The transformation of the automotive industry is underway. According to the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA)*, German carmakers and automotive suppliers alone will invest 40 billion euros in e-mobility in the next three years. For the future of mobility is electric, automated, digital and connected. “Enabling Future Mobility” is Brose’s theme for the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt am Main, where the automotive supplier will be presenting innovative ideas and systems that make this vision a reality. The family-owned company’s solutions for the future of mobility include doors that open automatically, flexible interior solutions and thermal management for electric vehicles. Brose is now also a system supplier for e-bikes.
The current fiscal year did not begin as well as hoped for Brose. “Compared to the first half of 2018, turnover has decreased by 5 percent and results have deteriorated considerably,” explains Kurt Sauernheimer, CEO of the Brose Group, “We have therefore taken measures to cut costs and fight this negative trend. We aren’t achieving the contribution margins from turnover growth and at the same time we need to invest in new products and series production launches. This is compounding the negative effect.”
Brose does not expect to see an economic recovery in 2020 either. “Still,” says Sauernheimer, “we expect growth of around five percent compared to 2019. This is because we are gaining market share and bringing new products to market.” One of the growth drivers is an electric air conditioning compressor for a German premium customer, another is power third-row seating.
More opportunities than risks
In view of the transformation of the automotive industry, the supplier sees more opportunities than risks. Over the next three years the company will spend around 1.5 billion euros on the development of new products, technical equipment and the global expansion of locations. Some 200 million euros will be invested in the German Brose locations this year. “We are also increasing our focus on partnerships,” says Sauernheimer, “to bring together the expertise of companies and to share the costs and risks of new developments.”
“Future Brose” begins
Brose is responding to the great shifts in the automotive industry with its “Future Brose” program, which will change the structures of the company by 2023. This will also lead to changes in the number of staff throughout the company, with reductions in some areas and new jobs created in others. Sauernheimer: “We want to streamline workflows, achieve fast results and sustainably reduce costs. At the same time we are hiring engineers and software specialists to push ahead with the further development and expansion of our product portfolio.”
“We made the decision to open up a new location in Serbia. This will increase our competitiveness and compensate for the lack of skilled workers in Germany,” says Sauernheimer. If all goes according to plan, Brose expects production to start in two years. “We will employ around 1,000 people there as early as 2024. Part of this comes from relocations from German sites, another part comes from additional business,” he explains. “We will start in Serbia with the production of motors for cooling fan modules. This product is under enormous price pressure because our competitors produce almost exclusively in Eastern Europe.”
Sauernheimer adds: “With Future Brose we are also continuing to drive growth in our core business while strengthening our company’s power to innovate so we can meet the challenges of tomorrow’s mobility.”
Experience Brose mobility at the IAA 2019
The supplier’s new system ideas are centered on safe and comfortable vehicle access and flexible interiors. Sauernheimer: “We are able to deliver an overall system for both business segments from a single source. Right now Brose is the only supplier that can do this.”
Brose is transforming vehicle boarding and travel into an unforgettable experience with the intelligent interaction between door and interior functions. Even from a distance the car can recognize and welcome the driver with a projection on the ground. Vehicle users simply make a gesture to signal their desire to enter. The handle-free doors open automatically; a radar sensor prevents collisions. The steering wheel disappears into the dashboard and the seat contour adjusts automatically. Passengers in the back of the vehicle knock twice on the rear door and it opens automatically as well.
The second row of seats is also completely electrified and can slide automatically for better access – without making any compromises in terms of safety: an interior sensor recognizes people, pets and car seats in the vehicle and prevents injuries and/or damages. With a touch of a button the passenger can decide how he or she wants to enjoy the ride and the interior flexibly adapts to the desired usage: electronically controlled seats, screens and storage areas automatically coordinate their positions. The seat can transform into an office chair in work mode, storage areas and a desk with a built-in charging station extend from the cockpit.
Alternatively, lounge mode creates a relaxing environment for vehicle occupants. The seat reclines, leg rests and adjustable armrests adapt to the vehicle user. A relaxing, music-synced massage begins and the flow of air from the air conditioning system automatically adjusts to the new position. And buckling up is now also more comfortable as the belt is either easily accessible directly next to the seat or is presented to the passenger electrically. The joint venture Brose Aunde Fahrzeugsitze formed this year is also demonstrating its expertise in complete seats for passenger vehicles for the first time at the IAA: ergonomically designed seat adjusters, a resolute commitment to lightweight design along with seat covers made of recycled plastics and renewable materials prove that well-being and sustainability are not mutually exclusive.
Brose is now also an e-bike system supplier
The mobility transformation extends far beyond the automobile: the e-bike has now become a trendsetter as an environmentally friendly, agile and healthy way to travel. Brose drives enable cyclists with a variety of tastes and requirements to enjoy a natural, harmonious riding experience. Now the family-owned company is introducing the Brose Drive system it developed in-house: a wide range of drives, displays and the battery can be flexibly added or individually combined. The result: e-bikes that can be precisely configured to meet a broad spectrum of demands.
The drive is and will remain the heart of the new system. The various models in the Brose Drive family are attuned to the many different fields of application: the harmonious Brose Drive C for the city, the efficient Brose Drive T for trekking, all the way to the Brose Drive TF that supports speeds of up to 45 kilometers per hour. The Drive S is designed for an athletic ride. The Brose Drives C, S and T can be selected with aluminum or magnesium housings. The magnesium option reduces the drive’s form factor and makes it 500 grams lighter.
Displays and batteries complete the system
The newly developed Brose “Allround”, “Remote” and “Central” displays are optimally integrated in the drives and also custom-tailored to meet the wide-ranging needs of cyclists. Featuring intuitive, ergonomic controls, the design can either be functional, minimalist or highly visible. The Brose Drive System is completed with the Brose Battery 630, which was designed specifically for this purpose. This power pack charges quickly, is light, compact, robust and stores 630 watt hours of energy. Thanks to a patented holding mechanism the battery remains securely attached even when exposed to strong vibrations yet is still easy to remove.
See new developments live at the IAA or experience them online before the show
Brose makes these new mobility experiences a reality. The family-owned company has blended its mechanical, electric, electronic and sensor technology expertise to further develop its products and systems. Visitors to the 2019 International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt can experience the latest features live at the Brose exhibition area (Hall 4.0, Stand D01/D02) under the banner “Enabling Future Mobility”.
Brose is already offering a virtual taste on the web: the automotive supplier has updated its website prior to the opening of the IAA with a completely new animation and imagery to spark curiosity about the Brose innovations. See more here www.brose.com/future-mobility/
*Source: German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), May 2019