Knorr-Bremse AG Business report FY2009

Business Highlights

Financial Overview

(In million euros) FY2009 FY2008 Rate of change Factors
Sales 2,761 3,384 (18.4%) Please refer to the notes below.
Net Income 99 192 (48.4%)
Sales result for Commercial Vehicle Systems 1,222 1,975 (38.1%)



In fiscal 2009 the Company posted sales of EUR 2.76 billion (2008: EUR 3.38 billion).
For the Commercial Vehicle Systems division the global financial and economic crisis in 2009 brought a drastic fall in the output of commercial vehicles and saw sales decline to EUR 1.22 billion (2008: EUR 1.97billion).


The Commercial Vehicle Systems division in Europe was hard hit by the frequently reported dramatic 65% year-on-year slump in the OEM market.
The key sales driver in Europe in 2009 was once again the disc brake, where a quarterly comparison reveals that unit sales were at their highest in the first quarter. One special success story concerns the joint venture concluded with the Russian commercial vehicle manufacturer KAMAZ in 2007. Initially, the joint venture is producing drum brakes for all KAMAZ model series. In September 2009, just 15 months after the start of production, the 100,000th drum brake came off the production line. In the year under review, further measures designed to increase the local content at the joint venture were initiated and are scheduled for completion 2010. In addition, to safeguard the growth of the joint venture company, the product portfolio is being progressively expanded. 2009 saw the conclusion of framework agreements with customers in Europe to the value of over EUR 650 million. This not only secured the current volume of deliveries for the next few years but also added new products to the scope of supply.

North America

The negative trend in truck output in North America began in 2006 and has continued unbroken ever since. In 2009, production sank by 37% against the prior year. Despite this weak market environment, the Company in North America was able to win important orders in the areas of drum brakes, compressors and vibration dampers. In addition, the year under review brought expansion of the assembly of complete driver's cabs for commercial vehicles built by the Autocar company, with assembly operations taking place in new facilities. Another success story involved the launch of new Bendix Wingman ACB. This Active Cruise with Braking system is so far being installed in Mack and Volvo trucks. The North American commercial vehicle sector is also showing increasing interest in innovative products such as air disc brakes, which are already well established in Europe, and the Pneumatic Booster System (PBS), which helps improve performance and save fuel.

South America

Following record production of some 163,000 trucks in 2008, around 29% fewer trucks were built in 2009. Despite the decline in production volumes, the downturn proved less substantial than in North America and Europe. As the most important South American commercial vehicle market, Brazil helped sustain demand and showed a marked recovery from October onward. At its Sao Paulo site, the Company manufactures the complete braking systems required by its OEM customers in Brazil and other Latin American countries, as well as components for the local aftermarket sector.


Asia/Australia was the only region that was able to report a slight increase; 1%, in truck production in 2009 compared to the previous year. This was due to the contribution of China. The total output in the medium and heavy-truck segment reached a new record level of 904,000 units in 2009 in China , 22% up on 2008 although exports of Chinese vehicles showed a marked downturn as a result of the global crisis. The Company has been represented in China by its companies in Dalian and Shanghai. To drive the expansion of activities in China, in 2009 local production of disc brakes and pedal units was taken up at the Dalian plant. The Company also draws upon its successfully established compressor development and production activities in China and resultant local expertise to support its business in other countries, such as Japan and India. The slump in the export segment in China, where the Company is well represented, was fully offset by acquisition of business in the domestic market for commercial vehicles, including buses.
Like China, India too stood up well to the global economic crisis. The commercial vehicle market derived added impetus from state projects that were already up and running in 2009. Knorr-Bremse India registered steady demand for systems and components including lift axles, ABS systems and valves, as well as in the aftermarket sector. To expand its service network, the Company appointed 42 new service centers in 2009.

Geographical topics

(1) Indian Site Becomes Total Solution Supplier
-The Company acquired the remaining shares in Knorr-Bremse Systems for Commercial Vehicles India Private Ltd., the former joint venture with Tata AutoComp Systems Ltd of India in March 2010.

-After three years of production start-up, the Company began to offer series-produced compressors and total solutions to customers in India. During 2008, the Company's development engineers worked closely with OEM customers to bring the compressor to market. Compressor development for the new engine of Ashok Leyland engines, for example, has already been completed and series production for delivery to the truck and engine manufacturer is planned for the end of 2009.

(2)New Plant in Czech Republic
A new plant in Liberec, Czech republic, for the Commercial Vehicle Systems division was constructed in 2009 and will be opened in June 2010. The new building in Liberec has been leased for a period of ten years, with an option to extend the lease for a further 10 years. The 7,800-square meter site offers considerable scope for expansion as the business development.
The Company's plant in Hejnice (Czech Republic) will cease once the move to the plant in Liberec.


- In the summer of 2009, the Company won its first major customer for the Pneumatic Booster System (PBS) and is planning to launch volume production at the end of 2012. On the North American market, the Company signed a technical agreement in 2009 with a customer in North America and assumed that a volume contract would follow. The plan is to launch the product on the North American market in 2013.


R&D Expenditure

  FY2009 FY2008 FY2007 FY2006 FY2005
(In Million Euro) 153 171 159 141 133

Note:The total expenditure on research and development and project planning fell to EUR 1,526 million in absolute terms (2008: EUR 1,713 million). As a proportion of consolidated sales this equated to 5.5% in 2009, which was well ahead of the prior-year level (2008: 5.1%) despite the financial and economic crisis that hit the freight transportation sector particularly hard.

Technological Alliance

MAN and the Company developed a so-called Blind Spot Assistant that helps reduce the risk of accidents when vehicles are turning at urban intersections. The system will become available as an option, initially on MAN heavy trucks, from late 2009/early 2010.

Product developments

Pneumatic Booster System (PBS)
Pneumatic Booster System (PBS) was developed in 2009 to solve the problem of turbo lag in diesel engines and improve performance while at the same time reducing fuel consumption. When the driver of a truck equipped with PBS accelerates, compressed air from the pneumatic braking system is blown into the inlet manifold of the engine through a special membrane valve. This enables the engine to reach maximum torque in less than a second, after which the turbocharger takes over. PBS can improve a vehicle's acceleration by between 20% and 100% delivering the same performance as an engine that is 30% bigger. This means, conversely, that an engine with a smaller cubic capacity, lower weight and lower fuel consumption can be used. Tests have confirmed that even if an engine of the same size is used, fuel savings of up to 3% are possible. Particulate emissions are also reduced by up to 25%.

3VP Pedal Unit
In 2009 the Company completed most of the development work on the 3VP Pedal Unit. The unit uses micro-switches and sensors in an advanced approach to measuring pedal travel and among other things also provides a standardized solution for the brake and clutch pedals for LHD and RHD versions. The high degree of standardization is very efficient as the same components can be used to produce 16 different versions of the pedal unit, reducing costs for both the Company and freight transportation companies. Initial RHD pedal units are expected to be available from the middle of 2010. From 2011 and 2012 they are scheduled for installation by two prominent European OEMs. When ramp-up is complete, the Company expects to be producing approximately 120,000 units a year.

New Tire Pressure and Temperature Monitoring System
The Tire Pressure and Temperature Monitoring System (TPMS), a wireless sensing and driver warning system for state-of-the-art tire monitoring in commercial vehicles, has been available on the North American auto market since fall 2009. TPMS, developed by Bendix subsidiary Smar Tire can also be ordered for trucks manufactured by Volvo and International.

Integration of VORAD Collision Warning System
Integration of the VORAD (Vehicle On-Board-Radar) system into Bendix's development structures continued during 2009. The system uses radar sensors to monitor the distance to the vehicle ahead or to stationary objects and alerts the driver if the gap is closing too fast.

Investment Activities

Capital Expenditures by Division

(Euro in million) FY2009 FY2008 FY2007 FY2006 FY2005
Commercial Vehicle Systems 33.4 64.2 72.3 69.5 62.4
Rail Vehicle Systems 66.6 65.8 67.9 36.8 50.4


Overseas Investment
The company continued to invest in strategic development of its production sites as follows:

Wholly-Owned Subsidiary from Joint Venture in India
The Company acquired the remaining shares in Knorr-Bremse Systems for Commercial Vehicles India Private Ltd., the former joint venture with Tata AutoComp Systems Ltd of India in March 2010.

New Plant in Czech Republic
A new plant in Liberec, Czech Republic, for the Commercial Vehicle Systems division will be opened in June 2010.