Ficosa, the Tier 1 global provider engaged in research, development, manufacturing and marketing of vision, safety, connectivity and efficiency systems for the automotive sector, is celebrating its 70th anniversary with a firm commitment to new technology for more assisted driving, autonomous cars, connected cars and e-mobility .
The history of Ficosa began in 1949 when Josep Pujol Sucarrats supported his son and current president of the company, José María Pujol, in founding a small workshop in Barcelona with José María Tarragó, called Pujol y Tarragó, which manufactured mechanical cables for the spare parts market. Over the following seven decades, a firm commitment to innovation and internationalisation have made Ficosa the global benchmark in the automotive and mobility sector, with more than 10,500 employees in 19 countries in Europe, North and South America, Asia and Africa.
According to Javier Pujol, Ficosa CEO: “One of the keys to our success lies in our ability over the years to anticipate future changes, in conjunction with our clear commitment to innovation. This has led us to transform the company to get out ahead of changes, whether for example being pioneers in going beyond Spanish borders in the 1970s or diversifying our line of products to meet market needs. Likewise, the secret of our success can also be found in our philosophy of doing a lot with very little, our solid human values of humility, hard work and entrepreneurship, and the great team that has made up this company at the various points throughout its history.”
Pushing new technology
The new technological products aimed at more assisted driving, autonomous cars, connected cars and e-mobility have become the pillars of Ficosa’s growth. In recent years, the company has implemented a significant plan for investment in new technology, which will be further bolstered with an additional 500 million euros over the next four years, in order to fuel its leadership in areas that are decisive for the automobile of the future. The company, which saw 1.28 billion euros in revenue in 2017 and invested nearly 8% of its sales in R&D, expects revenue from technology systems to go from 100 million euros to 800 million euros over the next five years.
Ficosa has developed and manufactured the Audi e-Tron’s digital rear-view system, the first vehicle to market with this technology composed of cameras and screens instead of the conventional exterior mirrors. This project is a turning point in the technological transformation of the company and reaffirms its leadership in vision systems, marking a milestone in the automotive industry worldwide.
In late 2018, Ficosa reaffirmed its commitment to electromobility by inaugurating its new e-Mobility Hub, a pioneering centre in Spain and the world in technology for electric mobility. Located in Viladecavalls, it employs 120 engineers and will become a global benchmark laboratory in the development of electromobility systems for hybrid and electric vehicles.
Pujol said: “As part of our DNA, Ficosa’s evolution has always been closely tied to the transformation of the automobile. Some years ago, we set our sights on technological products with high value added for the automobile and made a firm commitment to our transformation. The digital rear-view system and the new e-Mobility hub are clear examples that, once more in Ficosa’s history, we have known how to anticipate and make the right decision. We’ve come a long way in the past 70 years, but the race towards the car of the future is frenetic, which is why we are stepping on the accelerator to push innovation in the company and stay at the front of the pack.”
The efforts to capitalise on innovations and the latest advances have also led to a significant growth of the engineering team focused on these new technological products, reaching a record number of more than 1,170 engineers worldwide. Over 700 of them work at the Technological Centre in Viladecavalls (Barcelona, Spain), the group’s most important engineering centre, where 160 engineers were hired in 2017 alone.
Over the past five years, Ficosa has bolstered its global presence with new plants in Jandira (Brazil), Shenyang (China), Cookeville (United States) and Rabat (Morocco). The Morocco plant was the latest centre to be inaugurated, last year, and the company’s first foray onto the continent of Africa. Plus, the company has recently reinforced its presence in Portugal with new facilities in Maia.