Conti Extends Asia Region Components JV
Continental has entered into an agreement to increase its stake in Continental Automotive Corporation (CAC), the Japanese joint venture it operates with Nisshinbo Holdings Inc., from 51 to 60 per cent in 2010. This increase in shareholding will allow Continental's Chassis & Safety Division to integrate its airbag systems and sensorics business.
“With this step, Continental is strengthening its joint venture with Nisshinbo considerably”, said Dr. Ralf Cramer, member of the Continental Executive Board and president of the company’s Chassis & Safety Division. “Chassis & Safety aims at achieving 25 per cent of its sales in Asia with the full range of its product portfolio, from high-end to affordable solutions in hydraulic and electronic brake systems, passive safety and driver assistance systems as well as sensorics and chassis components. The joint venture will aim to provide a wide range of passive and active safety products for our customers in Japan and Asia, from single components to our fully integrated system solution ContiGuard”.
CAC, headquartered in Yokohama City, Japan, was established in 2000 and boasts a workforce of approximately 1,700 and nine manufacturing facilities, research and development centres, test tracks and offices in Japan, Korea and China. The company offers a wide range of safety and chassis components and systems to its Japanese and Asian customers, ranging from hydraulic and electronic brake systems to chassis and surrounding sensors. This expanded joint venture will provide for a broader business scope, which will include products and systems also out of Changchun, China and Cheongwon, Korea.
“Continental is convinced that successful and sustainable growth in Asia and with Asian customers can only be achieved by strengthening the local R&D, sales, and production competence we have in the respective countries”, said Dietmar Siemssen, president and CEO, Continental Automotive Corporation. “In this regard, our decision to improve the product offer and know-how of CAC underlines the strategic importance we attach to our commitment towards our customers, to support them with the complete safety product portfolio and development capabilities in their programs in Asia and worldwide. In this respect, our joint venture with Nisshinbo plays a very important role. For that reason, Continental plans to increase its share to 60 per cent in 2010 with this agreement.”
The growth of the Asian OEMs worldwide is not only expected to increase the demand for standard safety features such as ABS and airbags, Continental also expects an increase in the installation of ESC and other new features in new vehicles, including integrated safety systems such as the compmany’s ContiGuard. With this agreement, Conti believes the CAC joint venture will be well positioned to offer such integrated system solutions. On the other side of the spectrum, Continental believes growing demand for individual mobility in countries like China and India will lead to more demand for best-cost products. To this end, Conti states that driving safety is not an issue to be negotiated, but something to be provided with top quality and at an affordable price according to the requirements of each and every world market.