Automotive batteries played a key role in the fortunes of Varta AG in 2001, helping to boost overall turnover to €1,159 million ($US1.013 million).

Sales of automotive batteries to OE, OES and aftermarket customers increased by 13 per cent to € 590 million to account for more than half of the group’s total turnover.

OE customers include Aston Martin, BMW, Fiat, Ford, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, Peugeot, Vauxhall and Volkswagen.

Varta’s capital expenditure last year rose 35 per cent to a record €70 million. Investment focused on expanding manufacturing capacity and the installation of pilot lines for new products.