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Auto part JV aims higher in China

Updated: 2010-02-04

Shenyang Jinbei Johnson Controls Automotive Interiors Co Ltd (SJJ) is a Sino-American joint venture co-invested by Jinbei Automotive Co Ltd and Johnson Controls Inc (JCI) in 2000. The company employs about 800 employees and mainly supplies auto seating (for Brilliance Jinbei's Minibus Hiace, GRACE MPV and M 1 Series), door panel and instrument panel (for BMW 3 and 5 Series), and truck seating (for JINBEI truck). The company's sales reached 910 million yuan at the end of 2007.

Auto part JV aims higher in China

Sven Kunath, general manager for SJJ is an expert of seating design as he has worked in the field for more than 10 years. He was an honorable torchbearer for the 2008 Olympic Games.

Recently, he spoke with China Daily reporter Liu Ce about the manufacturing, environmental protection and social contribution of SJJ.

Q: I know that you worked in Shanghai before you came here. Why did you choose to come to Shenyang?

A: I came to Shenyang in October 2006, where I took the position of general manager. Before, I was located in Shanghai, which played a regional role for Asia. One of the main reasons for my coming here is I'm a German and we have some business with BMW. They are one of our key customers here besides Brilliance and Jinbei. The development of BMW is very positive, so we want to put more focus on them. Then I came here to develop the business and private relationship with BMW. Actually, we did well.

Q: Does this mean that SJJ mainly focuses on the local market rather than the national and international ones?

A: Johnson is an international company. It is pretty big in China with 13,000 people at the moment, and we have become the country's biggest supplier. To develop our supplier in the north, we use more local sources, as the long distance can get expensive. Step by step we are developing more local suppliers.

Q: So who is SJJ's biggest competitor here?

A: So far I think the local companies' relevancy is small because we are an international enterprise. There are other groups who are very successful like Toyota. But they have their own suppliers. They cooperate like a great family. We have some business with them but it's just small parts.

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