Issue: Dec 2013


ZF Opens First Passenger Car Axle Assembly Plant in Malaysia



by Nick Palmen

In late November 2013, ZF opened an additional assembly location for passenger car axle sets in the Malaysian city of Kulim, about 350 kilometers north of the capital Kuala Lumpur. Approximately 50 employees will initially assemble axle sets in the new plant on the Malaysian peninsula for the production in the nearby BMW plant.

"The opening in Kulim shows that ZF establishes production locations in markets with potential at an early stage," said ZF Chief Executive Officer Dr. Stefan Sommer on the occasion of the official inauguration on November 27, 2013. Just as Thailand, where ZF already started with the axle assembly for passenger cars five years ago, Malaysia is among the so-called "Next-15 States". Experts believe that these countries will see a significant increase in automotive demand by 2020. Therefore, many manufacturers - and suppliers like ZF - are already establishing production capacities on site to have a head start for the foreseeable market dynamics.

In Kulim, ZF will start with the assembly of CKD axles (Completely Knocked Down), i.
e. the axle sets are delivered ready-to-install from other ZF locations. The ZF customer on site is the BMW Group; the front and rear axles will be installed in several BMW and Mini model ranges. "The new plant in Kulim is an expansion of our worldwide network of axle assembly locations. It benefits from the production capacities that are already available in the region and from our experience in Asia-Pacific," says Dr. Peter Holdmann, who is responsible for the international business with passenger car axle systems in ZF's Car Chassis Technology division.

Since the end of the 1990s, the just-in-time and just-in-sequence assembly of front and rear axles for passenger car manufacturers has been one of the important international fields of action for the ZF Group. At a total of 16 locations worldwide, the Group produces complete axle sets near the customer, with eight locations in the region of Asia-Pacific.

Since 1987, ZF has been on site with a representative office in the growth region of Asia-Pacific. The ZF branch in Singapore has been bundling the Group's market activities since 2005. In 2012, the Group achieved sales of EUR3.18 billion in the region. ZF has a total of roughly 8,000 employees in Asia-Pacific, and further growth is expected.

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