The Continental Group comprises three group sectors and 21 business units.
The Continental Group is divided into the group sectors Automotive Technologies, Rubber Technologies and Powertrain Technologies. These sectors comprise five business areas with a total of 21 business units (as of January 1, 2021). A business area or business unit is classified according to product requirements, market trends, customer groups and distribution channels. The business areas and business units have overall responsibility for their business, including their results.
The legally independent Powertrain business area operates under the name Vitesco Technologies. This has no effect on the financial reporting of the Powertrain business area within the Continental Group.
Overall responsibility for managing the company is borne by the Executive Board of Continental Aktiengesellschaft (AG). Each business area is represented by one Executive Board member.
To ensure a unified business strategy, an Automotive Board was established in the Automotive Technologies group sector, with the CEO of Continental AG serving as chairman.
With the exception of Group Purchasing, the central functions of Continental AG are represented by the chairman of the Executive Board, the chief financial officer and the Executive Board member responsible for Human Relations. They take on the functions required to manage the Continental Group across business areas. These include, in particular, finance, controlling, compliance, law, IT, human relations, sustainability, as well as quality and environment.
Companies and locations
Continental AG is the parent company of the Continental Group. In addition to Continental AG, the Continental Group comprises 563 companies, including non-controlled companies. The Continental team is made up of 236,386 employees at a total of 561 locations in the areas of production, research and development, and administration, in 58 countries and markets. Added to this are the distribution locations, with 955 company-owned tire outlets and a total of around 5,000 franchises and operations with a Continental brand presence.
With a 69% share of consolidated sales, automotive manufacturers are our most important customer group. This industry is accordingly important for the growth of the Automotive Technologies and Powertrain Technologies group sectors. In the Tires business area of the Rubber Technologies group sector, sales to dealers and end customers represent the largest share of the tire-replacement business. In the ContiTech business area, important customers come from both the automotive industry and other key industries such as railway engineering, machine and plant construction, mining and the replacement business.
The Autonomous Mobility and Safety business area develops, produces and integrates active and passive safety technologies and controls vehicle dynamics. The product portfolio ranges from electronic and hydraulic brake and chassis control systems to sensors, advanced driver assistance systems, airbag electronics and sensors, electronic air suspension systems and cleaning systems for windscreens and headlights. Autonomous Mobility and Safety has a high level of systems expertise in the interconnectivity of individual components. As a result, products and system functions are created along the “SensePlanAct” chain of effects. These make driving safer and easier and pave the way for autonomous mobility.
The business area is divided into four business units:
- Advanced Driver Assistance Systems
- Hydraulic Brake Systems
- Passive Safety and Sensorics
- Vehicle Dynamics
The Vehicle Networking and Information business area, with its vision of “Always On,” sees the vehicle of the future as a partner that supports its passengers with intelligent and secure solutions – seamlessly networked, user-friendly, convenient and smart. The business area develops and integrates components and end-to-end systems for connected mobility – architecture, hardware, software and services. With solutions for networking, human-machine interaction, user experience, high-performance computing, digital services and system integration for passenger cars, light commercial vehicles and fleets, Vehicle Networking and Information ensures stable and safe connectivity and smooth information flows for connected mobility.
The business area is divided into three business units:
- Commercial Vehicles and Services
- Connected Car Networking
- Human Machine Interface
With its premium portfolio in the car, truck, bus, two-wheel and specialty tire segment, the Tires business area stands for innovative top performance in tire technology. Services for dealers and fleet management as well as digital tire monitoring and management systems are further areas of focus. The aim is to contribute to safe, economical and sustainable mobility. In the reporting year, 23% of sales related to business with vehicle manufacturers, and 77% related to the tire-replacement business.
As of January 1, 2021, changes have been made to the organizational structure of the Tires business area. In order to ensure greater customer proximity and focus and increase organizational efficiency, the passenger-car business and the commercial-vehicle business have been merged into a single business unit. The Tires business area is now divided into five business units:
- Original Equipment
- Replacement, APAC (Asia and Pacific region)
- Replacement, EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa)
- Replacement, The Americas (North, Central and South America)
- Specialty Tires
The ContiTech business area focuses on smart and sustainable solutions beyond rubber and develops digital and intelligent solutions in future-oriented sectors. In doing so, ContiTech draws on its long-standing knowledge of the industry and materials to open up new business opportunities by combining various materials with electronic components and individual services. The products, systems and solutions developed by ContiTech are used both in the automotive industry as well as in railway engineering, machine and plant construction, mining, agriculture and other important sectors of the future. In the reporting year, 48% of sales related to business with automotive manufacturers, and 52% related to business with other industries and in the automotive replacement market.
The Air Spring Systems and Vibration Control business units were consolidated into one business unit – Advanced Dynamics Solutions – on January 1, 2021. The business area is now divided into six business units:
- Advanced Dynamics Solutions
- Conveying Solutions
- Industrial Fluid Solutions
- Mobile Fluid Systems
- Power Transmission Group
- Surface Solutions
The Powertrain business area brings together the full spectrum of Continental’s drivetrain technology expertise. Powertrain’s aim is to develop innovative, efficient electrification technologies for all types of vehicle. Its portfolio includes 48-volt electrification solutions, electric drives, and power electronics for hybrid and batteryelectric vehicles. Furthermore, Powertrain develops and produces high-voltage boxes, electronic controls, sensors, actuators, turbochargers, hydraulic components and pumps as well as solutions for exhaust-gas aftertreatment.
The business area is divided into three business units:
- Electronic Controls
- Electrification Technology
- Sensing and Actuation
Globally interconnected value creation
Research and development (R&D) took place at 88 locations in the reporting year, predominantly in close proximity to our customers to ensure that we can respond flexibly to their various requirements and to regional market conditions. This applies particularly to projects of Automotive Technologies and Powertrain Technologies, as well as the ContiTech business area. The fundamental product requirements for tires are much the same across the world. They are adapted according to the specific requirements of each market. In this respect, R&D has a largely centralized structure in the Tires business area. Continental generally invests between 7% and 8% of sales in R&D each year. For more information, see the Research and Development section.
Continental processes a wide range of raw materials and semifinished products. The purchasing volume in the reporting year was €24.4 billion in total, €16.7 billion of which was for production materials. Automotive Technologies and Powertrain Technologies use primarily steel, aluminum, precious metals, copper and plastics. Key areas when it comes to purchasing materials and semi-finished products include electronics and electromechanical components, which together make up about 45% of the Continental Group’s purchasing volume for production materials. Furthermore, mechanical components account for nearly a quarter of production materials. Natural rubber and oil-based chemicals such as synthetic rubber and carbon black are key raw materials for Rubber Technologies. The total purchasing volume for these materials amounts to around a sixth of the total volume for production materials. For more information, see the Development of Raw Materials Markets section in the economic report.
Production and sales in Automotive Technologies and Powertrain Technologies as well as in the ContiTech business area are organized across regions. Tire production activities, in which economies of scale play a key role, are represented with major locations in the three dominant automotive markets in terms of production and vehicle numbers, namely Europe, the USA and China. Low production costs coupled with large volumes and proximity to our customers or high rates of regional growth constitute key success factors. Tires are sold worldwide via our dealer network with tire outlets and franchises, as well as through tire trading in general.