Opinion: Tire makers treading on car companies' toes?
ERJ staff report (TP)
Continental came under the spotlight when a British paper claimed carmakers were becoming too reliant on a small group of large suppliers.
In the Financial Times a report “Age of mega supplier heralds danger for carmakers” outlined some interesting theories on how firms like Conti and Bosch had changed the balance of power in the industry.
Data from Bloomberg backed up the paper’s claims as the gap is decreasing – in 2013 Conti had a revenue of $44.3bn (€32.7bn), while in comparison Renault and Peugeot had revenues of $54.4bn and $71.8bn respectively.
The paper reckoned some of the major suppliers had the ability to build 85% of a car’s internal system – they “own the rights to tomorrow’s technologies and they are more profitable than the companies they sell to”.
In response a Conti spokesperson said: “One can't and shouldn't generalise, e.g. some premium car manufacturers keep the responsibility for the integration of systems used in their cars in house. The same is true for R&D regarding key technologies.
“This can lead to the loss of scale effects. And that is exactly where we can support these groups of customers.”
When asked if Conti could build their own car in the future, the German company was crystal clear on the matter.
The spokesperson said: “In theory a car produced by Continental would be technically possible. But for us this is an unthinkable option.
“We would lose sales volume at our established customers much faster than we would be able to generate new sales volume with a production ‘car’.”
It seems Conti have firmly put the brakes on any press speculation.
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