May 10th, 2019
Today, we were on the schedule to visit Faurecia, a manufacturer of exhaust system and interior components for many different vehicles. Their facility is located in Augsburg, so the commute there was not too long. After breakfast, we got on a tram to travel across town to the Faurecia plant (I took note: the itinerary had the train arriving precisely at 8:29 AM, and it did).
We arrived shortly thereafter, and we had to present all of our driver’s licenses after a mix-up regarding the required legal documents. After we got through the gate, we were introduced briefly to the company and prepared for our tour of the factory. We got to wear cool shoes!
On our way to the testing center, we passed by many cool automobile components displayed in cases along the walls. The first stop on our tour was the testing center, where we got to see several different testing mechanisms, including a vibration test, heat test, and dyno test. We were then shown the coolest testing area, the acoustic testing room. The room was completely soundproof, and it had a dyno in it. I could only dream of hearing an exotic Italian sports car receiving an acoustic test in that room.
We then toured the engine assembly area, where I was fortunate enough to see the engine of a Ferrari 488 and Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio outside of their bodies so that I could fully appreciate their beauty (and they were beautiful, rest assured). After our tour concluded, we returned to the conference room, where we heard a presentation about Faurecia. I learned a lot about the company; it is a big company located in 35 countries. Even more impressive, Faurecia has a component in one of every three cars on the road today! We learned that the company is adapting to changes in the auto industry, which were similar to the ones we had covered at previous companies, i.e. autonomy, vehicle connectivity, ride sharing, and emission reduction. Because the company primarily manufactures exhaust systems and components, it has to adapt its business plan significantly going into a future where exhaust systems in passenger vehicles will be all but unnecessary.
So far, the company has expanded into other sectors of the automobile industry, including construction vehicles and boats. Additionally, the company is investing large sums in startups in an effort to diversify its holdings to protect it from fluctuations. After hearing about the company’s future outlook, the presentation concluded, and we all got a picture. I spotted a Mercedes AMG exhaust system on the wall, which was really cool to see isolated from the car.
After wrapping up at Faurecia, we took the tram to Augsburg University, where we received a lecture on German politics from Sebastian Greßler. It was very interesting; we learned about a developing polarization in German politics between urban and rural areas, and how a shift in voting patterns is causing the Bavarian region to shift away from its traditionally conservative political attitudes.We returned to the hotel after that, and it felt very refreshing to be back at the hotel early. After a much needed nap, I began to work on our group’s presentation for next Wednesday. I’m starting to get worried about it! I just want to get it over with.
We went to Vapiano for dinner, an Italian restaurant that resembles Piada in the United States. I got a plain pizza, and I happily added a one bite review to the app. The pizza was okay; I rated it at 5.8. I saw the car of the day outside the shop, a gloss black BMW M6 V10 Coupé.
Tomorrow, we are traveling to Munich for a day to explore the city. I’m hoping that we have enough time to see the BMW museum, but we’ll see how it goes.