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Continental, Bosch and ZF have acquired digital companies, but they are exceptions among German suppliers (Photo: Continental)

German automotive suppliers tend to shy away from acquiring digital technology companies, preferring instead to build up this expertise from within, according to a new study.

JDA Software looked at all acquisitions by Germany's 20 biggest suppliers since 2013 and found that, of 29 relevant acquisitions, only five took place in the digital space.

"German automotive suppliers believe in themselves and are taking charge themselves," Hans Georg Kaltenbrunner, vice president industry strategies at JDA, said in a press release.

The only exceptions in the group of 20 were Continental, Robert Bosch and ZF Friedrichshafen, which have acquired digital specialists in recent years. Continental, for example, this summer acquired the automotive software business of Finland's Elektrobit for 600 million euros.