“Flopping” Faurecia? (Day 6)

By Nicholas Erni

Today like every single other day of the trip, began in the same fashion. Bright and early. After the same breakfast we’ve had the past 6 days, we ventured to the tram station where we would go for a 20 minute ride to our 4th site visit, Faurecia. 

We arrived at Faurecia around 9:30 in which we immediately went into a tour. This was unlike any of the others. We generally got a brief introduction to the company surrounding what they do and their purpose, but they did not occur so we were all caught off guard, at least I was. 

Faurecia Plant

So I essentially went into the company blind, as I have never really heard of the company and my knowledge only surrounded the fact they made interiors of cars. The tour started out in a hallway. It seemed to be pretty dated, unlike all of the other companies we had visited. In the hallway their was engineers and machine operators littered everywhere. The tour guide, who I believe was an engineer due to his extensive knowledge of the companies technical process, told is in each separate room there were tests being run on different components of the cars, in an effort to replicate similar situations and stresses that would placed on the car components in the real world. 

After the tour of the halls we headed into a large warhorse where we were greeted by a sound proofing room. This was my second favorite part of the tour. Right when you walked in there was absolutely no echoing or sound pollution. I sounded very weird to myself for a second because I had never seen or been in a room like this before. The tour guide told us that in this room tests were run to correctly tune the exhaust systems they design that will be placed into cars once shipped off. Another part of the warehouse I enjoyed, was the room with all of the engines. To be able to see an engine outside of the car in person and appreciate its complexity was something I had never seen before. We stumbled upon a Ferrari engine, it was 8 cylinders so we perceived it as a 488 engine possibly. Also inside of the warehouse they had brand new models of unreleased vehicles. My favorite was the Range Rover they were working on. It was wrapped in some design that made it difficult for the average eye to be able to tell what brand made it, as well as possibly new and revolutionary features other brands would have the incentive to steal. 

Some Faurecia Parts on display

From this part of the tour we went back to the presentation room where we were finally given a rundown on what Faurecia was. The presenter essentially told us their main market is in the automotive industry with exhaust systems. This lead to a big question amongst the students. With all that we had learned at the various companies we had visited over the week, it is quite obvious that electricity is the next big thing in the automotive industry. We were given some of the basic innovation systems used by each one, in order to stay alive in this extremely competitive industry. But in my opinion, Faurecia would have a tough time adapting and that is what they showed from my point of view. Faurecia is in 1/3 of all vehicles worldwide with their focus, like aforementioned, in exhaust systems. With combustion engines being the key and reason for making these exhaust systems, the development and standardization of electricity, which doesn’t emit even close to the number of fumes (if any at all) compared to combustion engines, raises the question. How will Faurecia survive. This question was essentially unaddressed in the presentation, so a couple member of our groups brought up great points and questions surrounding the topic. I believe this question was highlighted by Marius, who asked a question along the lines of what methods they are taking and or should take in the future to survive and the tour guide didn’t really give him an answer. She told him to just go ask the CEO, which is not happening. After the debate on this top, we were introduced to some internships that would be possible to get at Faurecia, if you were a European and masters student… 

After our time at Faurecia we made our way back to the University of Augsburg.  At the university we had lunch, I had exactly the same thing I had on Monday. After lunch we headed to a lecture surrounding politics in Germany and how they differ from American Politics. The lecture was very informative and the presenter was quite concise. The lecture felt as if we were in an a Pitt lecture, they both taught very similarly, contrary to what I would think. 

Once again at the Augsburg Campus

After the lecture we were off on our own for the rest of the day. I decided with so much free time it would be a great opportunity to go to the gym for the first time on the trip. Lauren and I went for about a 3 block walk to the nearest gym. Hardy’s. Personally I felt it was a very nice gym, with equipment very similar to U.S. equipment, the only difference being the weights were in kilograms. This proved to be a problem for me due to the fact I didn’t know the conversion rate to pounds. I came in with the knowledge a 45 pound plate was 20 kilograms, so I based my workout off of that. 

Once the 2 hour lifting session was complete I headed over to Vapiano’s, where a group of 8 students were eating. Vapianos is a traditional yet modern Italian restaurant that is a chain across Europe from what I’ve heard. At Vapianos I got beef ravioli. This proved to be as good as anticipated, I would give this meal an 8/10. 

From dinner I ventured over to the club Lahm were a couple of students and I stayed until the end of the night. 

For todays car of the day, I honestly forget to take pictures. So I would say this is the day off. 

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