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Continental to showcase New Wheel Concept for EVs at 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show

Automotive parts supplier Continental has redesigned its wheel and braking system to meet today’s demands in electro mobility. Unlike the traditional wheel and braking solutions, the New Wheel Concept specially made for medium and compact electric vehicles meet all the requirements electric driving puts on the brake.

Continental’s innovative concept is based primarily on two new sections between the wheel and the axle. The carrier, or the inner part of the aluminum brake disc, remains affixed to the wheel hub while the wheel brake is attached to the star carrier of the axle. The reduced weight also means changing brake pads and tires will come easier as these are the only parts requiring periodic replacements.

It is important for electric vehicles that the driver uses small amounts of energy on friction brake, according to Paul Linhoff, Continental’s chassis and safety business unit head. The vehicle’s momentum is converted into electricity during deceleration, thereby increasing the vehicle’s range. He added that while the driver uses the brake pedal, it doesn’t conclude that the wheel brakes are also in use.

Read the entire article Continental to showcase New Wheel Concept for EVs at 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show

Continental Cube Concept will soon be tested as an autonomous taxi

In the next decade or so, taxis are likely to be replaced by autonomous cars like the new Continental Cube. In fact, companies like Google and Uber are already working on technology that will lead to this scenario.

Continental is known best for their tires, but they are also a major supplier of automotive electrics and systems. Now, they have built the Cube to demonstrate driverless mobility, and to test autonomous systems and technology.

The Cube prototype actually stands for “Continental Urban moBility Experience”. And it is based on the company’s own sensors and control units.

Read the entire article Continental Cube Concept will soon be tested as an autonomous taxi

Continental Ac2ated Sound system uses absolutely zero speakers but offers a 3D experience

We often think that more speakers mean better sound. A lot of luxury vehicles are even equipped with 15 or more speakers. But as technology improves, manufacturers are introducing great quality audio with zero speakers. Yup, you won’t see any of them, but the music will sound very impressive. Continental just announced that they have a system called Ac2ated Sound, that will turn the car’s interior surroundings into a speaker. Now, that is proper surround sound.

Johann Hiebl, Continental’s head of business unit infotainment and connectivity, said that car manufacturers have been looking into surround sound systems that weigh less for the overall car to be lighter in weight, while providing more space for passengers and new technologies. Furthermore, he said they can use compact actuators and use surfaces to generate a natural, 3D sound - using the car itself and its walls as an instrument.

Certain parts of the car, from the A-pillars to the door panels are naturally suited for varying frequencies. For instance, the A-pillars can handle higher frequencies, which can be the audio system’s tweeters. On the other hand, mid-range frequencies can be perfectly handled by door panels, and the roof an rear shelf can act like subwoofers. Normally, a car would have speakers in some of these areas, but according to Continental, the actuators that will replace the actual coil and magnet can deliver vibrations in these areas and as a reaction, the car itself can produce the sound. Sounds technical, huh? The company even provided an illustration of a violin comparing it to a car’s door panel to further explain how this works.

Read the entire article Continental Ac2ated Sound system uses absolutely zero speakers but offers a 3D experience

Faulty Audi airbags could cost Continental a double-digit million euro amount to fix

Continental would have to shell out up to a double-digit million euro amount to fix a defect on its airbags fitted on Audi A4 models. The German carmaker announced in October that it has issued a callback of 850,000 cars globally due to potentially defective software may cause the airbags on the model to fail to deploy.

Continental chief executive Elmar Degenhart has confirmed that his company was the supplier of the system. He said that they have yet to determine what company was to be blamed for the fault. He added that both Audi and Continental are still trying to find out the root of the defect.

Should Continental be faulted for the issue, Degenhart did not give a specific figure for how much a recall could cost the supplier, but placed it between “zero and a double-digit million amount." Degenhart said it was common practice at suppliers and carmakers to allocate funds to pay for potential recalls.

Read the entire article Faulty Audi airbags could cost Continental a double-digit million euro amount to fix

Continental AG has set up a new business unit -- Continental Intelligent Transportation Systems -- in Silicon Valley as the company aims to help carmakers roll out autonomous driving and other “intelligent” features in the next few year. Continental has also named Seval Oz, chief of global strategic partnerships for Google’s self-driving cars project since 2011, to lead the unit.

Oz will report to Helmut Matschi, a Continental board member and president of its global interiors division. Continental chief executive Elmar Degenhart said in a statement that the formation of the new unit is an “excellent example” of the company’s strategy to make the car an integral part of the “Internet of Everything.”

He the unit’s key objectives include eliminating road accidents, minimizing energy consumption, maximizing comfort and usability of vehicles, as well as making them able to exchange information with each other in real-time.

Read the entire article Continental AG sets up Silicon Valley business unit to help carmakers roll out autonomous driving

Schaeffler will streamline its operations and widen cooperation with Continental, in which it holds a 46 percent stake. Schaeffler wants to deepen collaboration in areas like engine and drivetrain technology. "Our goal is to improve processes and boost efficiency" by the end of 2015, Schaeffler's Chief Financial Officer Klaus Rosenfeld said.

"There's significantly more potential" to be had by working closer with Continental, remarked Schaeffler board member Peter Gutzmer, adding that past efforts "could have gone further." Schaeffler's automotive unit will still be the key earnings driver as the supplier expects global production of cars and light commercial vehicles to surge, Rosenfeld said.

Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) in 2013 dropped 31 percent to EUR982 million ($1.35 billion). Schaeffler recently disclosed that it took a EUR380 million provision in 2013 in relation to a European Union antitrust probe. EBIT adjusted for the provision and job-cut costs remains unchanged at EUR1.41 billion, with the margin dropping 0.1 percentage point to 12.7 percent of revenue.

Read the entire article Schaeffler to streamline operations with Continental

Continental AG has inked an agreement to acquire Veyance Technologies from Carlyle Group for around EUR1.4 billion ($1.9 billion) as it expands beyond its auto business. Continental expects the acquisition to boost profit of its ContiTech unit immediately upon completion in the fourth quarter of 2013. The Ohio-based Veyance Technologies produces industrial hoses and conveyor belts.

The acquisition can be funded using available cash and credit lines. "This acquisition will enable Continental to come a step closer to its strategic goal of increasing further our proportion of sales to industrial customers and private end users," Continental chief executive Elmar Degenhart said in a statement. He remarked that the planned integration of Veyance into Continental’s ContiTech division will expand the company’s position in rubber and plastics technologies on a global basis."

Continental is aiming for a fifth straight year of record sales in 2014 after deliveries of parking-assistance systems and braking electronics boosted sales in 2013. The 29,700-strong ContiTech generated around EUR3.9 billion in sales in 2013, or accounting for about 12 percent of the Continental’s revenue. Once merged with Veyance, ContiTech unit will have sales of about EUR5.4 billion and will employ 39,000 people globally.

Read the entire article Continental inks deal to buy Veyance Tech for EUR1.4 billion

BMW AG and Continental AG are getting ready for a large-scale road test that involves dozens of vehicles in order to come up with a production unit that can change lanes even without the driver's intervention.  The companies expect such vehicles to be launched within three to five years.

The companies will conduct the test early 2015 over a 500-kilometer (311-mile) route from Germany over the Alps to Italy, according to Werner Huber, BMW's project manager of driver, assistance and environmental perception. "We will build a prototype car which can be cloned into 10, 20, 50, maybe 100 cars," Huber said. BMW's plan for a fleet test indicates a new step in development of hands-free vehicles.

Based on past trends, lane-changing technology will soon be adapted from luxury cars to the mass market. During the test, the cars will be made to accelerate, brake and change lanes without the driver's help for long stretches at speeds ranging up to 130 kilometers per hour (81 mph).

Read the entire article BMW and Continental are road testing lane-changing vehicle

Continental is expecting sales to jump 5 percent in 2014 to EUR35 billion ($47.8 billion) – its fifth straight year of record sales  -- after deliveries of parking-assistance and braking electronics boosted its revenues by 2 percent in 2013. The German supplier posted EUR33.3 billion in revenues in 2013. Its adjusted earnings before interest and taxes were EUR3.7 billion or 11.2 percent of sales.

Continental has concentrated on developing components that help carmakers cut vehicle emissions, hike auto safety and allow communication links. Continental managed to partly offset effects of an industrywide slump in Europe by following German customers Volkswagen, BMW and Daimler into growing markets like China and the United States. "Continental has had a good year behind it, and the perspective for 2014 is right," Juergen Pieper, an analyst at Bankhaus Metzler, told Bloomberg by phone.

Pieper remarked that Continental is present in all areas growing at double-digit rates like assistance systems, electric and hybrid-engine parts and navigation. Continental trimmed its 2013 revenue forecast on Nov. 7 from EUR34 billion, citing currency effects. The dollar weakened 4.3 percent against the euro in 2013, and the yen dropped 21 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Read the entire article Continental expects 2014 sales to surge 5% to EUR35 mil

South Korea's Fair Trade Commission has fined the local units of Denso Corp., Continental AG and Bosch around KRW114.6 billion ($107.99 million) for their role in fixing prices of components sold to Hyundai Motor Co. The fine comes as their counterparts in the United States, Europe and Japan continue their crackdown on price collusion among auto parts makers.

The covered parts include those for air-conditioning systems, seat belts, windshield wipers, radiators, power window motors and power steering. The Fair Trade Commission remarked that the units of Denso, Continental and Bosch had rigged prices of instrument panels and wipers sold to Hyundai and affiliate Kia Motors. Affected vehicles include Hyundai's Sonata, Elantra and Kia's Pride and Carnival.

Denso, a South Korean unit, and a Continental unit were found involved in price-fixing of instrument panels from January 2008 to March 2012 that were installed on 11 million Hyundai and Kia vehicles. Denso and another Korean unit and that of Bosch were found to have colluded on the prices of wipers between August 2008 and February 2009.

Read the entire article Denso, Continental and Bosch fined KRW114.6bn for price fixing in South Korea

Continental AG has confirmed that it is planning to ink a partnership with a still unnamed electronic mapmaker to enable vehicle navigation systems to identify possible dangers by looking "around the corner." Continental's technology chief Christian Senger told Automotive News that the supplier is looking for a partner to map vehicle location data to spot accidents, traffic jams and other potential hazards.

Senger remarked that it is “yet another way for vehicles to figure out where other cars are,” adding that “these channels are necessary." The mapping partner would be the third in a collaboration that already includes IBM Corp. and Cisco Systems Inc. IBM and Cisco recently disclosed partnerships with Continental to analyze location data generated by vehicles.

IBM will be responsible for running massive data farms to analyze the data, while Cisco will be in charge of ensuring the security of the data transmissions. According to Senger, the third partner would provide a "high-precision land map" to help monitor road conditions. German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported in August that Continental is close to inking a deal with Google, a report that Senger declined to confirm or deny.

Read the entire article Continental is looking for an electronic mapmaker as partner

As an answer to demands of carmakers for tires that both bring performance and quietness, Continental is introducing ContiSilent, a new technology that significantly reduces tire noise inside the cabin by up to 9 dB. The secret of ContiSilent’s lies on a coating -- special layer of foam -- bonded to the inside of the tread area after the production process.

This layer creates a strong damping effect on the sound waves produced by a rolling tire, thereby substantially reducing the amount of noise reaching the cabin. All components and the tread pattern on ContiSilent are standard production tires, thus making it bear the same performance characteristics like braking, handling or wet performance.

ContiSilent tires are compatible with standard rims and fitting process. The first carmaker to employ Continental’s new tires is German company Audi, which will fit ContiSilent tires from the ContiSportContact 5 onto it RS 6 Avant and RS 7 Sportback models. The Audi RS 6 Avant will feature size 285/30 ZR 21 tires while the RS 7 Sportback will don size 275/30 ZR 21. Audi will also equip its A8 flagship with ContiSilent tires from the ContiSportContact 5 range. [source: Continental]

Read the entire article Continental ContiSilent: tires that reduce cabin noise by 9 dB

Continental has appointed Ralf Cramer as chief of its operations in China, which it expects to greatly boost its growing operations in Asia. The appointment becomes effective on August 1, 2013. Cramer has been a member of management board of Continental since 2009 and is responsible for overseeing the supplier’s chassis & safety business.

Cramer started his automotive career by working at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation in Stuttgart, Germany. He joined he joined ITT Automotive Europe in 1996 as executive director for industrial engineering worldwide. Three years later, Cramer was named general manager of the car intermedia systems division.

He joined Continental's automotive unit as senior vice president of the business unit electronics in 2002. He was then made head of the supplier’s business unit electronic brake & safety systems in 2003. Cramer was named as chief of the company's chassis & safety division in 2007, and became a member of Continental’s management board in 2009.

Read the entire article Continental names Ralf Cramer to head operations in China

Continental AG has opened three new production lines to build NOx (nitrogen oxide) sensors, high temperature sensors and canister purge solenoids at its Changchun plant in China. Continental said that the sensors and solenoids will help carmakers meet China's Euro 4 air emissions regulations, which will become effective on July 1, 2013.

Continental has the capacity to produce up to 500,000 NOx sensors and more than 1 million canister purge solenoids annually in China. According to Mathia Miedrich, chief of Continental's exhaust and emissions segment, the China's Euro 4 air emissions standards will generate "a huge demand of products and solutions for exhaust and emission reduction."

Continental Automotive Changchun Co., was created in 1995 and currently employs over 3,000 workers in its manufacturing and r&d plants. The Changchun project is only a part of Continental’s much larger investments in China. The German company announced in August plans to build a EUR33 million (CHY262 million) factory in Wuhu to produce cockpit instrumentation and driver controls.

Read the entire article Continental opens 3 production lines in Changchun plant for NOx sensors

Continental, the German tire manufacturer and supplier of auto parts, is proceeding with its expansion in China as it remains upbeat with its future in Asia’s largest economy despite the dampening of the Chinese market. Continental has been ramping up its R&D in China to create products that would cater to domestic demand.

The company is also locating some global development functions in China. Continental has also based its new low-cost car technologies research in China. This rapid expansion in China has the tire manufacturer hire around 375 new employees every month since 2010, according to Continental China President Jay Kunkel. Still hungry for expansion, Continental disclosed on May 7 that it would hire around 5,000 new employees in China by the end of 2012.

However, the condition in China may be dampening, as vehicle sales in the country soared only by 2.5 percent to 18.5 million units in 2011, a far cry from the 54-percent and 33-percent increase in sales for 2009 and 2010 respectively. The Chinese market suffered a letdown for the first three month of 2012, with total vehicle sales suffering a 3.4 percent drop. Continental, however, downplayed the trend as a breather.

Read the entire article Auto parts supplier Continental ramps up expansion in China

Continental has designated Xavier Pujol to head its hybrid-EV (HEV) business unit in Nuremberg, Germany. He is the present boss of the supplier's Rubi facility in Spain. Pujol will replace Jose Avila, who is a Continental board member and powertrain president. Avila also held interim responsibility for the unit. The HEV unit is part of the company's powertrain division.

It creates energy-storage systems and electric motors for micro-hybrid, full-hybrid and mild-hybrid as well as for EV applications. Avila stated that the HEV business unit is "immensely important" for them, especially with the increasing electrification of the powertrain.

Pujol started his profession in 1982 with Philips, a consumer electronics producer. In 1986, he went to automotive provider United Technologies Automotive, which Lear Corporation acquired in 1999, working in Italy and Spain. He also worked for a couple of years working for Spanish electronics supplier SMD Ingenieros, prior to becoming a part of Sony in 1994. At Sony, he was production boss in Spain.

Read the entire article Xavier Pujol is new head of Continental’s hybrid-EV (HEV) unit in Germany

German car part supplier Continental AG has decided to propose a dividend payment of EUR1.50 per share, after posting a profit in the last fiscal year. The company, which is still preparing its financial statements for fiscal 2011, will propose the dividend payment at its annual shareholders’ meeting scheduled for April 27, 2012.

The EUR1.50 per share dividend is almost three times higher than the average estimate of EUR0.55 a share from 23 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News. Continental is expected to more than double its net income in 2011 to EUR1.25 billion from EUR576 million in 2010.

According to the company, the proposed amount to be distributed totals roughly EUR300 million, based on the approximately 200 million shares outstanding.

Read the entire article Continental AG proposes EUR1.50 per share dividend after fruitful 2011

The new Conti.eContact launches pioneering dimensions of tire for electric vehicles, which are estimated to reach a total figure 2.8 million units worldwide by 2020. In the next 40 years, carbon dioxide budget for each inhabitant in the United Kingdom will be significantly lowered, creating the need and incentive to manufacture tires that are more fuel-efficient that complement the new vehicle design. Continental is targeting to lead this development of automotive megatrends with the launch of Conti.eContact, which is created in cooperation with the leading vehicle manufacturers in Europe.

The new tire dimensions will have a larger outer diameter like 195/55R20 rather than the traditional 205/55R16. With this concept, rolling resistance is significantly reduced.

Also, a more flexible sidewall of the tire aids in reducing energy loss when rebounding or deflecting. The tire engineers of Continental had to begin with a new strategy to the Conti.eContact while continuing to make sure that the tire excelled at wet braking.

Read the entire article Continental launches Conti.eContact, first tire lineup for electric vehicles

Continental Tyre Group Ltd’s new passenger sales director is Phil Scanlan. He replaces Angus Smith who is leaving the company after having worked at this position for a decade. Scanlan had worked for Continental for more than 25 years in various positions like as regional sales manager, national accounts sales manager, car fleet sales manager, and European key account manager.

Scanlan will be based at the Continental Tyre’s UK head office in West Drayton. He oversees the profitable sales and account management of independent, regional, national and wholesale accounts in the UK and ROI. Scanlan said that he is “delighted” to usher in the new year for Continental as its passenger sales director. He said that he seeks to continue Smith’s achievements at Continental as well as its brands within the UK and Irish Markets.

Smith quit this job to move to Micheldever Tyre Services as its commercial director. David Smith, the managing director at Continental Tyre Group Ltd, said that he is excited to work with Scanlan this year. Scanlan lives with his wife at their house near Brentwood, Essex. He is the present Olympic Shooting team leader for the London 2012 Olympic Games. He has gotten medals in the past at the Commonwealth Games and is a British Champion Rifle Shooter too.

Read the entire article Phil Scanlan is Continental’s new passenger sales director

Due to the rising demand in the U.S. and Asia, German supplier Continental AG anticipates that business will stay strong throughout the first quarter, CEO Elmar Degenhart said during an interview with German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung. He admitted that the debt crisis will result to declines in the auto sector in Europe but he thinks that the growth in Asia and the U.S. will “more than compensate for weakness in Europe."

Degenhart said that in the fourth quarter, Continental had a strong performance with sales that are slightly higher than the third-quarter figure of around 7.7 billion euros ($10 billion). He said that the demand indicates that this “good level” will persist until March. He said that the company will continue working to cut net debt to become closer to 6 billion euros from the current 7 billion euros.

Continental AG aims that by 2013 (at the latest), the rating agencies will assess the company and they will recommend the purchase of Conti bonds to normal investors.

Read the entire article Continental AG CEO expects a strong first quarter in 2012