Interview Peter Gutzmer: We’re in intensive dialogue with Chinese OEMs

“We’re in intensive dialogue with Chinese OEMs.”

CTI Symposium 2016 – Interview with Peter Gutzmer, Deputy CEO, Schaeffler AG

Peter Gutzmer: At the moment the biggest change we’re experiencing in our scene, in the drive sector, is definitely the discussion about electrification. It’s always incredibly hard to predict the future. Remember Kaiser Wilhelm – he backed horses. Today we’re backing electric mobility, and that’s certainly sensible. But we need to be careful because, as we saw clearly again today, the road that leads there is very complex. It’s a very difficult road to follow. We need to take both roads: the all-electric world and the combined world – internal combustion engine plus electrification, which will take place in different stages.

CTI: You were one of the first people on the supplier side who not only accepted the topic of electric mobility, but actively addressed it too. In fact you’ve been promoting electrification for years on stages all over the world. Surely that must be an advantage when you interact with the OEMs?

Gutzmer: It’s true, we started working on the topic internally at the beginning of 2000, building up vehicles, hybrid automobiles and other solutions. For us it’s very important to know what the future, and change, means for our products. What new skills and products do we need so we can help to shape this future? Because we want to play an active role. And it’s true that today we’re in very intensive dialogue with the OEMs – and, I must say, particularly with the Chinese OEMs, where electric mobility is a priority that’s also driven by legislation. And the homework we’ve done already has paid of so far, and we plan to intensify that further still.

CTI: So you’re not concerned about the future at all?

Gutzmer: Not at all! Because we have skills and fields of competence that will still be needed for a long time. There’s the internal combustion engine, in a modified and further optimized form. And we’re already working in the new fields. We have solutions there, and we’ll be bringing them to market more strongly from 2018 / 2019 on. And then we’ll see what volume we’re looking at. There are still uncertainties with regard to yields, to the way the value chain will be structured, and also – as you rightly pointed out – how that value will be shared between the OEMs and the suppliers. And also in terms of what the competitive environment will look like. All our competitors are moving forward strongly now too. But competition is good for business, so we’re not concerned.