we are looking at great growth cycle that looks set to continue. We are truly delighted with our progress over the past year, culminating with approvals from all the major groups and networks” concluded Say.

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HELLA KGaA Hueck & Co., a globally leading supplier of lighting technology and electronic products for the automotive industry, increased Group sales by 8.9 per cent to about EUR 6.4 billion in fiscal year 2015/2016 ending on 31 May 2016 (previous year: EUR 5.8 billion). Adjusted operating earnings (EBIT) also increased by 7.1 per cent year on year from EUR 445 to EUR 476 million. The adjusted EBIT margin was 7.5 per cent (previous year: 7.6 per cent). Special items with negative impacts on earnings – which include particularly the effects of the extraordinary supplier failure in China in September 2015 – pushed EBIT down by approximately 2.3 per cent year on year from EUR 430 million to EUR 420 million. At the reporting date on 31 May 2016, HELLA had about 34,000 permanent employees, almost 5.7 per cent more than in the previous year.

“We have again grown strongly in 2015/2016 in what has been a challenging market environment,” says CEO Dr Rolf Breidenbach. “We are especially proud that HELLA could improve sales across all three segments – Automotive, Aftermarket and Special Applications. This confirms us in our belief that our focused product portfolio and our broad global footprint have put us on the road to success. We intend to continue down this route going forward.”

Sales increase across all segments – Automotive remains growth driver

The Automotive segment again recorded significant growth in fiscal year 2015/2016 on the back of new products and a strong automotive market. External segment sales grew by 10.1 per cent to EUR 4.8 billion (previous year: EUR 4.4 billion). Due to an exceptional, non-recurring charge of EUR 47 million from the failure of a Chinese supplier in September 2015, the earnings of the segment declined by EUR 11 million to EUR 343 million. Growth was driven predominantly by new product launches – including complex LED technologies, electronic systems and components for energy management, driver assistance and electronic steering. HELLA’s broad regional presence was also beneficial.

The Aftermarket segment generated robust sales growth in fiscal year 2015/2016. External segment sales increased by 5.9 per cent to EUR 1.2 billion (previous year EUR 1.1 billion). Operating earnings grew by EUR 7 million to EUR 80 million. Growth was driven mainly by the wholesale business in Denmark and Poland, the garage equipment business and the tangible recovery of the independent spare parts market in Europe.

The Special Applications segment succeeded in stabilising in spite of the still weak demand in the agriculture sector. Sales in the segment grew by 2.0 per cent to EUR 315 million (previous year EUR 308 million). EBIT declined from EUR 19 million to EUR 5 million which resulted from the operating development in the Industries and Airport Lighting sub-segments and the sale of these activities. HELLA has sold these sub-segments in May of the past fiscal year in the context of its portfolio optimisation.

Emphasis on research & development ensures technology leadership

Research & development expenditures in fiscal year 2015/2016 increased by EUR 80 million year on year to EUR 623 million or 9.8 per cent of Group sales, up from 9.3 per cent in the previous year. They resulted mainly from the development of complex innovative product generations and investments in the global development network. The number of employees working globally in research and development increased to about 6,400 in fiscal year 2015/2016. By now, almost every fifth HELLA employee works in research and development.

“Technology leadership is a key differentiator for HELLA,” says Dr Breidenbach. “The passion to innovate and investments in new technologies are integral parts of HELLA’s DNA and the cornerstone of additional global growth.” Today, HELLA‘s development activities in the lighting business focus inter alia on so-called high-definition headlights that improve visibility with several hundred thousand of lighting spots each of which can be activated individually and which result in a significantly higher resolution. In electronics, HELLA supports its clients in the development and implementation of advanced functions that correspond to global market trends including autonomous driving, connectivity and energy efficiency. HELLA continuously adds to its already extensive know-how in these areas.

Solid financing

HELLA continues to rely on its solid long-term financing as the foundation for profitable organic growth. As of 31 May 2016, the equity ratio reached 40 per cent, up one percentage point year on year from 39 per cent. Liquidity (cash and short-term fiscal assets) amounted to about EUR 914 million.

Growth also driven by international networking strategy

In addition to its core business, HELLA also follows a cooperation approach: its international networking strategy has been designed to drive growth further through partnerships with other companies in joint ventures, mainly in order to gain access to complimentary technologies, tap into new markets or client segments and benefit from economies of scale. Overall, external sales of companies recorded at equity amounted to EUR 3.3 billion, out of which EUR 1.3 billion were attributed to HELLA. The pro rata at equity result reached EUR 53 million.

Proposed dividend of EUR 0.77 per share

The management will ask the annual general meeting to approve a dividend of EUR 0.77 per share for fiscal year 2015/2016. This dividend will remain in line with the previous year in spite of the non-recurring charges. Based on 111,111,112 no par value shares, the total dividend payment would amount to EUR 86 million.

Outlook for fiscal year 2016/2017

HELLA also anticipates positive business performance in fiscal year 2016/2017. This outlook is supported by the Group’s three strategic approaches: HELLA will continue to focus strongly on building its own market position based on its significant technological know-how and innovative product solutions that cater to the key mega trends environment and energy efficiency, safety and styling and comfort. HELLA also intends to further advance its global expansion, mainly in China and North America (NAFTA) where the company has identified promising opportunities. The objective is to further strengthen HELLA‘s position as a core vendor and solutions supplier to the automotive industry. In addition, HELLA seeks to further increase its own operational excellence in the global HELLA network.

For fiscal year 2016/2017, the HELLA Group expects sales and adjusted EBIT growth in the middle single-digit percentage range and an adjusted EBIT margin that is more or less at the prior year’s level.

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