“We always want to be number 1, but for this special occasion it’s really an honour to be number 150!” Dr. Thomas Wünsche, CEO of Chassis Brakes International, stresses his competitive ambition as well as his happiness to be part of High Tech Campus Eindhoven. The new location means that the global headquarters of the company will soon move from Amsterdam to Eindhoven.

With Chassis Brakes International, the Campus can add yet another multinational to its already well filled portfolio. The company is active all around the world, with factories and offices on every continent. Out of a total of 5,500 employees, 15 to 20 will be located on High Tech Campus Eindhoven within the next 12 months. This might grow over the years, Thomas Wünsche says.

Chassis Brakes International a 90 year old company which got its present name in 2012 (“a young brand in an old shell”), is one of the world’s three largest manufacturers of automotive braking solutions. The Group develops its own architecture, which can be fitted into cars of any brand or country. “Sometimes we deliver the whole system, sometimes only part of it, for example only the front or rear brakes.”

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Thomas Wünsche: “We wanted to stay in the Netherlands, but Amsterdam is too far away from our main activities. So we explored a lot of cities but none of them was quite as interesting as Eindhoven. The focus on technology, the international orientation and the infrastructure were decisive to us. On top of that, we expect a lot from the other 149 companies on the Campus. No, there are no specific ones that would be of extra interest to us, it’s more like we look forward to the unexpected connections, because of all the people around us and the competitive environment that we will encounter.”

“Even if everything will change, a vehicle still has to perform two main tasks: moving forward and stopping again.”

Although Chassis Brakes International’s’ R&D department is in Paris, the Campus might play a role in new developments. “I can imagine that if we start talking to the people at – for example – Shimano, we might offer each other some inspiration for our own business as well. But that’s something we will find out along the way.” What might help there is that every single company on High Tech Campus Eindhoven is always thinking about the future. “There’s disruption everywhere, so we might as well learn from each other. The collective brainpower is an important factor.”

Thomas Wünsche explains that he and his team just went through a process of thinking about the future of automotive. “We did the whole analysis, which was quite interesting. But for us, the bottom line is that even if everything will change, a vehicle still has to perform two main tasks: moving forward and stopping again. The last part is our job, so I think there will always be some business for us.”

Thomas Wünsche also values the Campus because of the “different talent pool” that’s connected to Eindhoven, as compared to the other locations of his company. “Of course the Technical University will play an important role in that sense, but there is more. Eindhoven also has a lot to offer as part of the triangle with Leuven and Aachen. And the Automotive Campus in Helmond of course could become a great place for testing for us. Indeed, we’re very excited about our move to the Campus. And being the 150th makes it extra special.”

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Author profile picture Bart Brouwers is co-founder and co-owner of Media52 BV, the publisher of innovationorigins.com.