Fuyao increasing market share as auto industry slows

Fuyao Glass America is weathering an domestic automotive downturn and even increasing its market share, company leaders said Thursday.

In fact, the Moraine-based manufacturer of automotive safety glass is preparing to celebrate the introduction of new products for BMW next month, said Jeff Liu, Fuyao Glass America president.

“We actually have a whole series of products for the BMW “F” series,” Liu said. “This (we) are the first supplier for the business (line). Obviously, we’re going to have the best quality glass for the BMW.”

Other Fuyao customers include General Motors, Honda, Kia, Ford and many other North American automakers.

Asked about a softening in U.S. auto sales this year, Liu said, “We are going to face the same situation, the same challenges, as everybody. Our competitors will face the same.”

U.S. auto sales dropped for the first six months of the year, a pause in the growth of recent years. GM, for example, has cut shifts at some U.S. plants.

The Fuyao plant between Encrete Lane and West Stroop Road is “cresting” at about 2,000 jobs even though it has not exceeded half its production capacity, said U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, who visited the plant Thursday. Fuyao has said that it will have the capacity to supply safety glass for one in four vehicles on the road in North America at full production capacity.

“What’s exciting about their growth strategy is, it’s not just as the automotive market grows that they grow,” Turner said. “They are growing their portion of the auto market. So there are still opportunities for growth in this company.”

Turner emerged from his closed-door meeting with plant officials saying he liked what he heard. He said there is room for more jobs as production grows.

“Their efforts now are to sell the products that are here and make sure they can take over a greater portion of the market,” Turner said.

Last year, Fuyao was subject to some safety complaints from employees and several U.S. Occupational Safety and Health investigations.

At one point late last year, Fuyao had reached $227,000 in OSHA penalties based on six inspections.

A company spokesman said Thursday the plant has made strides in safety. New managers have been hired and floor signs have been added, he said.

Accidents have decreased by 53 percent in the most recent quarter, a drop Fuyao attributed to the hiring of new safety technicians and other changes.

Also Thursday, a company spokesman said Fuyao is planning an employee appreciation night at Fifth Third Field on Sept. 16. Planned for the event is a broadcast of the Ohio State Buckeyes game that afternoon, along with games, food and the playing of a family movie.

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