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ZF invests in new steering wheel production base in China’s Rizhao city

Monika From Gasgoo| May 26 , 2023 13:32 BJT

Shanghai (Gasgoo)- On May 25th, ZF Group and the Management Committee of Rizhao Economic-Technological Development Area in Shandong Province, entered into an agreement for a new investment project, indicating that it continues to be bullish on the Chinese market.

Under the agreement, ZF will set up an automotive steering wheel project with a 20 million euros worth of investment, and mass production is expected to begin within three months after the agreement is signed. Once the project reaches the SOP stage, it is anticipated to generate an annual output value exceeding 800 million yuan (approximately 105 million euros).

ZF invests in new steering wheel production base in China’s Rizhao city

Photo credit: ZF

The project will encompass a new production area spanning approximately 6,000 square meters. It will include new production lines for steering wheel foaming equipment, sewing equipment, assembly, and inspection equipment. The business scope will involve the R&D, production, and sales of automotive steering wheels.

The company said the new project will introduce state-of-the-art localized automated production processes for steering wheels, such as automatic foaming, polishing, gluing, assembly, and inspection, along with other advanced processes and equipment.

The products under the project will be customized for both domestic and international original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), catering to a wide range of vehicle models, from premium electric vehicles to mainstream volume brands. They will incorporate advanced features, including hands-off detection for autonomous driving, heating function to enhance comfort, and environmentally-friendly foam and leather alternative wrapping solutions.

Dr. Nick Song, Vice President, Head of Passive Safety System, Region Asia Pacific, said: "This project is independently operated by the local Chinese team and will become ZF's new steering wheel production base in the Asia-Pacific region. We will give full play to Rizhao's local human resource advantages and unique port location to serve both domestic and international customers. ZF has always considered safety as the cornerstone of developing the next generation of mobility."

ZF Group's Passive Safety Division manages nine factories situated in key automotive manufacturing hubs in China. These facilities are responsible for the production of various steering wheel products, safety airbag products, and seat belt products, encompassing a wide range of offerings, such as hands-off-detection steering wheels, seamless driver airbag modules, bag-in-roof modules, ramp-airbag modules, center airbag modules, active control retractors, load-limiting buckles, hood-lifters, etc.

In 2022, the sales of ZF's Passive Safety Division in China amounted to 6 billion yuan.


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