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Continental showcases leading edge technologies in India

Continental showcases leading edge technologies in India

By Huned Contractor

India emerges as a strong growth hub for Continental in Asia and the company expects to double its revenues in the country by 2016 through innovative products and systems


The day when a person would be able to open and drive a car without a key is not too far. Also, fatalities due to road accidents may become a thing of the past. That is how Continental, one of the world’s leading automotive suppliers, envisions it. Reiterating this optimism for total safety and absolutely comfortable driving on any road in the world, Continental held a media conference in Mumbai in November 2012 to not only showcase the various technologies it is working on but also reaffirm the significance of India’s automotive market. “We are looking at several market drivers that will strengthen Continental’s presence in India. Apart from the government’s ambitious Automotive Mission Plan for 2006 to 2016 that will make India a leading hub for automotive manufacturing, there are several factors which will help us grow,” said Claude d’Gama Rose, Country Head-India, Continental Group.


Some of these triggers include the need to introduce more safety measures in passenger cars and commercial vehicles to reduce the rate of fatalities on India roads, environmental concerns related to pollution, the increasing use of electronic components in cars and the rapid pace at which mobility is increasing, even in rural areas. “We are there in all the areas and our global technology will help us deliver products for the future generation of vehicles,” Rose said.

With sales of Euro 30.5 billion in 2011, Continental is among the leading automotive suppliers worldwide. As a supplier of brake systems, systems and components for powertrains and chassis, instrumentation, infotainment solutions, vehicle electronics, tyres and technical elastomers, Continental contributes to enhanced driving safety and global climate protection. Continental is also an expert partner in networked automobile communication. It currently has approximately 1,70,000 employees in 46 countries.

Continental’s Automotive Group with its three divisions, viz., Chassis & Safety (sales of approximately Euro 6.5 billion in 2011, 33,000 employees), Powertrain (sales of approximately Euro 5.8 billion in 2011, 31,000 employees) and Interior (sales of approximately Euro 6.1 billion in 2011, 32,000 employees) achieved sales of approximately Euro 18.5 billion in 2011. The Automotive Group is present in more than 170 locations worldwide. As a partner of the automotive and commercial vehicle industry, it develops and produces innovative products and systems for a modern automotive future, in which cars provide individual mobility and driving pleasure consistent with driving safety, environmental responsibility and cost-efficiency.

The India story

Revealing the company’s intention to double the revenues in the country by 2016, Continental’s Automotive Group heads focused on its operations plans for India and innovations for the market that demonstrate the company’s commitment to be a strong local partner to the Indian automotive industry. “We are expanding our existing 7,152 sq.m facility in Manesar to 15,027 sq.m. In Manesar, Continental is producing instrument clusters for passenger vehicles and two-wheelers as well as sensors for powertrain and chassis including knock sensors, speed sensors for engine and transmission. The expansion was necessary because of the current and future needs of the various businesses based in Manesar. We will continue to increase our footprint by establishing new plants, increasing the headcount and building engineering expertise in Asia and India. We are also focused on our ‘local for local’ concept and the company has been actively indigenising its entire value chain in the country, from business development to R&D, from purchasing to production,” Rose added. One of the ambitious projects includes flagging off the production of radial tyres. This is in the wake of Continental having acquired 100 per cent shareholding in Modi Tyres Company Limited (MTCL), a subsidiary of Modi Rubber Ltd. MTCL has now become a fully owned subsidiary of Continental Corporation and has been renamed as Continental Tyres India Limited. “The new entity will focus on local production and distribution of bias and radial truck and bus tyres as well as radial passenger car tyres for the Indian market. We see here great potential because the demand for passenger cars is going to rise in tune with the rising number of people with high incomes,” Rose said.

Chassis & safety

Given the fact that India has been recording one of the highest numbers of fatalities in road accidents worldwide and yet safety products are often considered a ‘premium feature’ in Indian cars, Continental is now aiming to change the rules of the game. “We are going ahead to making ‘safety for everyone’ a reality in India. An example for passive safety is the Safety Platform for Efficient & Economical Design (SPEED) which is an airbag control unit of modular design. The multi-level concept meets the demands of all global markets and allows even entry-level models to be fitted with a high-performance airbag system. When it comes to active safety, ABS should be standard. It has to be smaller and lighter, yet less expensive. The MK 100? currently in development is far smaller and lighter than MK 70, its predecessor. India is one of the key target markets in the future for these technologies,” said Dr Ralf Cramer, president of the Chassis & Safety Division and Member of the Executive Board of Continental AG.

“This division has introduced a host of advanced safety systems and components in India, including the first ever Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) for two-wheelers in the country. We are absolutely convinced we have the right products in our portfolio to support two-wheeler ABS for this market. With our Indian operations, we support the growing domestic OEMs as well as the worldwide OEMs with their production locations in India,” he added. Some of the other technologies that will soon be introduced in Indian vehicles will include sophisticated control panels with capacitive touch surfaces. “We have set up a HMI (human machine interface) laboratory in Singapore that will support our India and Asia operations,” Dr Cramer informed. Yet another development that will become a part and parcel of new cars will be the integration of radio and air-conditioning (HVAC) controls through a single PCB unit so as to save on manufacturing costs and conserve energy. “Immobilizers and infotainment systems are the other two areas that are being focused on at Continental. We have sold more than 1.8 million immobilizers in India so far and that shows the market potential,” he added. The Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) and the Electronic Control Stability (ECS) device are some of the other features that will help vehicles to become safer. “We have a team of 6,000 engineers worldwide working exclusively on enhancing safety systems,” Dr Cramer said.


Led by the vision ‘clean power’ and leveraging its comprehensive portfolio of solutions for gasoline, diesel and alternative fuels, the company’s Powertrain Division is dedicated to enhancing fuel efficiency and reducing emission. “Continental is concentrating on developing and manufacturing engine management systems for fuel-efficient engines to meet the growing demands of tighter emission regulations and for a greener future. For example, diesel high pressure pumps, piezoelectric common rail diesel injectors, turbochargers, fuel supply Modules, sensors and actuators are some of the products to meet these objectives,” said Jose Avila, head of the Powertrain Division and Member of the Executive Board of Continental AG. In line with its roadmap to progressively localize across the value chain and to satisfy increased customer demand, Continental recently inaugurated new product lines for fuel rail assemblies and fuel pumps at its Pune facility and set up a test & validation lab for fuel supply products at its Bangalore development centre. “The Bangalore lab houses state-of-the-art explosion-proof test equipment that meets the most stringent safety norms. Continental India also inaugurated its diesel pump & injector test and validation centre in Bangalore this year. Our engineering team in Bangalore not only undertakes local development projects but also interfaces with our global engineering teams for application engineering and development of our global automotive projects,” Avila stated.


The Interior Division of Continental, committed to its vision ‘always on’, is responsible for optimization of the information management in vehicles. It provides a comprehensive product portfolio in the fields of instrumentation, driver HMI, body & security electronics, infotainment and connectivity solutions as well as products for commercial vehicles and the aftermarket to help achieve intelligent communication between drivers and vehicles, vehicles and vehicles, and vehicles and the surrounding environment. Amongst its body and security products specially customised for India are the Basic Function Controller (BFC), start-stop button, immobilizers and remote keyless entry systems. In the interior electronics segment, Continental recently announced the Indian version of its concept, Simplify your Drive (SyD). SyD enables the driver to enjoy the full benefits of the vehicle’s functions in an easy and intuitive way and creates the opportunity to experience multiple cars at the cost of one, at the press of a button.

“The instrument clusters and control panels offered by Continental have been amongst market leaders in India for many years now. In the commercial vehicle and aftermarket business unit, Continental has achieved a 100 percent localization in India, including product development, design and manufacturing (software & hardware) for commercial vehicles and two-wheelers. Within Continental, India has the highest sales volume for two-wheeler clusters,” informed Helmut Matschi, Member of the Continental Executive Board and president of the Interior Division.

Continental powers Reva with advanced car body
electrical & electronic features

Continental India, at the media conference, announced that the company will provide sophisticated electrical and electronics car body components for India’s leading electric car, the Mahindra Reva NXR. “We will provide the Basic Function Controller (BFC), immobilizer and remote keyless entry for the Reva. The BFC is designed as part of a full set of scalable solutions that can be used to implement body electronics features in a wide range of cars, starting from entry level models to luxury cars, enabling OEMs to upgrade effortlessly to meet future requirements. Continental currently has more than 25 projects in the BFC family either in production or under development for leading OEMs in Asia,” revealed Helmut Matschi, Member of the Continental Executive Board and president of the Interior Division. Continental AG.

According to Torsten Kreiling, head of Body & Security India business unit, “A very interesting discovery in the emerging markets is that customers are constantly looking for advanced features, across vehicle segments. By using platform products and a scalable architecture approach, Continental makes it possible for OEMs to invest in an advanced electrical & electronic system implementation, making sophisticated car body feature deployment a reality.

With Mahindra Reva NXR, this is the first time ever for such a system to be applied to an electric car in India.”Commenting on the partnership, Chetan Maini, founder and chief of technology & strategy, Mahindra Reva said, “We believe that electric vehicles are the future of individual mobility. All our vehicle models will be based on the concept of 5C’s – clean, convenient, connected, clever and cost-effective. We are glad to have partnered a global automotive technology leader like Continental and I am sure that the synergy will result in superior driving experience for our customers.”

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