The global automotive industry is undergoing the greatest and most profound transformation in its history of over 130 years. Connectivity, automated driving, new safety solutions and clean mobility concepts are changing the industry at astonishing speed. At the same time, manufacturers and suppliers are increasing the complexity and diversity of models and speeding up development cycles. This is continuously increasing quality expectations.
For Continental, the combination of pioneering innovations with high product quality is laying the foundation for sustainable products and solutions. As part of our quality policy, we have set ourselves the objective of being recognized by our customers as a benchmark in quality. This means that we want to develop innovative products at the high quality that our customers expect from us. Together with our customers, we can thus make a contribution to more sustainable mobility. In accordance with our corporate strategy, we implement the quality policy with a close connection to the local markets through our worldwide development centers and quality labs as well as quality officers and certified quality management systems at our locations. This decentralized implementation is coordinated and supported by the Global Quality Leadership Team, which comprises representatives of the central functions, divisions and countries. Standardized product life cycle processes, adapted to the needs of the various business fields, ensure systematic and high-quality product development across all stages – from innovation to the end of parts supply. These processes are continuously being developed and optimized.
Results and performance indicators
We already offer our customers a broad range of products that contribute to safe and clean mobility, for example the following solutions:
- Virtual A-pillar: Forward blind spots are eliminated thanks to an integrated OLED display and the combination of head-movement tracking and live images of the exterior environment.
- EcoContact 6: This high-tech summer tire for passenger cars delivers the highest standards of safety, precise handling, long tire life and low fuel consumption. It offers a 20% longer tire life and a 15% lower rolling resistance, and is currently certified under EU label A/A in about 40 sizes.
- Super Clean Electrified Diesel: A Continental research vehicle is proving that “super clean” diesel is possible. Specialists from the corporation have equipped a production vehicle of the Euro 6b emissions standard with Continental technologies already available, thus reducing its nitrogen oxide emissions to such an extent that it keeps well within even future limits from 2020 in everyday use.
- People’s hybrid: A 48-volt electric motor, which entered production in 2018, forms the core of an electrified powertrain. The combination of zero-emission coasting, early activation of the start-stop function and improved brake energy regeneration is proven to reduce consumption by as much as 21% in real driving conditions.
- Electronic air spring damping solution: When a commercial vehicle is traveling on the highway, its air resistance and thus fuel consumption can be reduced by lowering the vehicle’s entire cab.
In the reporting year, products that are energy efficient or help to reduce pollutant or carbon dioxide emissions accounted for nearly 40% of consolidated sales, by our own estimates.
The foundation for the industrial implementation of these solutions is laid by anchoring quality in the development and production processes. At the end of 2018, over 250 Continental development and production locations had certified quality management systems according to IATF 16949 or ISO 9001 or similar. This represents the major development and production locations and encompasses nearly 90% of the total workforce. The IATF 16949 standard is the quality management standard adapted specifically to the requirements of the automotive industry.
You will find more information on product innovations and quality aspects in the Research and Development section, the Report on Risks and Opportunities, “Other Disclosures” in the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements and online under the Products & Innovations heading.