Zonar acquisition broadens Continental’s fleet management horizons

In addition to its acquisition of Hoosier Racing Tire, Continental AG reports it has taken an approximately 81 per cent shareholding in US fleet management solutions provider Zonar Systems Inc. Upon announcing the share purchase, Continental noted that its involvement in Zonar has the potential to “chart the course of the future of smart fleet management” around the world.

The contract was signed on 23 September and has obtained the necessary shareholder approval, but remains subject to final approval from the US Federal Trade Commission and US Department of Justice. Daimler Trucks North America LLC retains an almost 19 per cent stake in Zonar Systems. The amount Continental paid for its shareholding has not been disclosed.

Zonar Systems, headquartered in Seattle, USA, employs a staff of over 300. Zonar is a technology solution provider that offers a range of smart fleet management offerings to public and private commercial vehicle fleets in North America. Continental believes its investment in Zonar will enable the two enterprises to combine their complementary strengths in order to become a major supplier in the sector; the German tyre and automotive systems manufacturer foresees a further expansion of both companies’ portfolios, resulting in the market release of additional smart fleet solutions.

“With this move, we are further expanding our portfolio and expertise in the arena of mobility services, and fostering our regional balance by investing into a fleet management provider in the US that gives us access to a broad customer base and existing sales channels,” says Helmut Matschi, president of Continental’s Interior division.

“It is exciting to move into a new chapter in Zonar history with the backing of a respected global brand that recognises our need to serve our markets as a nimble, innovative, customer-focused company as we have for the past 15 years,” adds Ian McKerlich, president of Zonar. “Customers will receive the same productive partnership and innovation they have come to expect with Zonar, as well as expanded technological resources and capabilities from Continental.”

Established in 2001, Zonar pioneered smart fleet telematics with patented and award-winning operations technology across all commercial transportation markets: commercial trucking, vocational and passenger fleets. The complete suite of solutions drives safety, efficiency and fuel savings – from drivers to dispatch to administrative operations. Notable patents include the only Electronic Verified Inspection Reporting system available today, which ensures pre- and post-trip inspection compliance. The company’s tablet technology is AOBRD (Automatic On Board Recording Device) self-certified and ELD (Electronic Logging Devices) ready. Zonar is also the exclusive OEM partner for Daimler Trucks North America’s Virtual Technician solution, which is installed on more than 200,000 Daimler trucks.

“Through the integration of new smart technology solutions, we can enhance our existing fleet management services. In addition, with regard to remote diagnostics for commercial vehicles, we can broaden our existing Continental diagnostics capabilities through new backend services,” says Dr Michael Ruf, head of the Commercial Vehicle & Aftermarket business unit at Continental, where the acquisition will be integrated.

Daimler Trucks North America has confirmed its ongoing commitment to Zonar Systems. “Continental’s investment in Zonar presents a great opportunity to bring the best in both hardware and software solutions to the industry,” shares Martin Daum, the vehicle manufacturer’s president and chief executive officer. “Daimler Trucks North America will continue its partnership with Zonar building upon the success we have enjoyed over the last five years and Zonar will continue to be an integral part of our connectivity solutions.”

When the process is complete, Continental will further expand its already existing product, solution and service portfolio in the area of mobility services for fleet management of commercial vehicles and aftermarket.

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