Conti appoints new China head
As of 1 August 2013, Continental’s Chinese activities will be overseen by Executive Board member Dr. Ralf Cramer. The incumbent head of the company’s Chassis & Safety division will take up the Shanghai-based position in order to “strengthen” Continental’s organisation for “sustained fast and profitable growth in China.” His successor within the Chassis & Safety division will be appointed at a later date.
“It is our strategic goal to increase the share of corporate sales on the Asian market from 18 per cent at present to more than 30 per cent over time,” explained Continental CEO Dr. Elmar Degenhart. “Here, our growth engine is China, which today is already the largest manufacturer and market for automobiles. By 2020, China will be the world’s largest market for premium automobiles. Nowhere in the world will the demand for individual mobility and industrial goods be growing stronger than there. This is why Ralf Cramer will focus his full attention on our challenges in this market. In doing so, we want to strengthen our local organisation and position ourselves to benefit from fast, profitable und lasting growth in this important market.”
“I am looking forward to the challenge of helping to shape the future of one of the most important growth markets for individual mobility,” added Ralf Cramer. “We see great opportunities for our full range of products and services in China in particular. The booming demand for safe, eco-friendly and comfortable mobility is driving innovative development of products tailored to the local market and the local culture. The share of applications developed locally will thus increase significantly in the years ahead. Over time, more than eight out of ten of our new applications are expected to be developed locally.
“An essential factor for success is close customer relations. For some time now, this has prompted us to gear our organisation in China in this direction, and we shall continue to work on this,” added Cramer, who in his new role will build on many years of experience with Asian cultures.
All Conti divisions growing in China
Within China, the number of automotive manufacturing plants is expected to increase from 120 today to 142 by 2015. Chinese vehicle manufacturers are behind half of these plants. Unlike South Korea and Japan, the market breakdown among manufacturers is very fragmented, with the two largest manufacturers controlling 20 per cent of the market.
In 2012, Continental generated sales of some €6 billion in Asia. Sales in China amounted to almost €2.7 billion. For years the company has been recording growth rates in China twice as high as for the market as a whole. Continental reports experiencing sustained growth in China, with its three Automotive Group divisions – Chassis & Safety, Powertrain and Interior – contributing to that growth. With the start of ABS production in 1994, Continental was one of the first global suppliers present there. Currently, main sales drivers are solutions and systems for the key topics of active and passive safety, energy-efficient drives and information management. These include, for example, technologies for hybrid drives, e-mobility and connectivity as well as sensors, brake systems, transmission electronics, diesel-injection systems, safety telematics and instrument clusters.
For roughly two years now, Continental’s Tires division has operated a tyre plant in Hefei with an annual capacity of four million passenger car and light commercial vehicle (less than six tons) tyres. ContiTech has been in China for more than 30 years with its solutions for a broad range of applications in the automotive sector as well as in the mining industries and other industrial branches.