SHANGHAI -- German supplier ZF Friedrichshafen AG projects sales of 1.1 billion euros, or about $1.36 billion, this year, up from 970 million euros in 2009.
The company, which makes transmissions, driveline and chassis components, expects to capitalize on the robust Chinese operations of Volkswagen AG, Daimler AG and BMW AG. ZF also expects to increase sales to domestic Chinese automakers -- especially those that want to export.
To service customers in China, ZF this month opened a $25 million technical center and headquarters in Shang-hai. The 33,000-square-foot center employs 250 people, says ZF China President Ye Guohong.
Although ZF produces much of its product portfolio in China, it still imports electronics from Germany. But its campaign to buy more from suppliers in China is making progress.
ZF now buys locally produced steel for transmissions and gears. Ten years ago it was tough to find steel makers that could meet ZF's quality standards.
China accounts for 10 percent of ZF's global sales, which totaled more than $11.6 billion last year. By 2015, China could account for as much as 15 percent of sales, said ZF Group CEO Hans-Georg Haerter.