German auto supplier ZF Friedrichshafen to raise share of China sales

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – German automotive supplier ZF Friedrichshafen aims to significantly raise the share of sales from China until the end of the decade, a management board member told magazine WirtschaftsWoche.

Stephan von Schuckmann, ZF’s board member in charge of the Asia-Pacific region, said China was expected to account for 30% of the group’s sales by 2030, up from 18% in 2022.

He also said that ZF would also raise the share of sales from deliveries to Chinese vehicle makers that export globally.

“Our sales share grows along with their export volume,” von Schuckmann said, adding that along with Chinese carmakers came a growing expansion of Chinese suppliers which creates new competition.

His comments come as Germany is trying to actively derisk from China, its biggest trading partner, concerned about overexposure to what it says is a competitor and systemic rival.

Von Schuckmann said it would be wrong to discard the threat, saying Chinese supplies could learn quickly and have more competitive costs structures.

“We can assume that the current competition we know from China will also spread to Europe. You have to take this development very seriously and adapt in order to survive.”

(Reporting by Christoph Steitz, Editing by Louise Heavens)