ZF Friedrichshafen AG is a manufacturer of various products, including transmission parts and drive axles for passenger and commercial vehicles, suspension equipment for heavy trucks, and gearboxes for wind turbines. Over the past decade, the company has emerged as a heavyweight in the automotive parts market, ranking third in the list of the largest automotive suppliers worldwide in terms of revenue. Between 2012 and 2021, the company doubled its revenue, from around 15.5 billion euros to some 38.3 billion euros.
One of the factors of ZF Friedrichshafen AG's growth was its acquisition strategy. While the company sold the automotive steering segment to its peer rival Robert Bosch GmbH, ZF Friedrichshafen succeeded with a takeover bid to TRW shareholders in December 2014. The merger of TRW Automotive and ZF Friedrichshafen was completed in 2015 and may be dubbed one of the largest supplier acquisitions in history.
The mega suppliers Denso Corporation and Magna International are ZF Friedrichshafen AG's main competitors, together with the Germany-based Robert Bosch GmbH and Continental AG. With the establishment of its Zukunft Ventures GmbH, ZF Friedrichshafen is expected to increase its activity in autonomous driving.
ZF Friedrichshafen AG was founded in 1915 in Germany to initially produce gears for airships, such as Zeppelins. A few years later, the company switched to making gears for cars and has since become one of the pioneering companies in the automotive industry, spending more than two billion euros on research and development in 2020.
Throughout the 1960s, ZF Friedrichshafen AG started supplying transmissions to leading German automotive companies, such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche. The rising demand for ZF Friedrichshafen AG's products led to the company expanding to other countries. The company operates in over 20 countries around the globe, including the United States, India, South Korea, and China.
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