FRANKFURT - Siemens Auto-motive Systems expects to become the market leader - or a close second - in two-thirds of its operating areas.
According to group vice president Franz Wressnigg, Siemens AG has more than doubled the size of its automotive division in the past five years.
Technological change will drive further growth, said Wressnigg. It also will create opportunities in new automotive markets.
Siemens' commitment to the automotive sector is underscored by an investment of $430 million in 1998 and 1999. That equals nearly 13 percent of Siemens' automotive sales.
Siemens is ready to enter the diesel high-pressure injection market. The company showed piezohydraulic injectors for common-rail high-pressure direct injection at the Frankfurt auto show.
With common-rail injection, all of the engine's fuel injectors feed from a single high-pressure line. That allows better atomization of the fuel and greater control over the timing of the injections.
Volume production for a Euro-pean manufacturer is expected late next year.
Siemens' patented technology uses an actuator that responds to voltage pulses in a quarter of the time taken by existing solenoid injectors.
Engines based on this technology offer low fuel consumption, high propulsion power, reduced emissions and only minimal noise generation, says Siemens.
'We have waited until a technological window has opened, and then we have taken it,' Wressnigg said.
Electrical, electronic and mechatronic systems already account for more than a quarter of a vehicle's manufacturing cost, Wressnigg said. Siemens enjoys major opportunities in these areas, he added.
Siemens' sales rose 15 percent to $3.4 billion for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, substantially ahead of expectations. Integrated systems and complete modules generated most of the growth, he said.
The Siemens group has been restructuring in the past year. Some financial analysts have questioned whether the automotive sector will remain a core business for Germany's largest electronic and electrical systems supplier.
But Wressnigg insisted, 'We will remain a powerful partner for the automotive industry.'