SOMIC Ishikawa, a leading ball joint and damper manufacturer based in Hamamatsu, has had to seek more overseas customers despite being the most dominant supplier of those parts to the country’s largest carmakers.
While it caters mainly to large Japanese car manufacturers outside the country at the moment, SOMIC Ishikawa has seen a slow but steady growth in terms of sales and market penetration. To boost this growth, the company will step up efforts to secure the business of American and European car manufacturers and expand its product line.
“We have always been following Japanese carmakers wherever they go and concentrate on that. But now, we need to increase market share by catering to non-Japanese carmakers too, mostly American and European,” President and CEO Masahiro Ishikawa explained.
SOMIC Ishikawa faces tough competition, given that there are only a handful of ball joint and damper manufacturers around the world. To increase the odds of success of its overseas ventures and widen its market, the company focuses on technological innovation. It has developed new products that can be used in other industries, such as agriculture and medical equipment, using new lightweight materials preferred by carmakers and other kinds of manufacturers.
The company, which marked its centenary in 2016, also capitalizes of its location in Hamamatsu, known as the manufacturing hub of Shizuoka prefecture, where the old guard of Japanese industry, such as Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha, are based.
“Hamamatsu is a manufacturing center with a high concentration of skills. The network of all these industries and large companies here also contributes to the area’s attraction and strength,” said Ishikawa.