Valeo Group | 18 Dec, 2023 | 6 min

Valeo’s technological haute couture for Italian luxury sports cars

Valeo's Pianezza and Santena sites, near Turin (Italy), are focused on the development and production of unique products, in lighting and human-machine interfaces respectively, for the most reputed brands in luxury automotive.

 

 

We’re craftsmen in a way, almost more than industrialists,” says Santena Site Activity Manager Giancarlo Magi smiling.

Located just a few kilometers from the Piedmontese capital, Valeo’s Santena site has a position of inverse proportion to its modest size (4,700 m2) in the niche market of luxury automotive.

Here, Valeo imagines, designs, develops and produces human-machine interface technologies – panel controls, touch screens, switches, paddle gear shifts, etc. – for the most prestigious luxury car brands, in particular those that have made the legend of Italian luxury sports cars.

Here, everything is tailored according to Customer demand, being compliant with Group standards at the same time,” emphasizes Giancarlo Magi. “Everything that comes off our production lines must be of impeccable quality and aesthetics. Beautiful to look at and beautiful to touch.”

Since luxury volumes are inherently limited, there’s something unique about every piece produced here. And the meticulous attention to detail of the site’s 230 or so employees is akin to lacemaking.

According to Giancarlo, “What’s fundamentally changing with luxury car customers is the pace. It’s absolutely incredible the number of new models they’re developing and the speed at which they’re doing it, with the constant need to offer innovations. In this sense, the marriage of Valeo and its capacity for innovation with the luxury automobile and its need to constantly offer something new is, all in all, quite natural.”

Some 30 kilometers away, at the Valeo Pianezza site, which produces nearly a hundred front and rear light references for luxury customers, the same is true. “Innovation, speed in the development, flexibility and high reactivity to follow customers’ demand are the factors that make the difference,” says Dario Artusa, the site’s R&D manager. “Development cycles are very short. It takes just a year and a half to develop a product, as opposed to the usual two and half , three years for the more traditional automotive industry. Valeo’s strength lies in our platforms system. This means we can start from a standard base that has already been developed, and then customize it to meet the customer’s specific needs. This allows us to move much faster and reduce costs. This market of super sports cars brings out passion and motivation from our engineers in facing daily challenges. Seeing our technologies on these wonderful cars makes us so proud of our work.”

Some 190 employees work on the manufacturing and injection lines, in the laboratories and in R&D at Valeo Pianezza, which covers more than 20,000 m2 and produces, for example, mostly the totality of the front lighting systems of a famous Italian luxury brand.

The site is in full swing, with the scheduled launch of 10 new products over the next two years, including five as early as next year. A real challenge for the site’s R&D engineers specializing in optics, mechanics, electronics, simulation, architecture and validation. “And a source of great pride for all our employees,” says site manager Vincenzo Mastrandrea. “This pride and attachment to the site is reflected in the very high stability of the workforce.”

Italy has a strong automotive tradition, home of supercar icons, symbols of luxury and made in Italy; joining world class technology with tailor made solutions, local competences and agility are our strength, recognized by all our Customers which allowed us to be successful in this segment” concludes Maurizio Martinelli, Valeo Visibility Business Group and Valeo Italy President.

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