On January 30, 2015, the Bosch
Group completed the acquisition of ZF Friedrichshafen AG’s 50 pc share in the
joint venture ZF Lenksysteme GmbH (ZFLS). The antitrust authorities have
approved the acquisition. This means that Bosch now owns all shares in the
formerly 50:50 joint venture. It will be incorporated into the Bosch Group as a
new division with the name Robert Bosch Automotive Steering GmbH. A vote was
held among ZFLS associates to determine the new name.
This was stated in a press
release issued by Bosch.
ZFLS employs more than 13,000
associates in eight countries. The company develops, manufactures, and sells
steering systems for passenger cars and commercial vehicles worldwide. In 2013,
it registered sales of around 4.1 billion euros. With a total of 20 locations
in places such as Europe, the U.S., China, India, Brazil, and Malaysia, the
company is active in the world’s most important automotive markets.
ZFLS is a leading manufacturer
of modern, fuel-saving electric steering systems, with which it currently
generates around 60 pc of its sales. Alongside its potential to save up to 0.8
liters of fuel per 100 km, electric steering is the basic technology required
to realise a number of assistance systems in cars as well as automated driving.
For example, electric steering systems are one of the prerequisites for
automatic evasive steering support in critical situations, the lane-keeping
assistant, and the start-stop coasting function in which the engine shuts off
while coasting. ZFLS also offers suitable, systems-capable electric steering
systems for the growing electric vehicle market.
Electric steering is also
increasingly being used in commercial vehicles. At the 2014 IAA Commercial
Vehicles in Hannover, ZFLS presented the new commercial-vehicle steering system
Servotwin, which marks the first step into the electrification of commercial
vehicle steering. This hydraulic-electric steering for commercial vehicles
paves the way for the introduction of driver assistance systems in the
commercial segment as well.
Bosch’s customers will benefit
from the increased range of products on offer, which now includes steering
systems. A main focus of ZFLS’s R&D activities is the networking of
components into software-controlled complete systems. For example, the company
brought a solution to series production which allows a car hooked up to a
trailer to be maneuvered from outside the vehicle with a smartphone. Thanks to
the development of the Servotwin electro-hydraulic commercial-vehicle steering
system, this principle also now works in trucks with well over 40 metric tons
of load volume. The corresponding prototype was presented at the 2014 IAA.
A compact, locally-engineered,
and especially cost-effective electric power steering system for Asian markets
shows that the company not only offers solutions for the premium segment. This
means that even customers who drive more affordable compact cars can benefit
from the increased efficiency offered by these products.
In total, around 1,400 of the
new division’s associates, or more than one in ten, work in development. In
2013, the company spent roughly 238 million euros on research and development.
Since its establishment some 15 years ago, the company has filed around 750
Mobility Solutions is the
largest Bosch Group business sector. According to preliminary figures, its 2014
sales came to 33.3 billion euros, or 68 percent of total group sales. This
makes the Bosch Group one of the leading automotive suppliers. Mobility
Solutions largely operates in the following areas: injection technology for
internal-combustion engines, alternative powertrain concepts, efficient and
networked powertrain peripherals, systems for active and passive driving
safety, assistance and comfort functions, technology for user-friendly
infotainment as well as car-to-car and Car2X communication, and concepts,
technology, and service for the automotive aftermarket. Bosch has been
responsible for important automotive innovations, such as electronic engine
management, the ESP anti-skid system, and common-rail diesel technology.
The Bosch Group is a leading
global supplier of technology and services. According to preliminary figures,
its roughly 290,000 associates generated sales of 48.9 billion euros in 2014.
Its operations are divided into four business sectors: Mobility Solutions,
Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology. The
Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its more than 360 subsidiaries and
regional companies in some 50 countries. If its sales and service partners are
included, then Bosch is represented in roughly 150 countries. This worldwide
development, manufacturing, and sales network is the foundation for further
growth. In 2014, Bosch applied for some 4,600 patents worldwide. The Bosch
Group’s strategic goal is to deliver innovations for connected life. Bosch
improves quality of life worldwide with products and services that are
innovative and spark enthusiasm. In short, Bosch creates technology that is
“Invented for life.”