Continental AG, commonly known as Continental, is a leading German automotive manufacturing company specialising in tyres, brake systems, interior electronics, automotive safety, powertrain and chassis components, tachographs, and other parts for the automotive and transportation industries. Continental is based in Hanover, Lower Saxony, Germany. Continental is the world's fourth-largest tyre manufacturer. Continental was founded in 1871 as a rubber manufacturer, Continental-Caoutchouc und Gutta-Percha Compagnie. After acquiring Siemens AG's VDO automotive unit in 2007 Continental was ranked third in global OEM automotive parts sales in 2012 according to a study sponsored by PricewaterhouseCoopers.
|Publicly traded company|
|Traded as||FWB: CON|
|Founded||1871 (146 years ago)|
|Products||Tyres, brake systems, powertrain and chassis components, automotive safety, vehicle electronics|
|Revenue||€32.7 billion (2012)|
|€3.073 billion (2012)|
|Profit||c. €1.9 billion (2012)|
|Total assets||$36.71 billion (2016)|
|Total equity||€7.543 billion (end 2011)|
Number of employees
|c. 212,000 ( Q1 2016)|
In 2008, Continental appeared overextended with its integration of VDO and had since lost almost half of its market capitalisation when it found itself to be the takeover target of the family-owned Schaeffler AG. By 2009, Schaeffler successfully installed the head of its motor division at the helm of Continental.
On 6 September 2012, Continental returned to the benchmark DAX index of 30 selected German blue chip stocks after a 45-month absence. Schaeffler AG is the controlling shareholder and currently owns 46% of Continental shares.
Continental is structured in five divisions:
- Chassis and Safety
One of Continental's main areas of expertise and technological leadership is fuel consumption reduction, achieved through more efficient fuel injection systems, reduced rolling-resistance tyres, and hybrid propulsion systems.
Continental sells tyres for automobiles, motorcycles, and bicycles worldwide under the Continental brand. It also produces and commercialises other brands on a regional level, such as General (US/Canada), Gislaved (Canada, Spain, Nordic Markets), Semperit (industrial applications), Euzkadi (Mexico/Latin America) and Barum to serve EU & Russia. Continental's customers include all major automobile, truck and bus producers, such as Volkswagen, Daimler AG, Ford, Volvo, Iveco, Schmitz, Koegel, Freightliner Trucks, BMW, General Motors, Toyota, Honda, Renault, PSA and Porsche.
In 2001, Continental acquired a controlling interest in Temic, DaimlerChrysler's automotive-electronics business, which is now part of Continental Automotive Systems. The company also purchased German automotive rubber and plastics company Phoenix AG in 2004, and the automotive electronics unit of Motorola in 2006. Continental acquired Siemens VDO from Siemens AG in 2007.
In Argentina, teamed up with FATE in 1999 for the production of tyres for cars, trucks, and buses and exports the production of the San Fernando plant to the rest of South America. In 2007, the company began to construct a plant in Costa Rica to produce powertrain components for North America. The plant was to open in two phases and ultimately employ 550 workers.
The Interior Division is organised under the following five business units:
- Body & Security
- Commercial Vehicles & Aftermarket
- Infotainment & Connectivity
- Intelligent Transportation Systems
- Instrumentation & Driver HMI
Body & Security is leading the development of Vehicle Electronics and Cabin Control Systems, with Research and Development Locations in Germany, Singapore, India, Mexico, US, and China as well as in many other locations around the world, allowing a global reach to nearly every market region.
Schaeffler takeover offerEdit
When Continental decided to purchase ITT Industries' brake and chassis business for $1.93 billion in 1998, the head of ITT's brake division, Juergen M. Geissinger, was hired as the CEO of the family-owned bearing and auto parts manufacturer Schaeffler Group.
Ten years later, Geissinger returned to Continental with mother and son owners Maria-Elisabeth and Georg Schaeffler and a consortium of banks, to buy control of the company. Continental appeared to have overextended itself with the acquisition of Siemens’ VDO automotive unit in 2007 for €11.4 billion and had lost almost half of its market capitalisation since.
In August 2008 and after a protracted standoff, Continental agreed to be taken over by the Schaeffler Group in a deal that valued the company at approximately €12 billion. Schaeffler in return agreed to limit its position to less than 50% for a period of four years and support Continental's ongoing strategy. This arrangement was overseen by former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder At Continental's 2013 annual shareholder meeting Schaeffler gave notice that it will terminate its mutual investment agreement with Continental in May 2014. Continental's CEO Elmar Degenhart commented, "Notice of termination of the investment agreement is understandable from the vantage point of Schaeffler, our anchor shareholder. We are confident that the two companies will continue their very good and goal-oriented cooperation on into the future." Continental's CEO Manfred Wennemer, who had opposed Schaeffler's offer, resigned and was succeeded by Karl-Thomas Neumann on 1 September 2008. Less than one year later, Schaeffler's CEO Juergen Geissinger succeeded in installing his longtime confidant (and former leader and later head of ITT Teves/Continental Brake and Chassis Division) Elmar Degenhart, the head of his automotive division, as the new chief executive of Continental, ousting Neumann.
Continental Tire of North America, LLCEdit
Continental Tire entered the North American tire industry with its 1987 purchase of General Tire, forming Continental Tire of North America (CTNA). At the time, Continental was following other tire manufacturers, such as Bridgestone and Michelin, into the American tire market.
The North American headquarters of the tire divisions are located in Lancaster County, South Carolina. The North American headquarters of the CAS division are located in Auburn Hills, Michigan, directly east of the Great Lakes Crossing mall.
The company announced that effective 1 January 2006, it would implement massive cuts on health care for retirees across the country. After a class-action lawsuit, the company and United Steelworkers union, representing the retirees, agreed to a settlement whereby the company would continue to fund benefits. Later that year, it announced it would cease tire production in Charlotte, North Carolina. and would close its tire production plant in Mayfield, Kentucky.
In 2011, CTNA announced that it would build a plant in Sumter, South Carolina. The plant will cost about $500 million and employ 1,600 workers by 2020.
In 2016, CTNA purchased Hoosier Racing Tire.
Automotive electrical-energy storage systemsEdit
Continental was one of the companies bidding to work with GM to provide the battery pack for the Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric vehicle (E-REV). It is the primary contractor for a system using lithium-ion batteries from A123Systems. GM instead signed a contract to assemble packs with cells purchased from Compact Power.
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Automotive PACE AwardsEdit
In April 2016, Continental AG together with Honda Corporation of America, were honored with the 2016 Automotive News PACE Innovation Partnership Award for the Bidirectional Long Range Communications (BLRC) System., developed by the Body and Security Team in the Interior Division. The Radio Frequency Device, helps the car user to operate a remote control key fob from more than half a kilometer away, to start the engine and climate control function, while receiving feedback from the vehicle (such as locked/unlocked). The Radio Frequency System, powered by a single standard coin cell, and an innovative vehicle-mounted RF transceiver, was developed together by Honda and Continental, and was debuted on the Acura MDX in 2013 and was quickly followed by the Acura TLX and Acura RLX in 2014. In 2015, Continental AG was honored with two PACE Awards for its Bare Die High-Density-Interconnect (BD-HDI) Printed Circuit Board Substrate Technology for Transmission Electronics and its Multi-application Unified Sensor Element (MUSE),
Chief executive officersEdit
- 1973–1982: Carl Hahn
- 1991–1999: Hubertus von Grünberg
- 2001–2008: Manfred Wennemer
- 2008–2009: Karl-Thomas Neumann
- 2009–present: Elmar Degenhart
Chairmen of the boardEdit
- unknown–1989: Alfred Herrhausen
- 1999–2009: Hubertus von Grünberg
- 2009–2009: Rolf Koerfer (6 March - 28 September)
- 2009–present: Wolfgang Reitzle
- Werner Bischoff*
- Michael Deister
- Gunter Dunkel
- Hans Fischl*
- Juergen M. Geissinger
- Hans-Olaf Henkel
- Michael Iglhaut*
- Jörg Köhlinger*
- Klaus Mangold
- Hartmut Meine*
- Dirk Nordmann*
- Artur Otto•
- Wolfgang Reitzle (Chairman)
- Klaus Rosenfeld
- Georg F. W. Schaeffler
- Maria-Elisabeth Schaeffler
- Jörg Schönfelder*
- Bernd W. Voss
- Siegfried Wolf
- Erwin Wörle*
'*' denotes labor representative
Acquisition of Veyance Technologies Inc.Edit
The German branch of Continental AG has acquired the Fairlawn, Ohio-based rubber company Veyance Technologies Inc. Veyance will be integrated into the company’s ContiTech division, and will serve as the regional home office for ContiTech in North America.
The Brazilian antitrust authority Council for Economic Defence, or CADE, made it official on January 29, 2015, described in a press release on the 30th, from the company. The total transition was $1.6 billion. The company will divest Veyance’s NAFTA air springs business in Mexico and its Brazilian steel-cord belting business in response to some of the concerns raised by antitrust authorities, the release said, employing about 600 people work in those operations.
- Continental Automotive Systems—one of six divisions
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