Cobra lines up new projects as manufacturer continues growth

Posted on 10 Jul 2013 by The Manufacturer

Cobra Automotive Engineering, specialists in interior trim technologies and products, is seeking to meet the automotive industry’s growing desire for ‘lighter’ vehicles and local sourcing in its upcoming projects.

The Wrexham-based manufacturer is negotiating with a number of tier 1 and OEM companies about bringing its ‘mass reduction’ expertise to future model platforms.

Existing contracts for supplying load covers, load floors, sun blinds and safety barrier nets have helped the firm develop a global reputation for design, quality and outstanding delivery performance.

The company, whose customers include General Motors, has seen its fortunes turn around dramatically since being bought out of administration by specialist investors Pemberton Capital nine months ago.

In that time, it appointed Bob Woods as its managing director and has introduced a long-term focus on developing strategic partnerships with existing and new customers.

“Cobra has always been at the forefront of design, new technologies and processes and had built up an enviable client base of leading tier 1 and car manufacturers,” said Mr Woods, who had previously held senior positions with Johnson Controls and Unipart.

“It invested heavily in new state-of-the-art automation following the promise of a major increase in volumes that, unfortunately, never materialised. This meant the company ran out of cash and couldn’t re-finance in time to fulfill orders.”

It currently produces load floor assembly for the Astra Station Wagon, load cover for the Chevrolet Trailblazer & Spin, and front grille assembly for the Mini at Cowley.

This has led to annual sales of £7m, with nearly 50% of this figure being exported into plants in Brazil, Canada, Germany, Spain and Thailand.

Cobra’s Product Design Director Matt Williamson said: “There’s a real tradition at Cobra of being involved in early stage design and prototyping of new automotive products.

“It’s something we do really well and this is assisted by our mobile 3D laser scanning arm that enables fast, easy to understand graphical comparisons between CAD and ‘as built’ parts.

“Specialising in CNC machined prototypes, we are also able to offer the customer production representative prototypes. The parts that we generate can rapidly speed up time to market.”