On October 11, ZF Friedrichshafen AG, also known as ZF Group, the world’s leading automotive technology supplier, signed a strategic cooperation agreement with NIO, a Chinese new energy brand, in Munich, Germany. The two sides will cooperate on steering-by-wire products and other fields.
The two sides will establish an instant information sharing mechanism, deepen communication channels, conduct regular technical exchanges, and jointly set industry-leading process and quality standards. At the same time, the two sides plan to cooperate in brand promotion, product marketing, technology upgrades, quality improvement and customer service.
The signing of this agreement also marks the first time that ZF Group has secured a steer-by-wire business deal in the Asia-Pacific region. It also indicates that both sides are committed to promoting the reform and development in many fields such as automated driving and vehicle electrification.
ZF Group has been in the Chinese market since 1981. The group has invested in nearly 50 production enterprises, four R&D centers and nearly 240 after-sales service outlets in more than 20 cities, and currently employs more than 20,000 employees throughout the country. The sales in Asia-Pacific with China as the main body account for about 25% of ZF Friedrichshafen AG Group’s global sales, and ZF’s market sales in China have reached 7 billion €, accounting for about 20% of global sales. The goal of Asia-Pacific is to increase its sales in the world to 30% by 2030.
Since the beginning of this year, ZF Group has deepened its outreach in China. In March, it kicked off the construction of its fourth R&D center in China. In July, it announced that it would invest and build a factory in Rizhao, Shandong Province, with a total investment of €60 million. In August, it announced it would expand the product category and production capacity of electronic power steering system (EPS) in China. On September 2, it further announced that its 800V electric drive axle products were officially completed on the production line in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province.
On the other hand, NIO has performed brilliantly in China and it has also begun to enter the European market. On October 8, it held a product launch event in Berlin, Germany. After entering Norway in 2021, it has also set up shop in Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark, hoping to plant some roots in the European market.
At this conference, NIO released three models, ET5, ET7 and EL7 (corresponding to ES7 in China), and opened the pre-orders for these vehicles.
NIO previously announced that the three models will be opened for booking in Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark through a subscription model, which subsequently caused extensive discussion. After receiving a lot of customer inquiries about purchases, founder William Li announced on October 10 that the company would open the purchasing service in four European countries.