As printed in the Dayton Business Journal
A Dayton-area auto parts manufacturer is making big strides in exporting.
Englewood-based Liteflex LLC, which has a plant in Dayton, will begin shipping its composite springs used in vehicle suspensions to Hyundai in South Korea this week. Bob Bauerle, sales manager for Liteflex, tells me his company will send about 15,000 springs to Hyundai this year and that number should double annually by end of 2017.
Last week, Liteflex also made its first significant shipment — a full sea container — of springs to Fiat in Italy. Liteflex has been sending small orders to Fiat since it started production on a new platform last April, but with this latest shipment that number will grow to about 10,000 springs per year. They have also been selling to customers located in China, India, and Turkey.
Liteflex boasts that its composite springs are lighter weight — promoting fuel efficiency — as well as more durable and take less maintenance than traditional steel springs. However, the 50-person company has been fighting for years to get traction because its composite springs are more expensive than traditional springs.
So, the new sales in overseas markets may be the foot-in-the-door the company needs to substantially grow its market share. Liteflex has been working on additional prototypes for other vehicle platforms overseas, Bauerle said.