One hundred years to the day that the company was entered into the trade register, ZF Friedrichshafen AG celebrated its anniversary. On Wednesday evening, around 1, 500 international guests from the automotive industry, business, government, and the community as well as friends and business partners of the company traveled to Lake Constance to attend the gala event at the trade show grounds in Friedrichshafen, the company said.
According to the company, on Sept. 9, 1915, “Zahnradfabrik GmbH,” headquartered in Friedrichshafen, Germany, was entered into the trade register of the Tettnang district court. The aim of the newly founded company was to produce gears and transmissions for aircraft, motor vehicles, and motorboats. It was not long before ZF began offering its technology to automobile manufacturers.
“Even 100 years after its founding, ZF is still driven by its desire to invent new technologies and perfect existing ones,” said CEO Stefan Sommer in his speech during the event. “Reliability and innovation represent the general values of our company and are the basis of our actions.”
Sommer emphasized that in light of increasing digitalization and networking in automobiles, it is not enough to simply collect components.
“Intelligently combining mechanics, electronics, and big data is decisive in developing adequate solutions for the mobility trends of the 21st century,” he said. “ZF is now very well positioned, as a system supplier, to be a global partner for automobile and commercial vehicle manufacturers. It has the capacity to be a one-stop shop for supplying the right products and technologies.”
The trend toward autonomous driving and electromobility will change automobile use and technology more than any other previous developments, the company said.
“Nevertheless, it will probably still take more than two decades before electromobility achieves a dominating market share,” Sommer said. “Even if we devote all of our effort to developing the electric drive, ZF will also have to look closely at driveline hybridization in order to increase the efficiency of cars and further reduce emissions.”
Matthias Wissmann, president of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), underlined in his speech the importance of the German automotive industry for the German economy.
“Cooperation between manufacturers and suppliers is the core reason for the leading technology position that the German automobile industry has established for itself,” he said. “Our joint goal must be to link innovative value-added structures so that we grow exactly where our markets are growing – and, at the same time, keep Germany as a manufacturing location strong. Because this is where our roots run deep and this is where they will stay. Here, too, is where we intend to shape the future of mobility. To do so, we need a forward-looking framework. Because one thing is clear: competitiveness is neither a static condition nor is it self-sustaining. Legislators must do a better job of addressing the many issues of competitiveness. At present, it will probably not be easy to find political majorities on these issues, but it is absolutely critical.”