9.22.2014

采埃孚收购天合 智能汽车大战已经打响 (ZF acquisition of TRW - Smart car war has begun)


Jiemian.com, September 15, 2014



9月15日,全球三大变速箱厂商之一的德国采埃孚股份有限公司(ZF Friedrichshafen AG)与美国天合(TRW)发布官方声明,前者以135亿美元价格收购后者,将组建全球规模第二大的零部件供应商巨头。

同日,采埃孚同德国博世签订协议,将所持采埃孚转向机公司的50%股权全部售予博世,为收购天合铺平了道路。为了避免欧盟反垄断机构的阻碍,完成收购天合,采埃孚需要出售所持采埃孚转向系统中的股份。

1999年,采埃孚同博世组建了采埃孚转向系统公司,在八个国家设有工厂,全球员工总数达1.3万多人;2013年营业收入达41.1亿欧元(约合55亿美元)。而天合集团也拥有较大规模的转向系统业务,2013年该领域营业收入达27亿美元,在其整体营收中的占比为15.5%。

2013年《美国汽车新闻》公布的全球汽车零部件配套供应商排名显示,采埃孚与天合公司分别位居第九名与第十三名。德国博世以367.87亿美元营业额连续三年位居榜首,日本电装和德国大陆集团位居其后。排名前五的供应商营业额均在300亿元以上。

以采埃孚和天合2013年的营业额计算,合并后将达到327.55亿美元。而重组后通过资源与规模整合,采埃孚与天合有望成为全球第二大规模的零部件经销商。

为了筹集收购天合资金和避免欧洲反垄断机构阻碍,将采埃孚转向机公司全部售予博世,反而使博世从中获益。博世CEO沃尔克马尔·邓纳尔在一份声明中表示:“采埃孚转向系统在不断增长的电动助力转向领域是技术领袖,而这恰恰是自动驾驶、节能环保乃至电动车的核心技术。”

但分析人士认为,与其全部收购采埃孚转向业务,博世可能更希望继续保持原有的合作关系。德国杜伊斯堡大学汽车研究中心主任Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer说:”博世因此迎来了一个不得不小心应对的业内竞争者,我不认为这(收购)是博世的优先方案。”

邓纳尔则公开表示:"我们喜欢竞争,并不担心采埃孚的‘雄心’。"

采埃孚以变速箱和传动系统为主要业务,其8速和9速自动变速箱都是目前最先进的变速箱之一。麦兹勒银行(Bankhaus Metzler)驻法兰克福的分析师皮珀(Juergen Pieper)认为:“传动装置很可能成为逐渐消亡的产业,对于一家公司来说,成为一个夕阳产业的一部分并不是件好事。“
电动汽车的快速发展,也给以变速箱生产见长的采埃孚带来冲击。

采埃孚此次收购增强了在电子器件领域的实力。采埃孚CEO 斯特凡•索默(StefanSommer)表示:收购天合公司,将有助于采埃孚抓住汽车行业发展的大趋势,例如燃油效率、安全需求以及自动驾驶等方面的技术提升。

IHS汽车咨询公司亚太区总监赵英智认为,这次收购的意义首先是生产规模的扩大。与博世、电装和大陆集团的研发实力处于同一水平,对采埃孚提高成本竞争力和创新能力至关重要。其次,这家公司成功地转向了汽车零部件的下一个快速增长领域,采埃孚意识到了在互联汽车领域占领一席之地的重要性。全面的组件集合业务也将成为下一个高利润增长领域。”天合公司生产的(以及正在开发中的)传感器技术将是这一战略的关键因素。“

高风咨询有限公司董事总经理Bill Russo说:”采埃孚此次收购天合是为了提高在移动互联网领域的实力,看中的是天合研发的自动驾驶技术(包括雷达系统和摄像技术等)。采埃孚在谷歌等科技公司可能介入之前,先一步采取了行动,试图获得天合的先进技术。“

Bill Russo还说:“这次并购意味着智能汽车技术的‘战争’已经逐渐形成,传统汽车供应商将与包括互联网巨头在内的新进入者进行竞争。”

在国内,采埃孚为ABB(奥迪、宝马、奔驰)提供技术性的生产支持,例如向ABB直接提供组装好的整个前后车桥(涵盖调校)。采埃孚和电动车商也已经展开合作,去年采埃孚获得了特斯拉颁发的优秀供应商奖。

Click here to read the original article

9.21.2014

How Connected Mobility Technology is Driving the Future of the Automotive Industry

September 22, 2014


How Connected Mobility Technology is Driving the Future of the Automotive Industry from Synergistics Limited

We are pleased to share with you a report titled How Connected Mobility Technology Is Driving The Future Of The Automotive Industry. This new report is the product of a collaboration between Gao Feng Advisory Company and our partners at 31ºNorth Innovation Exchange. Based in Tel Aviv, 31ºNorth Innovation Exchange specializes in connecting new cutting edge technologies and traditional industries by establishing investments and commercial activity in the automotive, energy, smart city and cyber security sectors. 

With the increasing prevalence of the wireless internet and mobile devices, we expect that the Internet of Vehicles will create discontinuous opportunities for product and business model innovation in the automotive industry. We believe the conditions in China – the world's largest auto market and the market with the largest number of both internet and "smart phone" users – will likely make it the incubator for rapid commercialization of such innovations. China's urban transportation challenge, the high rate of adoption of connected mobile devices, combined with the rapid and aggressive introduction of alternative mobility and vehicle ownership concepts from new entrants, will ultimately compress the time needed to commercialize smart, connected car technologies and related services. Such developments will dramatically alter not just the feature content of vehicles, but may also usher in a revolution to the business model of the automotive industry – where a model focused on "users of mobility services" could emerge as a real alternative to the traditional model of "car ownership”. 

We welcome your comments and feedback on our briefing paper or in general about our firm. We would be glad to meet you in person to share our data and perspectives in a fuller manner. Please let us know if you are interested in meeting and discussing directly how we can help you to operationalize these insights. Thought leadership is core to what Gao Feng does. 

We will, from time to time, share with you our latest thinking on business and management, especially as it relates to China and China’s role in the world. 

Dr. Edward Tse 
CEO, Gao Feng Advisory Company 
edward.tse@gaofengadv.com

Bill Russo 
Managing Director, Gao Feng Advisory Company 
bill.russo@gaofengadv.com 

Chee-Kiang Lim
Principal, Gao Feng Advisory Company
ck.lim@gaofengadv.com 

Tel: +86 10 8557 0676 (Beijing); +852 2588 3554 (Hong Kong); +86 21 5117 5853 (Shanghai) 

Gao Feng website: www.gaofengadv.com

9.17.2014

China in 2025 and Implications for the Automotive Industry: Part 1


The rapid emergence of China’s economy is historically without parallel.  As a result of the past two decades of expansion, China now accounts for more than one-tenth of the global economy, and has become the world’s second largest economy.  While the Asia-Pacific region will contribute nearly one-third of the world’s GDP by 2015, the dominant contribution will come from China.  While concern has been raised over the slowing rate of economic growth, one fact will prevail:  China will remain the growth engine for the world economy for the foreseeable future.

As China attempts to rebalance its economy towards a more sustainable growth pattern that puts a greater emphasis on domestic consumption, we anticipate many cyclical and structural changes and volatility.  However, a hard landing is unlikely.  Analysts are expecting China to continue to grow between 7% and 8% annually through 2020 (see Figure 1), with continued strong growth anticipated in the industrial and service sectors.


Figure 1:  China Real GDP Forecast By Sectors















For 2015, and beyond: As the picture for the global environment becomes clearer, China will continue to struggle with the challenge of having to meet its pressing social and developmental objectives while experiencing GDP growth of ‘only’ around 8.0% through 2015, well below the rapid expansion seen in the recent past.  Maintaining this growth will require a plan to mitigate risks particularly with regard to inflation, trade protection, currency revaluation, labor supply/cost and rising geopolitical tensions in the Asia/Pacific region.

Despite these difficult challenges, China is likely to maintain strong growth driven by a mix of continued (albeit more selective) fixed-asset investment, and growth in consumption.  Continued investment in infrastructure to support a >60% urbanized population is anticipated.  Household consumption levels will rise as a result of the growth in the population of middle-class wage earners and rising incomes.  A broad transformation is expected to continue and will present an environment that is characterized by a long term and sustained shift towards a middle-income, consumption-based economy.  This trend appears firmly entrenched, representing a profoundly different new economic landscape and a continued shift in the balance of global economic power.

Trends and discontinuities in the political, social and economic landscape will shape China radically by 2025. While the outlook is positive, the path could see some bumps along the way.  Companies need to anticipate these changes to build in flexibility and resilience as part of their horizon scanning.

End of Part 1
Next week:  Plausible Scenarios for the Automotive Industry in 2025
For further discussion, please contact the authors:
Bill Russo
Managing Director,
Gao Feng Advisory Company
bill.russo@gaofengadv.com
Dr. Edward Tse
Founder and CEO,
Gao Feng Advisory Company

Chee-Kiang Lim
Principal,
Gao Feng Advisory Company
ck.lim@gaofengadv.com


9.11.2014

Hunting for deals on wheels in China's developing used car market

Nikkei Asian Review, September 11, 2014




Used cars fill this lot near a residential area in Hefei, in China's Anhui Province. © Reuters


SHANGHAI -- Zhu Xiaohong closely examines a 4-year-old Volkswagen Touran, using the flashlight on his mobile phone. The gray VW sits in what looks like a multistory parking lot but is in fact the Shanghai Used Car Trade Market, the largest of a cluster of secondhand dealers on the city's Zhongshan North Road.

Zhu's conclusion: "I want to buy this car."

Zhu, who has bought used cars twice before, said he cannot afford to buy new. But while used cars are significantly cheaper than new ones in China, prices are higher than in developed overseas markets, and there is often greater uncertainty about quality.

Yasuhiro Konta, a senior manager responsible for secondhand sales at Dongfeng Nissan Passenger Vehicle, explained that it is rare to see a standard going rate for a used car in China. "Each price is decided by negotiation," he said.

This informal system reduces the pressure on sellers to keep prices down, according to Cameron Macqueen, general manager of Southern Cross Warranty, the Chinese arm of Australian financial company Presidian.

"Pricing in China is a lot higher than in the U.S. or Australia -- maybe up to 30% or more for some makes and models," Macqueen said. He estimated average secondhand sale prices at 60,000 yuan ($9,770) nationally, but added that the figure rises to 200,000 yuan in big cities such as Shanghai, where top-end luxury cars are popular.

Trust issues

China's used car market has expanded alongside a dramatic rise in demand for new cars. Sales of new passenger vehicles hit 17.92 million in 2013, according to Deloitte's 2014 China Auto Finance Report, confirming China's status as the world's largest car market.

Bill Russo, managing director of consultancy Gao Feng Advisory, said the supply of used cars is increasing as owners sell into the market rather than handing on vehicles to other family members. Demand, Russo said, is picking up as younger drivers become more comfortable buying preowned.

On the other hand, Russo pointed out that the ratio of secondhand sales to new car sales is much lower in China than overseas, suggesting that there is a lot of room for growth. In the U.S., three used cars are sold for every new car purchased, whereas in China only one used vehicle is sold for every four new ones.

While those numbers could change, the used car market faces considerable challenges. For a start, growth in new car sales appears to be slowing, although it is still high by Western standards. Deloitte, which tracks the industry closely, says it expects annual growth in China's new passenger car sales to fall from 15% in 2013 to 7% over the next few years, with the expansion of the used car market slowing from around 20% a year to 15%.

Used car sales are also hampered by a lack of transparent vehicle records, which often makes buying a matter of chance. Sometimes, sellers cross the line into outright fraud.

"I would say the majority of cars have their odometer wound back, and therefore credibility issues are rife," Macqueen said. "Chinese are not yet up to speed with how to look after their cars, so it is normal for a customer not to trust the history, the quality, of the car they're looking at, or the dealer."

Turning pro

The hit-and-miss nature of the used car market reflects the dominance of independent dealers and brokers.

Wang Meimei's corner of the Shanghai Used Car Trade Market is taken up by a BMW, a Mercedes-Benz and a Volkswagen Passat. "Sometimes I sell a car a day, sometimes a car a week. It varies," said Wang, who is preparing to retire after 10 years on Zhongshan North Road.



The market is changing, however. Alibaba Group, China's largest e-commerce company, recently announced plans to launch a platform for selling used cars online. Conventional dealers are also beginning to offer warranties on preowned vehicles, prodded by companies such as Southern Cross.

New car dealers, known in China as 4S shops, are increasingly moving into the secondhand business, bringing more professional marketing and sales techniques.

Martin Kuehl, a spokesman for Audi China, said the company expects the preowned market to continue to grow and has set up 290 licensed used car dealerships -- including 60 that sell only Audis. Dongfeng Nissan began selling used cars at some of its 4S shops five years ago; last year it sold around 20,000 through more than 60 dealers.

New government regulations that take effect in October are likely to accelerate the trend toward greater professionalism. Authorized dealerships will be free to sell a range of brands, rather than being tied to a single marque. Industry experts say this will give a further boost to the better-run 4S shops, whose more transparent pricing and marketing practices are likely to put pressure on independents to raise their standards.



Potential buyers check out vehicles at the Shanghai Used Car Trade Market. Preowned cars tend to be pricier in China than in other major countries. © Photo by Mark Andrews
     "I see a trend toward businesses who want to build a brand name -- meaning the quality dealers are getting more and more business," Macqueen said.

Some problems will remain, though. Many cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, have implemented measures to try to limit car numbers, usually by restricting the supply of license plates. Many of the cars on sale at Zhongshan North Road carry suburban "Hu C" plates, which do not allow the vehicles to be driven into the city center.

Emission standards also vary between cities and provinces, hampering the creation of a national market, or even of large regional markets.

When a new Ford Fiesta was introduced to China in 2009, models sold in Beijing and Shanghai were compliant with the fourth-generation national emission standard, equivalent to the European Union's Euro IV standard. Models destined for other parts of the country met only the older China III standard.

Today, registering a China III car is difficult nationwide. As a result, those Fiestas are hard to sell.

Click here to read the article at Nikkei Asian Review

8.29.2014

Zhongshan Broad-Ocean Motor aims for at least one acquisition in US or Europe by late 2015, exec says

Mergermarket, August 2014


Chinese motor manufacturer Zhongshan Broad-Ocean Motor (Da Yang Dian Ji) [SHE: 002249] aims to complete at least one acquisition in the US or Europe by the end of 2015, Director of Investment Zhonghua Liu said.

The CNY 10bn (USD 1.6bn) market cap company is searching for new energy vehicle drive motor makers; those with advanced technology in permanent magnet synchronous motors (PMSM) are the most ideal targets. Manufacturers of other types of new energy vehicle drive motors would also be considered.

Broad-Ocean could spend up to USD 100m on the deal. It has not hired financial advisors especially for potential buys and would welcome approaches, Liu said. China Galaxy Securities is the company’s current financial advisor with Shinewing CPA as auditor. 

Targets from Japan or other markets would also be considered, as long as the target owns the technology it needs, Liu added.

The company sees great potential in new energy vehicle business and is therefore looking to quickly boost its presence in the sector via acquisitions. If the potential target had a solid overseas customer base, it would add extra value, but this was not a must, Liu said.

A potential target could be Colorado, USA-based UQM Technologies, according to Bill Russo, founder of Shanghai-based advisory firm Synergistics. He noted that UQM has got both a commercialized PMSM solution with high-kilowatt power and high torque, as well as other systems that can serve the mid-market applications. UQM is more focused on higher payload and higher RPM speed type of applications compared to other companies such as Remy International [RMYI: US].

In order to narrow the technology gap, Chinese players need to make acquisitions; they have a market as the government is likely to build the needed infrastructure for new energy vehicles including refueling or recharging stations, Russo explained, adding that because UQM has received grants from the US government’s Department of Energy, a potential sale to a Chinese player could prove to be politically controversial.

A person familiar with UQM said if the terms and conditions were right, it could consider an outright takeover offer from companies like Broad-Ocean, adding that the company is always looking to build relationships with customers or suppliers.

Broad-Ocean’s revenue increased over 18% to CNY 3.27bn in 2013. Gross profit increased 25% to CNY 603m. The company provides a variety of motors, including those for air conditioners. Motors for air conditioning units are its current core business, accounting for over 65% of total sales.


by Wentao Wang in Sydney, Riccardo Ghia in Hong Kong and Sam Weisberg in New York