Department of State Development

SMR Automotive Australia has manufactured and distributed rear-view mirrors and related products for the global automotive sector for more than 25 years.

The company invests heavily in research and development, engineering and design skills, and lean, automated and highly efficient manufacturing production processes.

While SMR traditionally focused on the automotive supply chain, it now competes successfully in a high-cost environment by actively pursuing a strategy based on product innovation, staff training, local technology partnerships and global customers and supply chains that include non-automotive industries.

Links to global supply chains

The company is part of the international specialist Samvardhana Motherson Reflectec (SMR) Group, which operates in 23 countries and produces exterior and interior mirrors, lighting and mirror adjustment systems, indicators, blind-spot detectors and a broad range of automotive components.

Headquartered in Lonsdale, SMR employs more than 500 people in South Australia and is the only Australian manufacturer of rear-view mirror systems. It supplies all three domestic vehicle manufacturers (Holden, Ford and Toyota) and is also a significant exporter. Seventy-five per cent of its output goes to the United States, Asia and Europe.

SMR has expertise in product design, project management, engineering and various manufacturing processes, as well as testing and global distribution. This enables it to produce well designed products incorporating complex lighting design, advanced electronics and innovative thin-film coatings for the global automotive market.

Expanding into new markets

The company is confronting the challenges of operating in a high-cost, small-scale environment in which its major customers are facing declining prospects.

It is striving to meet this challenge through:

  • Deliberate efforts to diversify and grow its business in non-automotive markets.

It is putting its distinctive and demonstrated capabilities to new uses, especially in growing or emerging sectors such as medical devices and clean technologies. The company recently established a new division, SMR Technologies, which is seeking to develop products in markets requiring precision, highly engineered, moulded and electronic component combinations.

  • Capitalising on productive research partnerships that complement traditional first-to-market products in an effort to open new global business opportunities.

For example, Commonwealth Government funding allowed SMR to develop and patent lightweight automotive mirrors, using plastic technology, in a collaborative research partnership with the Co-operative Research Centre for Advanced Automotive Technology and the University of South Australia. This partnership has the potential to provide new employment opportunities and skills, and new, value-added solutions for customers. It also supports the company’s growth and diversification strategy.