ZF Friedrichshafen AG Business Report FY ended Dec. 2018

Financial Overview

 (in million EUR)
  FY ended Dec. 31, 2018 FY ended Dec. 31, 2017 Rate of change (%) Factors
Net Sales 36,929 36,444 1.3 1)
Operating Profit 1,381 1,723 (19.8)
Sales by Division
Car Powertrain Technology 7,775 8,725 (10.9) 2)
Car Chassis Technology 7,876 6,484 21.5 3)
Commercial Vehicle Technology 3,720 3,172 17.3 4)
E-Mobility 2,195 924 137.6 5)
Active & Passive Safety Technology 12,121 13,970 (13.2) 6)
ZF Aftermarket 2,975 3,007 (1.1) 7)


Business reorganization

ーThe Corporate Structure was organized in new divisions as of October 1, 2018.
The Active & Passive Safety Technology Division was split into three divisions: Electronics and ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems), Passive Safety Systems and Active Safety Systems. 

ーThe following business units were reallocated as of January 1, 2018: The Axle Drives Business Unit of the Car Powertrain Technology Division was incorporated into the E-Mobility Division. The Wind Power Technology service business, which had previously been part of the Aftermarket Division, is now the responsibility of the Industrial Technology Division. The systems business and the CV Steering Systems Business Unit of the Active & Passive Safety Technology Division were transferred to the Car Chassis Technology Division and the Commercial Vehicle Technology Division, respectively. In addition, the Global Body Control Systems Business Unit was sold as of April 27, 2018. 



1) Net Sales
-The Company’s sales for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018 increased by 1.3% over the previous year to EUR 36,929 million. Organic sales growth amounts to approximately 6% after adjusting for effects from M&A activities and exchange rate effects. 

2) Car Powertrain Technology
-Sales in the Car Powertrain Technology Division for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018 decreased by 10.9% over the previous year to EUR 7,775 million. Taking into account the reclassification of the Axle Drives Business Unit and currency effects, organic growth amounted to approximately 5%. The main driver for this growth was the continued high demand for automatic passenger car transmissions also in the hybrid technology area. 

3) Car Chassis Technology
-The Car Chassis Technology Division had sales of EUR 7,876 million in the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018, an increase of 21.5% over the previous year. The systems business of the Active & Passive Safety Technology Division was allocated to the Car Chassis Technology Division as of January 1, 2018. Taking into account structural and currency effects, the division grew organically by almost 5%. The rise in sales is based on a disproportionately high increase in the Region of AsiaPacific, which was partially offset by the sales development in North America as well as currency effects.

4) Commercial Vehicle Technology
-In the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018, the Company’s Commercial Vehicle Technology Division had sales of EUR 3,720 million, an increase of 17.3% from the previous year. The sales increase is primarily attributable to organic growth of around 12%. Growth drivers mainly were the high demand from European and Chinese customers as well as the continued positive trend in Russia and Brazil. In addition, the Commercial Vehicle Steering Systems Business Unit of the Active & Passive Safety Technology Division was incorporated into the Commercial Vehicle Technology Division. 

5) E-Mobility
-The Company’s E-Mobility Division had sales of EUR 2,195 million in the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018, an increase of 137.6% over the previous year. This sales growth primarily results from the reallocation of the Axle Drives Business Unit and the high demand for hybrid modules, control systems for automatic passenger car transmissions as well as electric axle drives.

6) Active & Passive Safety Technology
-The Active & Passive Safety Technology Division’s sales in the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018 totaled EUR 12,121 million, an decrease of 13.2% over the previous year. Adjusted for the disposal of the Global Body Control Systems Business Unit on April 27, 2018, the spin-off of the systems business and the CV Steering Systems Business Unit as well as currency effects, sales grew organically by approximately 5%. 

7) ZF Aftermarket
-In the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018, ZF Aftermarket Division had sales of EUR 2,975 million, an decrease of 1.1% over the previous year. Adjusted for structural and currency effects, organic growth amounted to approximately 3% in comparison to the previous year. The structural changes referred to the service business of the Wind Power Technolog  Business Unit, which has been part of the Industrial Technology Division since the beginning of the year.

Recent Developments

Taking the shares over 35% of ASAP Holding
-Announced that it is taking over 35 percent of the shares of the engineering services provider ASAP Holding, located in Gaimersheim, Bavaria. ASAP Group, which has over 1,100 employees at 11 locations, offers engineering services with a focus on e-mobility, autonomous driving and connected cars. With this move, ZF is pursuing its strategy of securing additional resources for autonomous driving and e-mobility in order to better meet the ever growing demands from customers in these areas. The partners have agreed not to disclose the value of ZF’s 35 percent stake in ASAP. (From a press release on October 19, 2018)

Outsources the current activities of the transaction service Car eWallet
-Announced that it has founded Car eWallet, a Berlin-based start-up, in which the company will outsource the current activities of the transaction service Car eWallet. The objective is to further develop and market the service following an initial six month collaboration with project partners IBM and UBS, which successfully concluded this spring. The service, for example, enables payments for refueling or re-charging electric cars. The electronic transaction wallet can also be used to pay for tolls, parking fees or car sharing. The first pilot projects of Car eWallet are expected to be launched as early as the second half of 2018. (From a press release on July 5, 2018)

Presented an infrastructure solution 
-Announced that ZF Friedrichshafen AG, the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) and further cooperation partners will present an infrastructure solution that will contribute to optimizing production equipment productivity the Industry 4.0 basic system. The project will be presented using an assembling station demonstrator at the Federal Ministry of Education and Research trade fair booth, which has sponsored the three-year project with funds totaling EUR 12 million. Thanks to BaSys 4.0, production processes can be quickly adapted when introducing a new product so that all purchased items are automatically and promptly made available. The utilization of assistance systems in assembly and networking into production results in tangible advantages for the plant employees. Planning processes can be virtually simulated in 3D and missing functions are automatically identified by the system. (From a press release on June 12, 2018)

Joined the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative as a founding member
-Announced that it has joined the recently established Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI) as a founding member. MOBI is a group of leading automotive and technology organizations seeking to establish a unified blockchain network. A standardized blockchain network for the mobility industry would allow cars, infrastructure and service providers to efficiently communicate and transact directly with each other, supporting digital currency payments from car-to-car, tax authorities, cloud services and more. Blockchain technology, the cryptographic, manipulation-resistant and decentralized transaction of data, provides a safe medium for mobility applications of the future. Until now, there has been no universal standard for this technology. For this reason, ZF has joined other leading organizations in MOBI to establish new interoperability standards for blockchain applications and to build an open multi-sided marketplace that covers all forms of mobility. (From a press release on May 2, 2018)

Joined the eSync Alliance, a multi-vendor initiative
-Announced that it has joined the eSync Alliance, a multi-vendor initiative for Over-the-Air (OTA) update and diagnostic data solutions that could potentially save the automotive industry billions of dollars each year. The eSync Alliance is based around the eSync system, a platform combining both cloud and in-car components. The platform was originally developed by Excelfore to provide secure transactions with electronic end devices installed in vehicles. In addition, the system works as a shield against threats from outside the vehicle. It also provides a two-way communication enabling software and firmware updates over-the-air, and collection of real-time diagnostics and telematics data from end devices in the vehicle. (From a press release on April 26, 2018)

Joined the EU co-funded ENSEMBLE project 
-Informed that it is working together with truck manufacturers as part of the EU co-funded ENSEMBLE project to test programs with the goal of introducing multi-brand platooning on European roads by 2021. ZF’s current portfolio has the technology to enable platooning capabilities, including camera and radar sensors, the ZF ProAI supercomputer, the ReAx electrohydraulic commercial vehicle steering system as well as the transmission system. ZF has tested the feasibility of platooning in several projects. As part of the EU ENSEMBLE project, the company has established the necessary standards to make multi-brand platooning possible. Multi-brand refers to convoys made up of trucks from different manufacturers. (From a press release on September 25, 2018)



The open platform for VDL Bus & Coach
-Announced that Openmatics, a subsidiary of ZF, is the official connectivity platform provider for VDL Bus & Coach. The open platform including API (Application Programming Interface) and SDK (Software Development Kit) functionalities offers excellent networking and function options for the Western European electric bus market leader. Openmatics provides VDL with a full overview on the operational efficiency of all of their vehicles. Furthermore VDL will soon offer a range of “Connected Services” to its customers. Updating component software over the air (OTA) instead of in the workshop could also be an option in the future. (From a press release on September 21, 2018)

AxTrax AVE electric portal axles for 100 New Flyer of America Xcelsior CHARGE buses
-Announced that it is supplying its AxTrax AVE electric portal axles for 100 New Flyer of America Xcelsior CHARGE buses which it is building for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, King County Metro Transit in Seattle, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority in Boston and Metro Transit in Minneapolis by 2020. ZF is also supplying the same AxTrax AVE electric portal axle for 31 of the famous red London double-decker buses built by British manufacturer Optare. Introduced for the first time in 2012, the AxTrax AVE electric portal axle can be used with hybrid, hydrogen fuel cell, or battery electric powertrains. (From a press release on September 17, 2018)

SPR8 (Snake Pretensioner Retractor) seat belt system for the Jeep Wrangler
ZF announced that it is delivering its next generation SPR8 (Snake Pretensioner Retractor) seat belt system to the Jeep Wrangler. The innovative system uses a plastic piston instead of conventional metal components to transfer tensioning torque through the torsion bar to the spool, resulting in a simpler design, more compact packaging and industry leading system weight. This unique technology utilizes lighter weight with plastic material allowing the overall system weight to be reduced by up to more than 20%. (From a press release on January 15, 2018)

Rear axles and transmissions for low-floor buses to the Bureau of Transportation, Tokyo Metropolitan Government
-Announced that its rear axles and transmissions for low-floor buses have been chosen for full-flat buses to be introduced by the Bureau of Transportation, Tokyo Metropolitan Government in 2018. The AV133 low-maintenance rear axle system achieves minimum noise by introducing new bearings and an improved lubrication system. ZF's EcoLife six-speed automatic transmission for large buses was also adopted for buses operated by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. The ZF EcoLife controls shifts with software depending on topography and load on the powertrain. (From an article in the Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun on March 5, 2018)


New Productions

New shock absorbers in India
-Announced the start of its new shock absorber production line in India. The new production line will be part of ZF’s regional headquarters based in Chakan, Pune, with an annual installed manufacturing capacity of 0.7 million units. It plans to increase the capacity to three million units in the coming three to four years. The completely localized production line will manufacture a comprehensive range of shock absorbers for commercial vehicles and industrial applications like trucks, buses and includes cabin and axle shock absorbers. (From a press release on October 29, 2018)

Two new modular automated truck transmissions in Brazil
-Announced that it is readying production of two new modular automated truck transmissions at its facilities in Brazil. The Traxon transmission for heavy vehicles and EcoTronic transmission for medium models and semi trucks are the end results of a BRL 100 million investment cycle started in 2014 and being completed in 2018. Of this total, BRL 33 million was targeted for development, prototypes and testing of the new transmissions, as well as training and plant upgrades for production in ZF’s Sorocaba complex, which is also responsible for the development of global systems and off-road axes dedicated to agricultural machinery segment for all markets in the world. According to Silvio Furtado, ZF Director of Sales for commercial and industrial vehicles, series production of the new transmissions will start at the end of 2018 or beginning of 2019. (From multiple sources on October 9, 2018)

Eight-speed automatic transmissions in Hungary
-Hungarian Investment Promotion Agency informed that German ZF continues to manufacture its eight-speed automatic transmission for leading automotive companies in Eger as well. Built with an investment of almost EUR 100 million, the 40,000 square metre production hall can produce 150,000 transmissions every year. The investment realized in the Eger Industrial Park shall create 770 new jobs by the end of 2019. ZF transmissions are included in Volvo, Renault, Volkswagen, Nissan and MAN vehicles, among others. This new site amounts to the expansion of the global manufacturing network of ZF since its automatic eight-speed automatic transmission to be incorporated in cars are one of their most successful products. (From HIPA press release on September 6, 2018)



-In April 2018, ZF Friedrichshafen AG won a supplier quality improvement award from Geely Automobile for the excellent quality of its steering systems. ZF has been developing steering systems jointly with Geely since 2010 as a strategic partner of the automotive manufacturer. Its electric power steering (EPS) with column drive and mechanical steering (MSG) are mounted on the Emgrand EC7, the Vision S1 series models, the Emgrand GL, and the Emgrand GS series models. (From some releases on April 20, 2018)



-The Company expects that its sales for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2019 will be between EUR 37 billion and EUR 38 billion. 

R&D Expenditure

(in million EUR)
  FY ended Dec. 31, 2018 FY ended Dec. 31, 2017 FY ended Dec. 31, 2016
Total 2,158 (2,470*) 2,230 1,948

*From January 1, 2018, the Company applied IFRS 15 for reporting its financial results. Excluding the effect of IFRS 15, research and development costs were  EUR 2,470 million in the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018.

-The Company aims to invest more than 6% of its sales in research and development annually.


R&D Structure

-As of December 31, 2018, the Company has 17,100 employees working in research and development and 19 main development facilities worldwide.


R&D Activities

-Announced at IAA 2018 that it intends to invest more than EUR 12 billion in the areas of e-mobility and autonomous driving in the next five years. With the headline“Smart Logistics” at IAA, the company has bundled its technologies and - through automation, networking and electrification - has created attractive solutions for the complete logistics chain. ZF’s Innovation Van has demonstrated how intelligent networking, autonomous driving and an all-electric drive support parcel delivery services in meeting the requirements of the future especially the rising delivery volumes and the demand for individual delivery. ZF is also accelerating the electrification of the drive in other commercial vehicle segments. It has received a volume-production order for its new CeTrax electric central drive which is suitable for both buses and trucks, for deployment in shunting vehicles. The electric axle drive system for light commercial vehicles will go into volume production in mid-2019. (From a press release on September 19, 2018)

-Announced that it will increase their research and development spending again and work even faster to produce technologies for the future of mobility. In 2017, ZF spent EUR 2.2 billion on research and development, an increase of almost 15 percent compared to 2016. This year, significantly more than two billion is set to be channeled into development work around the world, with the aim of advancing electric drives and the hybridization of transmission technology as well as vehicle safety systems and automated driving. This means that the share of the budget allocated to R&D will be raised from 6.1 percent to around 6.5 percent this year. Equally, ZF wishes to continue investing in property, plant and equipment (2017: EUR 1.4 billion). Two new plants for the production of electric drive components are planned, among other things. (From a press release on March 22, 2018)



-In 2018, the Company filed 2,206 patents, which included 1,350 first filings.


Technological Alliance

-The Company announced it will partner with Mobileye to launch the S-Cam4 family of advanced cameras in 2018. The partnership will provide this technology to a major automotive OEM, representing the largest automotive camera contract in ZF’s history. The ZF S-Cam4 camera family includes a single lens, mono-camera designed to help meet updated test protocols such as EuroNCAP pedestrian triggered automatic emergency braking (AEB) including a crossing bicycle AEB test. The innovative camera family also includes a premium three lens TriCam4 version to support ADAS and advanced automated driving functions, adding a telephoto lens for improved long-distance sensing capabilities and a fish-eye lens for improved short-range sensing with a wider field of view. (From a press release on June 22, 2018)

Microsoft Corporation
-The Company announced that it has jointly developed a cloud-based platform for innovative mobility services with Microsoft Corporation. This cloud solution intended for new mobility concepts will make it possible to integrate different functions and services into one shared platform. This unified platform was developed based on the Microsoft Azure cloud computing service and is specifically designed for connection with mobility-related services. It can be used to manage vehicle fleets as well as wind farms or even micromobility solutions such as e-bike fleets and related charging stations. Operators can remotely track the location and status of their vehicles in real time. In addition, the cloud solution offers analysis tools such as predictive maintenance. (From an article in the Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun on February 2, 2018)

-Announced that the company and volume manufacturer Chery has agreed on collaboration for level 3 autonomous driving in China. ZF is proactive in establishing collaboration with automotive OEMs in China such as Chery by providing the supercomputer ZF ProAI. ZF's artificial intelligence (AI) controller enables automated driving functions up to level 3 for this collaboration. ZF and its cooperation partners, the AI computing Company Nvidia, as well as the Chinese technology company Baidu, are working together on autonomous driving. For the first time, deep learning algorithms enabled by the supercomputing power of the ZF ProAI will be available in affordable cars. (From a press release on January 16, 2018)


Product Developments

New solutions for airbags at the ‘Airbag 2018’ symposium
-Informed that it will present the current state of development as well as new solutions for airbags at the ‘Airbag 2018’ symposium. Designed to be deployed externally from the side of the vehicle, pre-crash external side airbag helps serve as an additional crumple zone in the event of an accident. Adaptive ‘dual contour’ airbags have been developed for recline and turning of seats for future vehicles. These airbags are designed to adapt to the occupant position and the new degree of freedom in the passenger compartment that automated driving has created. To help lower the risk of collision between front seat occupants or with interior structural components during cases such as far side impact, ZF’s development of a far-side airbag is well advanced. It unfolds in the vehicle’s center and is designed to help meet future regulatory testing. ZF is also addressing other automotive megatrends with the lightest knee airbag in the automotive industry. Featuring a housing made of fabric instead of metal, ZF’s new development weighs up to 30 percent less than conventional knee airbags. Volume production will begin in 2019. (From a press release on November 26, 2018)

A three-dimensional Interior Observation System (IOS)
-Announced that it is developing a three-dimensional Interior Observation System (IOS) capable of detecting and classifying vehicle occupants, determining their size, location and position. It provides real-time inputs for advanced safety systems and automated driving vehicles, such as determining if the driver is able to retake control quickly in an emergency. The IOS system is expected to be production ready by late 2021. The IOS system can be calibrated to determine the presence of a child and activate emergency actions such as an automatic call to the vehicle. (From a press release on October 16, 2018)

Safety systems portfolio in India
-Announced that it has significantly widened its safety systems portfolio in India and has expanded its manufacturing capabilities in the country to cater to the rising needs of its customers. ZF estimated that it is uniquely positioned to support its customers’ new safety requirements that will be introduced soon in India. ZF has localized a number of key safety technologies in the Indian market including seat belt and airbag systems (through its JV partner Rane TRW Steering Systems), as well as advanced braking systems including its Electric Park Brake (EPB) and Anti-lock Braking (ABS) technology with JV partner Brakes India. (From a press release on September 28, 2018)

Next generation active control retractor the ACR8
-Announced that it is beginning volume production of its next generation active control retractor the ACR8. ACR8 combines active and passive vehicle safety, and is designed to tighten the seat belt in critical situations in advance of a potential impact. It can be triggered by information from on-board active safety and driver assist systems and can work in conjunction with systems such as autonomous emergency braking (AEB) or evasive steering assist (ESA). The system helps to keep the occupant in a better position while working in conjunction with other occupant restraints such as airbags during a crash. (From a press release on September 25, 2018)

A radar-based turn assist system to monitor the entire right vehicle side
-Presented solutions at IAA that can help make trucks safer in inner-city trafficusing a radar-based turn assist system to monitor the entire right vehicle side. The system tackles the challenge of blind spots presented by current mirror configurations. The driver is given a warning as soon as other road users approach the blind spot or collision zone. In the near future, ZF will add a turn assist system to its portfolio. The system is based on two radar sensors, which are mounted on the lower right side of the truck. To help prevent collisions during turning even more efficiently, ZF is developing its turn assist function into an active system. The side vision assist system can not only warn drivers, but can also intervene and initiate emergency braking or avoidance maneuvers if necessary. To accomplish this, the side vision assist system uses several cameras in addition to radar sensors to recognize movements and identify pedestrians and cyclists. (From a press release on September 13, 2018)

e.GO Mover
-Informed that the e.GO Mover is part of an entire digital logistics offering including hardware, software and services, highlighting the company’s strategic orientation. e.GO Mobile AG series production will begin in Aachen in 2019. Five-digit volumes are initially scheduled for annual production and ZF is expecting that the demand for these vehicles will reach approximately one million in the next five to seven years. The company is equipping the e.Go Mover with electric drive systems, steering systems and brakes as well as ZF’s ProAI central computer (using artificial intelligence) and sensors which enable automated driving functions. (From a press release on June 26, 2018)

The TraXon modular transmission system, a new digital solution to its commercial vehicle portfolio
-Informed that it has added a new digital solution to its commercial vehicle portfolio. The TraXon modular transmission system, successfully used by truck manufacturers worldwide, will be equipped with an optional predictive maintenance function starting in 2019. With the new function, ZF is preparing its successful modular transmission TraXon for the digital future in the commercial vehicle industry. Starting in 2019, vehicle manufacturers and fleet operators can use the Cloud solution to proactively plan vehicle maintenance. ZF uses transmission modules that are already pre-installed in the vehicle and transfer information about the transmission's condition to the vehicle OEM's Cloud. The OEM data platform is also connected to the ZF Cloud. The latter has the ability to take the primary data it has received and compile reports on the condition of the transmission components. (From a press release on June 26, 2018)

AVE 130 electric portal axle and the new CeTrax electric central drive
-Announced that system solutions from ZF simplify the transition to electric-powered city buses. The company is offering its proven AVE 130 electric portal axle and the new CeTrax electric central drive for city buses. The AVE 130 can be combined with most conventional power source, including batteries, supercaps, fuel cells or even overhead lines. It is also very suitable for serial hybrid and plug-in versions. CeTrax is built on a plug-and-drive approach, so it can be integrated into existing vehicle platforms without having to make major changes to the chassis, axles, statics or differential. The TraXon Hybrid, equipped with an electric motor positioned between the combustion engine and the transmission, allows hybrid functions in heavy commercial vehicles. One feature particularly attractive for many applications is that in generator mode, the hybrid module can also supply power to other units, such as during refrigerated transports. (From a press release on June 21, 2018)

eAMT (electrified Automated Manual Transmission) technology
-Informed that with eAMT (electrified Automated Manual Transmission) technology, ZF has developed an innovative concept for the hybridization of front-transverse vehicles by integrating its electric axle drive system (eVD) and an automated manual transmission (AMT) into one system. The transmission actuator and the electric rear axle operate together with intelligent interaction: This results in the eAMT concept no longer experiencing tractive force interruption. The electric motor bridges the gap in accelerative force of the AMT due to its design. In addition to the hybrid functions of electric drive, recuperation and boost, eAMT also features electric all-wheel drive. ZF software regulates the networking and coordination of the internal combustion engine, electric motor and automated transmission. With eAMT, manufacturers can freely select the functional scope of future plug-in hybrids and determine how powerful their electrical motors are to be. (From a press release on June 18, 2018)

New fully active chassis system, sMOTION
-Informed that its new fully active chassis system, sMOTION, reduces inconvenient car body movements caused by potholes, bumps or curves. The special feature of the sMOTION system is a very compact, external electric-motor pump unit with integrated electronics. Networked with environmental sensors such as cameras, the sMOTION system can even detect road conditions in advance, such as potholes, and prepare the actuators (predictive control): When traveling over the detected road depression. With ZF's cubiX system, sMOTION can operate in conjunction with ZF's electric power steering, integrated brake control (IBC), rear axle steering (AKC) and the electric axle drive system (eVD). (From a press release on June 15, 2018)

Knee airbag modules
-Announced that it developed fabric housing knee airbag modules that are the lightest in the automotive industry. ZF will launch an industry-first fabric housing knee airbag in 2019 for a major European vehicle manufacturer. The new airbag, which utilizes a fabric housing, will be up to 30 percent lighter than a traditional metal housing knee airbag. (From a press release on March 15, 2018)


Product Developing with Faurecia
-Faurecia announced that it will demonstrate its technology leadership for smart life on board and sustainable mobility at CES Las Vegas. For seat structures, it will showcase new front and rear seat structures and kinematics with specific safety features developed with ZF to optimize individual comfort and safety in all seat positions and orientations of an autonomous car. (From a press release on November 22, 2018)

- Faurecia and ZF have developed an all-new frame concept for front and rear seats called the Advanced Versatile Structure (AVS), which provides passengers a safety cocoon in all front and rear seat positions. From a press release on October 3, 2018)

-ZF informed that ZF & Faurecia created a visionary operating and display concept  for fully automated vehicles (level 4) without a steering wheel and pedals. The screen-based display and operating concept offers high flexibility and simplifies work while driving. Even when driving manually, the concept allows drivers to decide between the left and right front seat thanks to a control lever in the center console. If the driver decides to drive manually, he or she could do this using the integrated control lever in the Trendsetting Cockpit. This makes it possible to accelerate, brake and change direction with just one finger. The secondary driving functions in the Trendsetting Cockpit display unit such as turn indicators, horn and windshield wipers can also be activated from either side of the vehicle via a centrally positioned touchscreen. The traditional operating and design elements are no longer there. Instead, ZF & Faurecia have integrated two additional screens into the left and right of the dashboard. (From a press release on June 26, 2018)


Product Developing with Baidu
-ZF announced that the company and Baidu are presenting a new system ahead of CES 2018 which can enable autonomous valet parking without a driver. This is the first product resulting from the strategic cooperation between the two companies and is based on ZF's ProAI, a supercomputer with artificial intelligence capabilities jointly developed by ZF and NVIDIA. Electric vehicles from the car-sharing company Pand Auto are now demonstrating the functionality in a series of test drives. (From a press release on January 5, 2018)


Capital Expenditure

 (in million EUR)
  FY ended Dec. 31, 2018 FY ended Dec. 31, 2017 FY ended Dec. 31, 2016
Total 1,586 1,350 1,185

-In the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018,52.6% was spent on payments in advance and construction in progress, 32.4% was spent on technical equipment and machines, 10.7% on other equipment, factory and office equipment, and 4.3% on land and buildings.

-The Company’s capital expenditure went into transmission applications (including hybridization), electric traction drives, electronics, chassis systems, damper modules, brakes and steering systems as well as occupant safety. In addition, capital was spent on the construction or the expansion of production and development buildings in existing locations (e.g. Eger (Hungary), Levice (Slovakia) and Klasterec (Czech Republic)) as well as in new locations (e.g. Pancevo (Serbia)).


-The Company informed that its Friedrichshafen location is ready for new challenges. In September 2016, ZF concluded a comprehensive agreement with employee representatives on securing Friedrichshafen as a location. Among others, it stipulates that EUR 600 million be invested in the company headquarters as well as further developing its production and research and development facilities by the end of 2022. Roughly one-third of the agreed EUR 600 million investments promised for the location has already been spent. Investment projects include the construction of the model factory for automated logistics processes, the TraXon hybrid assembly facility, Industry 4.0 applications and the supplier network. The construction of the production hall for the Powerline transmission for use in light commercial vehicles and the industrialization of the electric commercial vehicle central drive CeTrax will be focal points of investment in the next few years. The newest addition is the test center for transmission systems in which ZF invested roughly EUR 70 million and which will go into operation in just a few weeks. (From a press release on December 14, 2018)

-The Company informed that over the next four years, a total of EUR 800 million will be invested in Saarbrucken in production plants and systems, infrastructure, and its supplier network. With this investment, the location will be made fit for the transition from conventional to electric car drives. ZF has launched a number of activities in Saarbrucken that are intended to significantly increase the plant’s international competitiveness. These include, for example, a whole series of IoT projects. At the same time, these initiatives use artificial intelligence (AI) to provide quick and valuable decision-making aids for employees and thus increase efficiency. ZF’s order books show that the hybrid technology is in great demand. ZF is responding to this boom in demand with an investment program worth more than EUR 3 billion for the further development and sustainability of these products. (From a press release on December 7, 2018)

-ZF Steering Gears (India) announced that with a view to establishing a second manufacturing unit for auto components, the company has acquired a lease on an industrial plot in Pithampur, District Dhar, Madhya Pradesh. The factory building is under construction and orders for key machineries are being issued. The plant is expected to become operational by the end of the current fiscal year. This will add to the manufacturing capacity of the Company by 300,000 units and bring the company in closer proximity with some of its major customers. Total investment in the Pithampur Plant is expected to be INR 1,800 million. (From ZF India annual report FY 2017-18)

-On March 27, 2018, ZF TRW Automotive Holdings Corp. laid the cornerstone of its electric power steering system plant to commemorate the start of the second-phase construction. The total investment is USD 90 million. The company has raised USD 30 million from foreign investors and acquired a new site of 66,667 square meters for the plant construction. The construction work began in May 2018, and the official production launch is scheduled in 2019. The new plant is expected to generate sales of USD 600 million a year when operating at full capacity. (From some releases on May 14, 2018)

-The Company announced that its E-Mobility Division is expanding its production capacity for electromobility products by building a new facility in the Serbian city of Pancevo. The company is investing more than EUR 100 million in the project. Construction for the new ZF plant in Pancevo, located 14 kilometers northeast of the Serbian capital, Belgrade, is scheduled to start in June 2018. Starting in 2019, this plant, covering more than 20,000 square meters, will focus on the production of electric motors and generators for hybrid and electric drives as well as transmission selector levers and micro-switches. In the long term, the ZF Pancevo location will have a workforce of 1,000. (From a press release on April 11, 2018)

-The Group inaugurated a new USD 17 million airbag production facility in Gomez Palacio, Mexico, employing approximately 1,200 workers. With the new site, ZF Group now operates 12 manufacturing facilities in Mexico that build automotive components ranging from sensors and seatbelts to powertrain control modules, brakes, steering and chassis parts, as well as fully integrated suspensions. (From a Mexico-Now article on March 7, 2018)

-The Company announced that it will expand its manufacturing footprint to Eastern Europe to meet increasing European demand while supporting ZF's goal of Vision Zero through the production of advanced safety electronics. Located in Czestochowa, Poland, the new 10,000 square-meter plant will support all active and passive safety product lines including advanced camera generations for active safety and occupant safety electronics such as airbag control units. The new facility will be operational by end of 2019 and will employ more than 300 people when at capacity. (From a press release on January 8, 2018)