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Particular parts and complete carts

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VT2i stands for ‘Vosges Technologie, innovation & industrie’. The French company specializes in the design and production of automotive components and sub-assemblies. Its main products include control arms and knuckles, suspension ball joints, outer and axial ball joints and stabilizer bar links. VT2i supplies vehicle makers such as PSA Peugeot Citroen, Opel, Renault Nissan, Tier-1 and Tier-2 automotive suppliers as well as the aftermarket. Though only established in 2013, the company has 50 years of experience.

“We were part of TRW Group which was founded in 1967,” explains President and CEO Xavier Grandjean who was Production Director at TRW until four years ago. “Together with two partners, I took over the company, its manufacturing equipment and employees.” VT2i is 70% owned by its three partners; the remaining 30% of the shares are owned by the workforce. “This has a great effect on employee motivation and satisfaction,” says Mr. Grandjean.

VT2i is based in Ramonchamp in the Vosges department in northeastern France, not far from the German and Swiss borders, and has a representative office in Saarbrücken, Germany. The company employs 100 people and turns over 18.6 million EUR.

 

VT2i has its own research, development and engineering team to design customer-specific parts and assemblies. “We develop according to the customer’s individual specifications and choose the best materials with optimum technical characteristics,” states Mr. Grandjean. “In the development process, we also take into account aspects such as weight reduction and recyclability of the material.”

VT2i covers the entire value chain, from product design and quality manufacturing to dimensional, material and functional testing and validation in extreme conditions. “We make automotive components that are important for vehicle safety,” explains Mr. Grandjean. “This is why we attach the greatest importance to comprehensive validation tests and zero-fault production.”

All components are extensively tested for corrosion resistance, durability, wear and fatigue. VT2i has state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment, including precision cutting, rolling, welding and assembly machines, and is committed to achieving total quality through continuous improvement, comprehensive in-process checks and Poka-yoke, a tried-and-tested Japanese method aimed at preventing the production of nonconforming products. The company is capable of handling both small and large production series. “We are very flexible as regards quantities and deliver on a just-in-time basis,” states Mr. Grandjean.

 

VT2i is pursuing a three-part strategy focused on 100% customer satisfaction through highest-quality products, constant improvement and technological innovation through its own research and cooperating with external experts and, last but not least, enhanced diversification in a fast changing industry.

“We have just entered a partnership with an engineering firm specializing in electric vehicles,” Mr. Grandjean says, describing the Bee Bee joint venture as part of the targeted diversification efforts of VT2i. “The company has developed an open-roof electric vehicle that resembles a golf cart but is allowed to drive on public roads. It is perfect for tourist destinations such as large holiday resorts.” The first five vehicles have been supplied by VT2i to the Caribbean island of St. Barts. “We have orders for another 45 vehicles,” states Mr. Grandjean.

“The goal is to grow the annual capacity to 300 to 400 vehicles. Our main business, however, will remain the development and production of mechanical automotive components and sub-assemblies.” Besides developing a promising niche segment of the market for electric vehicles, VT2i is diversifying into the component markets for agricultural, commercial and military vehicles. The company ships approximately 60% of its products abroad, to Germany and worldwide.

“We have a highly motivated, experienced team, our own applied research and development facilities and advanced simulation, production and testing equipment,” Mr. Grandjean says, suming up the main reasons for the global success of VT2i. “Our highly automated manufacturing technology enables us to compensate for high wages. And, as a medium-sized, owner-managed enterprise, we are very flexible in meeting changing individual customer demands. Last but not least, our raw material sourcing is very cost-effective.”

 

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