No brakes on growth at Brembo

No brakes on growth at Brembo

    Just Watched

    No brakes on growth at Brembo

No brakes on growth at Brembo 04:45

Story highlights

  • Brembo is a world leader when it comes to high performance brakes
  • Brembo's sales come from Germany, dwarfing the share for Italy, at 15%
  • Lombardy is regarded as one of the four motors of Europe, a highly industrialized region

Bright, shiny and emblazoned with names like Ferrari and Lamborghini -- these brakes are almost as stylish as the cars they're hidden within.

Brembo is a world leader when it comes to high performance brakes, with a high profile at Formula 1 and other motor car racing events.

Now it's broadening its target market to expand its German footprint.

Read more: EasyJet Moscow route will attract business travel

"When we entered the crisis in 2009 we had a strong brand, we had good products, but we were suffering," managing director Andrea Marescotti told CNN.

"We lost 25% of the sales in 2009 and we realized that by being too focused on the top luxury end we were exposed to the crisis," he said.

Read more: O'Neill: Euro may not exist by 2020

Now Brembo makes brakes for Audi and Mercedes-Benz, both premium auto-makers in Germany, the company's largest export market.

Almost a quarter of Brembo's sales come from Germany, dwarfing the share for Italy, at 15%.

Grown from a workshop in Lombardy in 1961 by the chairman's father, Emilio Bombassei, the business is now an export powerhouse with annual revenues of $1.8 billion.

Read more: GE Europe chief eyes investment in Germany

Lombardy is regarded as one of the four motors of Europe, a highly industrialized region that powers its country with export-led companies, many family-born, like Pirelli, Campari and Luxottica.

Brembo's total sales increased 10.7% last year, far outpacing the 7.8% drop in car sales across Europe shown by European Automobile Manufacturers' Association figures.

Read more: Pirelli CEO: Europe must change austerity policies

According to Marescotti, family-born businesses like Brembo are the backbone of Italy, and a reason not to worry about the political malaise hovering over the country.

"There is really a multiplicity of medium and small companies with brilliant entrepreneurs with good managers, and they are global today, they are international and really competitive," he said. "German-makers are already utilizing this capacity of our Italian companies."

Brakes like Brembo's aren't just designed for slowing down; they're also designed for speed and efficiency, to save drivers valuable milliseconds.

In the Lombardy region of Italy, family-born businesses are similarly shaving off under-performing markets, and designing their products with German customers in mind.

      Marketplace Europe

    • spc marketplace europe latvia valdis dombrovskis_00021207.jpg

      CNN's Nina Dos Santos visits Latvia to speak to the country's outgoing Prime Minister and the prospects for the eurozone's 18th member.
    • spc marketplace europe malta immigration africa_00002118.jpg

      Malta is the gateway to Europe and on the frontline of the immigration flows. Isa Soares reports from a detention center on the Mediterranean island.
    • spc marketplace europe malta immigration vox pops_00001419.jpg

      CNN's Isa Soares speaks with people on the streets of Valletta who say their country can't cope with more migrants from Africa and the Middle East.
    • spc marketplace europe malta george vella_00032005.jpg

      Malta cannot afford to continue supporting migrants from war-torn countries in its over-crowded detention camps, the country's foreign minister has told CNN.
    • spc marketplace europe 2013 what went wrong_00020426.jpg

      Slow recoveries, bailouts, and youth unemployment. Richard Quest speaks to Europe's top CEOs about the issues of 2013.
    • spc marketplace europe 2013 defining moments bob parker intv_00010826.jpg

      CNN's Richard Quest speaks to economist Bob Parker about defining moments of 2013 and about what to expect in 2014.
    • spc marketplace europe estonia energy_00000923.jpg

      The Baltic nation of Estonia is developing its oil shale energy reserves in a bid to become energy self-sufficient.
    • spc marketplace europe nani beccalli falco_00041005.jpg

      Europe must stop being nationalistic if it wants to help a lost generation of workers, the regional boss of U.S. conglomerate General Electric says.
    • spc marketplace europe greece petros christodoulou_00002025.jpg

      Greece is on the way to economic recovery as investor faith returns to the recession-ridden eurozone nation, an executive at Greece's largest bank has told CNN.
    • spc marketplace europe euro jim cloos_00012617.jpg

      One of the masterminds behind the euro says Europe would have suffered a far worse fate if the single currency had never been created.
    • spc marketplace europe maastricht eu_00002401.jpg

      Nina Dos Santos visits the Dutch city where the European treaty carrying the city's name came into force 20 years ago.
    • spc marketplace europe spain working hours_00010525.jpg

      As Spain continues its drive to slash budgets and cut spending, one of the nation's favorite pastimes is under threat as ministers look for ways to boost productivity.