What does TRW stand for? Can you tell us how it began its journey in the automotive industry?
TRW originally stands for Thompson Ramo Wooldridge – a previous merger of two companies in 1958. ‘Thompson Products’ dates back to the early 20th century when the company introduced the revolutionary Thompson silicon valve. Since then, the company has been through a series of mergers and acquisitions, one of the most significant being the acquisition of Lucas Varity PLC in 1999.
In 2003, TRW became an independent automotive organization. A year later, it began trading on the New York stock exchange in 2004.
TRW is known worldwide as the leader in automotive safety. Why did you choose to specialize in this aspect?
Through its history, TRW has built up a strong portfolio of safety products including steering, braking occupant safety products and safety electronics.
TRW produces an array of active and passive safety technologies. Can you please explain the difference between these two? Can you give examples of your products that fall under these two classifications?
Active safety technologies such as driver assist systems (video camera or radar)are those which help protect occupants before an accident happens while passive safety systems such as airbags are those which protect occupants after the crash has occurred. TRW manufactures a range of both active and passive technologies for customers worldwide.
How many product lines does TRW have? Can you please give us a quick rundown of the products offered in each line?
In general TRW is divided into four main business units: Occupant Safety Systems, Braking, Steering and Electronics.
What is TRW’s long term vision in terms of product innovation and marketing?
Delivering cognitive or intelligent safety technologies for everyone. Hence, our goal is to ensure that advanced safety technologies are available on all cars and in all markets. To support this trend, TRW is investing in technology solutions that work across established and emerging markets and continues to make significant investments to expand our presence globally. Our aim is to make road users safer – not just those who can afford a luxury vehicle.
What sets TRW apart from the other companies specializing in safety technologies?
TRW has the broadest product portfolio of active and passive safety technologies as well as experience in system integration. By combining our active and passive safety technology with our electronics and sensing capabilities, we create intelligent systems that help enhance the safety of pedestrians, drivers and passengers.
TRW released its 2013 financial results in February. According to the report, your company recorded fourth quarter sales of $4.5 billion, an increase of 12% compared to the prior year and full year sales of $17.4 billion, an increase of 6% compared to 2012. What do you think is the key factor which contributed to these results?
We have got a tremendously strong balance sheet.
TRW recently bagged the prestigious Volvo Cars Quality through Excellence Award at its Slovakia- and Germany-based manufacturing facilities. How will you use this milestone to attract prospective partners?
The prestigious Volvo Quality Excellence Award is a confirmation of the partnership between Volvo and TRW on the journey towards zero defects. The process allows TRW to fully understand our customer’s expectations and identify any weaknesses and strengths in our project management, product launches, daily production and aftermarket. The award makes TRW the supplier of choice while sourcing new business.
Customer-oriented support is also attractive to all our prospective partners with the ambition to develop, launch and manufacture vehicles which shall exceed their customers’ expectations.
Do you think the award will further boost your sales and brand image in Europe? Do you think it will yield the same result in other continents such as Middle East and Asia?
The award boosts our brand image, which is underpinned with four strategic priorities; best quality, lowest cost, global reach and innovative technology. TRW’s commitment to these priorities drives our business forward in all regions of the globe.
What methods do you use to ensure that your products will pass automotive safety standards such as Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS)? How do you comply with the safety standards in other countries?
FMVSS and safety standards (e.g. EuroNCAP) requirements are normally vehicle level requirements, not component or sub-system level requirements. In general, TRW works closely with their customers to understand the regulatory and other market requirements, propose technical solutions, and engineer the systems into the customers’ vehicles. However, many safety systems comprise components and sub-systems (e.g. airbags, seat belts, crash sensing electronics) from multiple suppliers with the OEM acting as system integrator. Therefore, the ultimate responsibility for meeting the requirements rests with the OEMs.
What do you think is the most prevalent road safety issue that motorists all over the world are facing nowadays? How do you plan to solve such issue?
Globally, according to the World Health Organization, almost half of road fatalities are not in vehicles – they are pedestrians, cyclists and other “vulnerable road users”. Of the remainder, the majority lives in low-income countries, whose fatality rates are increasing as vehicle ownership increases. For developing regions, TRW’s approaches include promoting the fitment and usage of passive safety systems including seat belts and airbags to improve occupant protection in the event of a crash. For developed regions, TRW promotes the fitment of active safety systems including ESC and Automatic Emergency Braking systems to reduce the chances of a driver getting into a dangerous situation in the first place, and to reduce or avoid injuries resulting from a collision.
What can customers expect from TRW this year? Can you give us an overview of your next products and programs?
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Manju Mathew, an MBA in marketing, completed publisher training courses from the Oxford Brookes University and New York University. She started with marketing and PR roles before moving on to her current position as a full time writer. Currently living in Dubai, her life as an expat has sharpened her observation skills and flair for writing. She enjoys writing about luxury cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc even if she can only dream of owning them.
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