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April 9, 2019

ZF boosts China presence

ZF says it is stepping up its activities in China, with several additional plants and extension of its development capacities.

By Rhodri Morgan

ZF says it is stepping up its activities in China, with several additional plants and extension of its development capacities.

The Group has had its own production sites in China since 1994 – currently there are 32. ZF is now expanding this presence in order to enable development and manufacture of the complete product portfolio to support the local market.

“Our strategy for the Chinese automotive market is called ‘local for local’,” said ZF board member, Holger Klein, responsible for the Asia-Pacific region.

“Almost all of our customers will expand their business in China in the coming years. We will support them in this by offering our entire portfolio locally – from development services to local just-in-sequence delivery.

“We will increase our degree of localisation in China up to 100% in the coming years. With our innovations and high-tech products, we will have an even stronger presence in the future.”

ZF will produce its 8-speed 8HP automatic transmission at the Shanghai plant, where automatic transmissions have been produced since 2004. With immediate effect, ZF will supply local customers with its product for passenger cars.

A variant of 8HP for plug-in hybrid drives can also be produced there, while in the future, the German supplier added it would strive to produce purely electric drives in China; production facilities for this are currently under way.

To meet local production demand for passenger car electric power steering systems in China, ZF is building a new steering plant in Zhanjiagang – the largest of it’s 32 plants in China, to date.

ZF will also serve the commercial vehicle market more locally from China: A joint venture with commercial vehicle manufacturer Foton will start production of the TraXon automatic and hybrid commercial vehicle transmission in a few weeks. To support this, a joint production plant has been built south of Shanghai 

Since 2018, Klein, with responsibility for the Asia-Pacific market, has been directing business in the region from ZF’s China headquarters in Shanghai.

Continued growth will also lead to an expansion of development capacities. ZF plans to hire 1,000 additional engineers for two development centres in the Shanghai area, which are integrated within ZF’s global research and development network. This will allow innovations to find their way to the Chinese market faster.

“With its offerings in the four strategic areas of competence: e-mobility, autonomous driving, integrated safety, and vehicle motion control, ZF continues to be an attractive technology partner for both Chinese and international automobile manufacturers with a presence in China,” noted a ZF statement. 

“ZF is also a partner for ‘New Automotive Customers’, such as mobility service providers, who will rely on autonomous driving functions for their logistics and transport services.”

The number of ZF employees, currently around 15,000, will grow significantly in the coming months.

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