“Any part, any size, and color, any quantity, any substrate” that’s the range of automotive flocking applications that Global Flock Group offers, according to Mathias Reichenbacher, the company’s Commercial Director. Reichenbacher has been with the company since it was launched in July 2009 with 34 employees in central Mexico and has seen the company grow to a total of 350 employees at two facilities, one in central Mexico and one in northern Mexico.
The company flocks such automotive components as glove boxes, armrests, pillars, and springs. Their customers include Mercedes, BMW (which, Reichenbacher reports, has praised Global Flock’s product as superior to other suppliers), Cadillac, Chrysler, Nissan, Volkswagen, Tesla, and Toyota. Global Flock designs and builds its own flocking equipment. Reichenbacher sees growth opportunities in the North American automotive market where flock has yet to meet its potential as a valued-added product and imparter of luxury to the automotive interior experience. “A car without flock is not a luxury car,” says Reichenbacher, who commented that even with the business they now have, the fact remains that most American cars, even luxury cars, are not flocked. He compares that to the situation in Europe, where a car with bare, unflocked plastic is perceived as “cheap.”
Launching a new flocking company in North America in 2009, during a worldwide economic down-turn that hit Global Flock’s customers, the automotive industry especially hard, may seem an unlikely business decision, but for Global Flock, it made perfect sense. “We had offers to go to China,” says Reichenbacher, “but our market is North America.” Actually, according to Reichenbacher, the 2007 – 2009 financial crisis created opportunities for Global Flock in North America, as it forced the American automotive industry to see the need for an improved product, including adding value, performance, and comfort through the use of flock.
Reichenbacher contrasts the North American market, with its growth potential to the European market, noting that in the German market, many cars are already flocked and the many flocking companies are competing over a pie that isn’t growing. He says, “The Mexican and U.S. market is ‘El Dorado,’ the golden dream, for object flocking.” “But,” he quickly adds, “it must be high quality and competitive on price.”
Global Flock, with its emphases on quality and new product development, and key staff with combined 60 years experience in the flock industry, has grown to become the largest object flocker in North America, according to Reichenbacher. The company continues to invest in research and development for the application of flocking into “non-standard” areas of the vehicle, for example, the flocking of springs for noise reduction.
Global Flock looks forward to continued growth as a North American company serving the North American market. It is a financially sound organization and is capable of expanding operations into the States if the need arises to service the U.S. OEM manufacturing locations.