GERMANY: ZF says strong euro and weak economy will hold back sales growth
ZF Friedrichshafen AG has expressed satisfaction with the results the company achieved in 2003. However, the company warned that results are clouded by an 'ongoing drop in demand in many consumer areas along with the strong euro'. ZF maintained that - at best - sales this year will only be slightly higher than those in 2002, which totalled euro 9.2 billion.
ZF CEO, Dr. Siegfried Goll, said: "Given the overall economic situation, the increase in our international volume of business has been promising. Unfortunately, this has not resulted in a significant rise in sales, primarily due to fluctuating exchange rates."
Growth this year was fuelled primarily by sales of steering technology and car driveline and chassis components. Despite the ongoing high demand for products from the Car Chassis Technology division, the weak US dollar -- and above all the high share of chassis system sales in North America -- has held back sales growth.
No major improvements are expected for the remainder of 2003. But ZF is optimistic about the coming year. The company predicts a worldwide recovery in 2004 for the production of cars (+ 2 percent) and light commercial vehicles (+ 4 percent).