With regard to the sales figures of the first half year, it should be noted that the most recent acquisitions were consolidated for the first time in this period. Excluding the acquisitions, MAHLE grew by 3.8 percent in the first half of the year, and thus faster than the global vehicle market. During the same period, the production of passenger cars and light commercial vehicles rose by 2.4 percent, and medium and heavy duty commercial vehicles by just 1.3 percent. “We expect an increase in sales of at least 4 to 5 percent for the year as a whole,” explained Wolf-Henning Scheider, Chairman of the MAHLE Management Board and CEO, during the press conference at the IAA Commercial Vehicles in Hanover. Consequently, MAHLE will achieve sales of more than Euro 12 billion for the very first time in 2016. As at June 30, the MAHLE Group had a total headcount of around 76,800 employees—1.6 percent more than at the turn of the year.
“As already announced at our press conference on the Financial Statements in spring, the integration of the new divisions is connected with additional expenditure that initially impacts our result. Moreover, the recently acquired units have not yet reached the earning capacity of the existing MAHLE divisions,” asserted Scheider. As a result, EBIT is at 4 percent in the first half year. This represents an increase compared with the first half year of the full consolidation period of the new acquisitions the second half of 2015. “Internally, however, we can already see evidence of the additional knowledge and expertise gained in key areas and that our innovative strength has been solidified. This applies particularly to the fields of electric drives and thermal management” said Scheider. Compared with the same period of the previous year, MAHLE has further expanded the investments in research and development. The research and development ratio rose from 5.6 percent to 6 percent in the first half-year. In the same period, MAHLE registered 174 patents, which corresponds to at least one patent per working day.
Consistent pursuit of dual strategy
MAHLE is systematically embracing a dual strategy. This means that, on the one hand, MAHLE is working intensively on the further optimization of the combustion engine. “This technology still has a great deal of potential that we intend to exploit,” stressed Scheider. “On the other hand, we are also focusing on the development of alternative drive concepts, such as battery-based e-mobility and fuel cells,” added Scheider. The company is not just focusing on the ongoing development of the conventional powertrain, even for commercial vehicles. Electrification will increasingly contribute to improving efficiency also in this vehicle sector. “MAHLE is already offering the necessary technologies today, such as thermal soaking systems for batteries,” remarked Scheider.
Efficiency and driver comfort complement each other
Systems used to ensure a good atmosphere in the driver’s cabin currently cause an increase in fuel consumption of approximately 0.2 liters per 100 kilometers. With the ECO A/C system from MAHLE, however, the increase in consumption is limited to only 0.03 liters per 100 kilometers, which corresponds to a reduction of 83 percent. This outstanding result was attained by redesigning or optimizing all components, their interaction with the overall system, and the controls of the air conditioning system. “This example clearly shows how we achieve impressive results by both addressing the various components and taking a systems approach,” explained Scheider.
At the same time, we are working with BHTC, the joint subsidiary of MAHLE and Hella, to optimize the operability of the air conditioning system. The objective is to create haptic operation via a touch screen, which also responds to swipe gestures. In this way, the driver can better focus on the traffic and is therefore safer on the road. Safety is also about allowing drivers to recover during breaks. Thermal comfort plays a key role in this respect. The electrical standstill air conditioning from MAHLE ensures pleasant temperatures—for up to eight hours with zero emissions and in virtual silence.