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A French company in high gear

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Kongsberg Automotive is synonymous with 50 years of leading automotive technology. In 2008, Kongsberg Driveline Systems SAS became part of the successful Norwegian group.

“It was mainly because of our geographic location in Cluses that Kongsberg Automotive decided to acquire our company,” explains Human Resources Manager Julien Mottard. “Here, we are very close to many important French car manufacturers, which Kongsberg Automotive in Norway considers a great asset. Furthermore, we can bank on more than 30 years of experience in the automotive industry. Last but not least, this valley is well-known for its watchmaking industry. People have enormous know-how and are extraordinarily skilled.”

Kongsberg Driveline Systems is a tier 1 supplier of the French automotive industry designing, developing and assembling manual and automatic gearboxes, gear shifters, shift cables and shift towers for light-duty vehicles for global players such as Renault and Peugeot.

It has a workforce of 190 employees at its 31,000 m2 site and recorded turnover of 68 million EUR in 2014. “We concentrate on three domains,” says Mr. Mottard. “Welding, plastic parts and assembling. As our Norwegian parent company is responsible for everything related to research and development, we focus strictly on manufacturing processes for our French customers. Our vision is to enhance the driving experience, making it safer, more comfortable and sustainable. We are part of the group’s Driveline business area and clearly identify with our corporate values: Passionate, Accountable and Prepared.”

With Kongsberg Automotive in Norway, the French subsidiary is part of an extremely powerful group with 10,000 employees in 20 countries, 32 production facilities worldwide and annual revenues of 979 million EUR.

Its success story started in 1957 with the production of brakes and driveshafts for Volvo trucks. In 1982, the company started to produce speed indicators; in 1991, the whole production in the area of speed control was relocated to the new, current production site, which doubled in size in 1997.

Today, on an highly competitive market, Kongsberg Automotive is a global leader with an excellent reputation around the world. Its portfolio is based on four cornerstones. Interior represents safety and comfort-related products for vehicle interiors, Driveline includes gear shift systems for light-duty vehicles, Fluid Transfer concentrates on fluid handling systems for commercial vehicles and passenger cars, and Driver Control is synonymous with driver control and chassis-related products for commercial vehicles, outdoor power equipment and recreational products.

Kongsberg Automotive’s Driveline business develops innovative gear shifters such as Knobs, which can be found in several of Volvo’s latest models. Knobs are background-illuminated knobs characterized by anti-lash features, rubber dampers with self-retaining bolts and electrical reverse blockers.

Kongsberg Driveline Systems in Cluses supplies customers in France with innovative quality products. 99% of its customers are French. “We have always considered customers as partners,” underlines Mr. Mottard. “They know that we are close to them, that our employees are experienced and skilled. We are proud of very low staff turnover. Stability is a key characteristic which radiates optimism towards the future.”

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