Schaeffler eyes automotive expanse as it focuses on new ventures

27 April 2017

27 April 2017

Automotive parts supplier Schaeffler has said sales at its vehicle components division continue to outpace global car markets in growth at its recent annual general meeting. However, the company foresees difficulty in sustaining its strong margins due to heightening competition, high R&D costs and rising steel prices. 

Schaeffler is counting on new business opportunities from the rise in demand of electric cars and increasing connectivity to increase sales by as much as 6% per year up to 2020, compared with a 3.4% increase in 2016. To embrace these opportunities, the company is streamlining its core business, selling its automotive cylinder head manufacturing plant to Weber Group for an undisclosed amount in December 2016. 

At the time of the sale, Klaus Rosenfeld, CEO of Schaeffler AG, said: ′We have decided as part of our ′Mobility for tomorrow’ strategy to concentrate on selected core competencies and future fields of development. The sale of Schaeffler Motorenelemente is a further step in this direction. It will allow us to free up resources that we can then invest in future fields of development that are important for us.’ 

During Auto Shanghai 2017 Schaeffler presented a number of components for electric and hybrid vehicles and announced it is to make further investments in such technology for the Chinese market. It was also recently announced that Continental, which Schaeffler has a 46% stake in, will move to focus on electric powertrain technology, spending an additional €300 million on its electric vehicle business alone by 2021. This step, along with other plans, are part of the company’s global ′Powertrain Strategy 2020+’  

Announcing the news, Dr. Elmar Degenhart, CEO of Continental commented: ′Cars of the future will feature electric drives, which will be fully connected and automated. In 2025, we expect a market share for pure electric drive systems of around 10%, and for hybrid drive systems of probably almost 30%.’ 

Photograph courtesy of Schaeffler