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ZF Kicks Off 2014 at the NAIAS

  • Technology company presents electronics and lightweight construction expertise in Detroit
  • North American market is of great significance for ZF sales
  • App-guided tour gives trade show visitors a comprehensive overview of ZF’s highlights

ZF is presenting its range of products and expertise at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) for one of its most important regions. With figures of about $4.2 billion (€3.1 billion), the company generated almost one fifth of the forecasted company sales, amounting to approximately $23 billion (€17 billion), in North America in 2013. One of the product highlights that will support the region’s success in the coming years is the 9-speed automatic transmission (9HP) for vehicles with front-transverse drive. The transmission, which is currently exclusively produced in the U.S. at ZF’s Gray Court, S.C., facility, will also be a highlight at ZF’s NAIAS booth.

ZF sales in North America have dramatically risen in previous years, namely in 2013, to approximately $4.2 billion (€3.1 billion). Consequently, North America is second to Europe in the list of ZF Group sales according to market region. “The North American market is extremely important to us and shows a stable growth,” stated Dr. Stefan Sommer, CEO of ZF Friedrichshafen AG, during a press conference at the NAIAS. The primary reason for this is the high demand for energy-efficient automatic passenger car transmissions. “We have geared our long-term approach to this,” Sommer said, “for instance, with the opening of the ZF transmission plant in Gray Court last year.”

ZF produces the 8-speed automatic transmission (8HP) for the front-longitudinal driveline as well as the 9HP for vehicles with front-transverse drives for the North American market at the new U.S. location in South Carolina. Chrysler also produces both ZF transmissions under license at its own locations. With the opening of the facility, ZF has hired new employees and now employs 3,900 people in the U.S.; one fifth more than in 2012. The total ZF workforce in North America rose by almost 13 percent from 6,300 (2012) to 7,100 in the past year.

For ZF’s CEO, Sommer, North America will also be a focal point of growth in the upcoming years: “We want to further increase our market share here.” To support that, the plant in Gray Court is already expanding. By 2016, 1.4 million square feet (130,000 square meters) of floor space will be available, and the number of employees is expected to increase from 1,200 to 1,650.

ZF technology makes passenger cars more efficient
ZF is presenting the 9HP and further new developments at the NAIAS. At a constant speed of 120 km/h, the world’s first 9HP reduces fuel consumption by up to 16 percent compared to the current conventional 6-speed automatic transmissions for front-transverse applications.

The 9HP is also compatible with all-wheel drive applications. Here again, ZF has a solution in its product portfolio: ECOnnect, the automatically disengageable all-wheel-drive system can reduce the additional consumption of all-wheel-drive vehicles. Fuel consumption can be reduced by up to five percent when compared to conventional all-wheel drives. At the same time, driving dynamics and driving safety increase significantly.

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 an insight into the trendsetting range of expertise of the technology company. With an innovation prototype, ZF is demonstrating the potential of the combination of e-mobility with lightweight construction approaches. In the ZF subcompact car study, lightweight construction chassis components supplement the electric final drive including inverter, which was designed in-house. In practice, this increases the range–and the 90 kW electric drive also develops driving dynamics that evokes a feeling of sporty gasoline engines.

Trade show app provides a great overview
ZF is providing all trade show visitors with a comprehensive overview at NAIAS: With the free “ZF AutoShowMe” smartphone app, visitors can obtain information about ZF’s presentation in Detroit and also learn interesting facts about the technology company. The app will also make it easier for visitors to move around the trade show and navigate directly to desired booths.

The ZF trade show app is available for Apple and Android devices and can be downloaded for free on internet platforms.

Source: ZF

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