ZF set to close 2013 with ten percent increase in sales to 17 billion euros, Dr Stefan Sommer

New plants in the US and China, along with humungous demand for car driveline and chassis technology and a healthy upswing in commercial vehicles in the second half of the year have boosted the business of ZF Friedrichshafen AG: The technology company is set to close 2013 with a ten-percent increase in sales to an anticipated € 17 billion, according to a company statement.
ZF CEO Dr Stefan Sommer, while speaking at the annual press conference in Stuttgart said: “With this pleasing growth rate, we have once again outstripped the average in the industry and further strengthened our position among the world’s leading automotive suppliers, particularly in the most important market after Europe – North America – ZF had taken a major step forward with the opening of its new plant in Gray Court, US in July. In recent years, the company has invested almost a half billion euros in the establishment and expansion of the production location for eight and nine speed automatic transmissions. A large part of the investments totaling more than € 1 billion went to Asia-Pacific in 2013. With the new production location for passenger car axle systems in Beijing and the expansion of passenger car axle assembly in Shenyang, we have also increased our presence in China. Furthermore, passenger car axle systems have also been produced in Malaysia since November – a first for ZF. “In the coming years”.
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“we want to further exploit the market opportunities in these emerging economies in the Asia-Pacific region and successively expand our capacities there.” He said that was why ZF planned to invest more than € 1 billion per year over the next few years. “That is a huge challenge for us, but if we want to be globally successful and supply our customers locally, there is no other way,” the official pointed out.
The growth in sales went hand-in-hand with the creation of new jobs: In 2013, ZF hired some 5,200 new employees worldwide, 2,100 of them in Germany. This is set to continue to a lesser extent next year; Sommer expects more than 2,000 new jobs of which one quarter will be created in Germany. However, sales are anticipated to rise again in 2014 by around ten percent – once more clearly ahead of the industry average.
Dr Sommer further added that the strong growth in North America and Asia-Pacific would also impact on the long-term corporate strategy: “The sales share of North and South America as well as Asia-Pacific will increase from 40 percent today to more than 50 percent in 2025. By this time, company sales should have reached around € 40 billion, he said.  Important cornerstones of the long-term strategy included boosting electronics and lightweight construction expertise, innovation as well as cost leadership, and a globally even more attractive employer brand. ‘We can only meet these objectives with motivated employees,’ Sommer said added: ‘we need them in Friedrichshafen just as much as in Gray Court, Beijing or Singapore’.

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