Autoliv ASP, the North American subsidiary of Sweden-based Autoliv Inc., designs and manufactures automobile safety restraint systems, such as airbags and airbag inflators (the highest-cost item in making an airbag module), seatbelts, night vision systems, radar sensors, gas generators, and other airbag modules. It is credited with the invention of the side-impact airbag, the Inflatable Curtain (for head protection), the Anti-Whiplash Seat, and night vision systems. It also provides testing of automotive safety products for vehicle manufacturers, as well as engineering design of products at its technical center and test laboratory. Autoliv ASP, with 10 locations across the US, was founded in 1996.
Autoliv ASP's manufacturing plants, technical centers, and offices are located in California, Indiana, Michigan, and Utah. While most of its parent's manufacturing operations have been outsourced to lower-cost regions in China, Eastern Europe, and Mexico, the company still does much of its product development in the West. In 2011 it launched the Mono Vision Sensing System (MVSS), a camera-based driver assistance system for BMW vehicles that alerts a driver about traffic signs, changes in lane markings, and the distance of the car in front of it. It also automatically switches the vehicle's headlights from high- to low-beam at the approach of oncoming vehicles.
The crisis that crashed the automotive industry, along with the global credit crunch, weeded out a number of competitors and presented opportunities to Autoliv ASP for consolidation. As distressed suppliers fell by the wayside, the company stepped in to fulfill contracts and make opportunistic acquisitions. For example, in late 2009 when Delphi exited the North American airbag, seatbelt, and steering wheel markets, Autoliv acquired the assets. Along with the acquisition came Delphi's contracts with industry heavies, such as GM, Daimler, Ford, Hyundai, and Navistar. Another boon to Autoliv's US business is the federal government's mandate that side and head airbags be included in all new light vehicles sold in the US starting in 2013.
North America is Autoliv, Inc.'s second-largest market, behind Europe. The US accounted for 23% of its parent's sales in 2010. – less