Britax Römer: “We’re sticking with Europe”
At this year’s Kind + Jugend, the child safety experts Britax Römer present innovations such as the new DUALFIX i-SIZE and the lightweight BRITAX B-LITE, a pushchair that can also be used as a travel system. In attendance will be Rainer Stäbler, Managing Director EMEA at Britax Römer Kindersicherheit GmbH. Since the start of July 2015, Stäbler, who has 20 years of management experience, has been leading the company strategically into the future.
The head office of the globally operating company is located between Munich and Stuttgart, in Leipheim. This is not just a thought-provoking move in terms of logistics, but also a statement to car manufacturers. For decades, the company has closely cooperated with the car industry on the safety and development of child car seats. ISOFIX was developed and introduced in a cooperation between Britax Römer and VW in 1997. Today, it is regarded as an international standard and makes children’s seats much safer. Today, 1.5 million child car seats are produced annually at the two locations in Leipheim and Andover. By transferring further products back to Europe from China, Britax Römer plans to expand its production in the coming months and to produce almost 100% of its car seats for Europe in Europe. Rainer Stäbler, Managing Director of EMEA at Britax Römer Kindersicherheit GmbH, explains where the potential lies in the German economy and the advantages for the company of relocating to Europe.
In 2015, you decided to move from Ulm to the nearby small town of Leipheim. Were new jobs created in addition to the expansion of the
At the moment, we have approximately 400 employees in Leipheim. Thanks to the possibility of extending our floorspace, we were able to build our own logistics centre, which had previously been external. We also installed a second unique crash-test system and further strengthened our development and design department. So you see that we not only increased the size of our premises by the move, but also created more jobs.
That must have advantages, having the production on site and your own logistics centre under one roof ?
Yes, absolutely. We can produce just-in-time and store up to 9,000 pallets. As a result, Leipheim is developing into an international hub for us. It enables us to quickly supply “Made in Germany” products to our customers in around 50 countries.
The economy is changing. How can the German economy be further strengthened?
There is a growing awareness of quality and the environment. Consumers are paying close attention to what they buy, where the products come from, and whether they are “only” designed/engineered in Germany or actually Made In Germany. For this reason and because we are standing by Europe and our roots, Britax Römer started moving production back to Europe a few years ago. The growing demand for investments in infrastructure and the development of mobility will also be particularly important for the German economy, including the ability to implement innovative ideas more quickly
Another issue you mentioned earlier was your new crash-test system for child car seat systems. How is this used?
Our crash-test experts carry out continuous tests together with our development department. They accompany the development process of each new product step by step. We carry out all legally prescribed and known consumer tests with our 3 crash-test systems in Europe. Various situations can be presented and taken into account. The children’s seats are also tested with various models of the car manufacturers in order to get as close as possible to real accident situations.
What role do ADAC test results play in sales?
The large number of products makes it difficult for the consumer to decide what to buy. That’s why tests from consumer organisations have a great influence on what customers buy. The twice-yearly joint test of Stiwa / ADAC and ÖAMTC is certainly important here. It is important for the consumer to check exactly who is performing these tests and how they are tested – because there are also great differences. As an example, I would mention the Euro NCAP crash tests, as their tests include current vehicles and the use of children’s seats, so that the child seats can be tested under real crash situations in the car, taking into account the crucial role that the car plays in an accident.
Images: Britax Römer