VAN BUREN TWP., Mich., July 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Ricardo Inc. -- one of the
world's foremost independent automotive engineering consulting companies --
has acquired the IFT Group, an automotive engineering group based in the
southern German automotive cluster cornered by Stuttgart, Munich and
The IFT companies provide engine systems expertise -- particularly in the
area of high performance and niche exhaust systems, prototyping, small series
production and testing services covering vehicle, engines and related systems
-- serving a strong established automotive customer base.
The acquisition significantly increases Ricardo's presence in Europe's
leading automotive market, providing the necessary infrastructure,
complementary technology and critical mass to deliver full powertrain and
vehicle integration programs from a local German base and team. It also
supports Ricardo's worldwide technology and capabilities in future exhaust
The German market for automotive engineering consultancy is perhaps the
most technically demanding in Europe, driven by the needs of major vehicle
companies including DaimlerChrysler, BMW, Audi, Porsche, VW, Opel, Fiat-GM
Powertrain and Ford of Europe.
The acquisition provides a delivery base on the "doorstep" of the southern
German premium automotive manufacturers and many of their key Tier 1 suppliers
including Bosch. In addition the northern Italian car industry is also
readily accessible from this base.
The IFT companies employ approximately 270 people, operating from its
headquarters in Schwabisch Gmund, as well as from several customer sites and a
small design office in Budapest. With the addition of the existing Ricardo
team already based in Germany, Ricardo will have approximately 20 percent of
its staff operating within this strategic region following the acquisition.
"The acquisition of IFT is in line with our strategy to significantly
increase our presence and capability in Germany, the largest automotive market
in Europe," said Rodney Westhead, Ricardo's chief executive. "This is an
important area of future growth for Ricardo and this acquisition significantly
increases our ability to meet the requirements of our German customers and
also brings a new complementary technology in exhaust systems. This
acquisition follows our recent developments in strategic consulting, including
our recent acquisitions of Gemini and Tarragon, which together add to our
growing international activities."
With its North American headquarters in Van Buren Twp., Mich., Ricardo has
been a world-leading vehicle system and powertrain technology provider for
automotive manufacturers, heavy-duty manufacturers and tier one suppliers
The company provides expertise ranging from designing and developing
engines, transmissions and drivelines, to integrating vehicle systems and
creating software solutions, to developing gasoline, diesel, hybrid and fuel
Ricardo employs approximately 1,750 people worldwide -- 85 percent of whom
are highly qualified multi-disciplined professional engineers and technicians
-- at its technical centers in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and
Czech Republic. The company recently increased its North American presence by
expanding its Detroit Technology Campus in Van Buren Twp.
A public company based in the U.K., Ricardo plc posted sales of $220
million in fiscal year 2002 and is a part of the FTSE techMark 100 index
-- a group of innovative technology companies listed on the London Stock
SOURCE Ricardo Inc.