DETROIT -- The North American electronic stability control business is very good these days for Continental AG, the German component and tire supplier.
CEO Manfred Wennemer says Continental will double the number of stability control systems it makes in North America in 2006. Continental expects to make about 3 million systems this year, up from 1.5 million in 2005 and 750,000 in 2004.
Wennemer said Ford's decision in December 2004 to make electronic stability control standard on its SUV fleet gave Continental's electronic stability control business a big boost. General Motors also is making it standard on SUVs, he said.
Wennemer discussed the business during an interview with Automotive News this month at the North American International Auto show.
He predicted the business will continue to grow dramatically in the North American car fleet, which is a long way behind that of Europe in making stability control a standard feature.
In Europe, 60 percent of all vehicles come with the technology, and that percentage is even higher -- 80 percent -- in Continental's home country, Germany, he said.
"In 2010, the penetration rate for ESC in the U.S. will be 70 percent," he said.
CSM Worldwide ranks Continental the North American leader in electronic stability control with 40 percent of the market. Robert Bosch GmbH is next with 37 percent, followed by TRW Automotive with 7.3 percent.
Electronic stability control is an active safety system that uses sensors to work with brakes, steering and suspension to make sure a vehicle keeps going in the direction the driver intends.
You may e-mail Bradford Wernle at [email protected]