Continental wants to double sales in China in the next five-to-six years and sees electric vehicles playing a key role in this plan.
The German automotive supplier, which ranks in the global top-5, said sales in China rose 50 percent to around 2 billion euros in 2010.“Chances are good that we will double these 2 billion euros in the next five-to-six years,” said Continental CEO Elmar Degenhart. “Electromobility is a building block in our China strategy.”
In an interview with the VDI Nachrichten, a publication of the German Association of Engineers, Degenhart said China will be the key market for electric vehicles. “In volume terms, we cannot compete here with either China or the US,” he said. But it is important to become a major supplier of EV technology, he added.
Degenhart said German suppliers are well positioned in electric-vehicle technology because of their combined automotive experience. Moreover, the industry has already built up 10 years of specialized experience with electric propulsion, he said.
The Continental chief said said his company is looking into the possibility of growing its Chinese EV business with local partners.
Illustrating Continental's EV expertise, Degenhart said the company developed its first hybrid system with General Motors in 2003. In the current environment, systems and components improvements are important, he added, but "cost reduction is one of the main aims."