Just over six months into the union of German parts giant ZF Friedrichshafen and U.S.-based Wabco Holdings Inc., the companies are making progress in combining their talents to develop technologies for commercial vehicles.
And that's despite the challenge of a virtual integration by the two companies without all the usual handshakes, face-to-face meetings and receptions to get to know each other.
ZF, a supplier of transmission, chassis components and systems, and steering, braking and active and passive safety systems, closed its $7 billion acquisition of the Auburn Hills, Mich., trucking parts supplier in May, just as the industry was starting to ramp up after the pandemic-forced shutdown.
Integrating the two large industrial companies has been unique under work-from-home stipulations around the world. But ZF and the former Wabco have synergies in advanced driver-assist systems and autonomous features that have already proved beneficial, ZF CEO Wolf-Henning Scheider told Automotive News.
"It is the perfect match, these two companies," Scheider said. "The existing product portfolio of both companies fits together very, very well.
"On the electronics side, Wabco had already developed software components and ECUs that control the dynamics of the vehicle, whereas ZF has a pretty significant piece in the area of cameras and radars and perception of the vehicle," he added. "That is an example where we put immediately our competencies together."
Scheider said the combination of the two companies' technology has already resulted in new possibilities, which will be seen in an as-yet-unannounced product launch next year. Wabco also gave ZF a significant position in the Indian market, where ZF did not previously have a strong foothold.
The acquisition "helped us also to balance out our worldwide presence in the commercial vehicle sector on a pretty equal level," Scheider said, "no matter in what region we are operating them."