Detroit/Friedrichshafen. The technology company ZF presents its range of products and expertise for one of its most important market regions at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS): With figures of $4.9 billion in 2014, the company generated almost one fifth of the forecasted company sales amounting to more than $24 billion in North America. The planned acquisition of TRW Automotive and the upcoming integration of the company are key topics for 2015.
In 2014, ZF sales in North America have risen by about one fifth compared to the previous year (approximately $4.9 billion). This places North America second to Europe in the list of ZF sales according to market regions. "The North American market is extremely important to us and shows a stable growth trend," stated Dr. Stefan Sommer, CEO of ZF Friedrichshafen AG, at the NAIAS. The primary reason is the high demand for energy-efficient automatic passenger car transmissions such as the 8-speed automatic transmission. This transmission, of which a total of about 2.6 million units were produced in 2014, is manufactured for the North American market, inter alia, at ZF's US location Gray Court in South Carolina. In the US, ZF achieved a sales figure of around $4.5 billion in 2014 (2013: $3.8 billion).
According to Sommer North America will continue to be a key growth factor in the next few years: “The planned acquisition of TRW Automotive will offer the enlarged company entirely new perspectives on the US market.” Thanks to the transaction, the share of the US in the overall Group sales will prospectively be more than doubled.
ZF technology makes passenger cars more efficient
At the NAIAS in Detroit, ZF presents its broad technology portfolio including the second generation of the 8HP. The new generation offers comprehensive further developments ranging from lower drag torques and higher spread to an improved torsional vibration absorption. Compared to the already highly energy-efficient first generation of the 8HP, this innovation achieves an additional three percent of fuel savings.
Thanks to a flexible modular construction system, ZF's 8HP is equipped to meet all requirements: This model range covers the broad torque range between 300 and 1,000 newton meters. The basic transmission can be modified depending on vehicle needs and the intended application: The result is one complete transmission generation with different variants ‒ from plug-in-hybrid transmissions to four-wheel drive. Major U.S. manufacturers, such as Chrysler, Jeep, and Dodge, are already using ZF's 8HP in their production vehicle models.
ZF expertise in lightweight construction and e-mobility
In Detroit, ZF is not only presenting the product portfolio to trade show visitors, it is also providing insights into the trendsetting range of expertise of the technology company. Using an innovation prototype, ZF demonstrates the potential of the combination of e-mobility and lightweight construction. In the ZF subcompact car test, lightweight construction chassis components supplement the electric final drive. Thanks to its high-speed concept and integrated power electronics, the electric drive combines high performance with high efficiency, low weight, compact dimensions, and quiet operation. In practice, this increases the range – and the 90 kW electric drive also develops high performance and driving dynamics.
One hundred years of ZF, and more than 35 years in the U.S.
Furthermore, the year 2015 will be an important anniversary year for ZF: One hundred years ago, "Zahnradfabrik GmbH" – and thus the core of today's company – was founded as a company "to produce gears and transmissions for aircraft, motor vehicles and motorboats". Despite an eventful history, ZF seized its entrepreneurial opportunities and developed into a worldwide leading company for driveline and chassis technology. ZF has been active in the North American market for more than 35 years. The company has a total of 21 locations in this Region –15 thereof in the US and six in Mexico – and manufactures products for the automotive industry as well as other sectors. The number of ZF employees in the North America reached almost 8,700 in 2014, with approximately 5,000 employees in the U.S. last year.