Global automotive supplier and tire maker Continental AG said it plans to make the Philippines its production hub for a new satellite sensor for the Asian market as it strengthens its sales network and manufacturing operations in the region.
Continental has so far invested 197 million euros or $268 million in its two plants in the country, Plant Manila at the FTI Complex in Taguig City and Plant Calamba in Laguna, which employ a total of 1,750 people.
Bernhard Klumpp, executive vice president for Continental’s Passive Safety and Sensorics Business Unit, said their two plants in the Philippines are part of a sophisticated global production footprint and represent a strategic investment in Asia markets.
Klumpp said Continental will add three new products to be manufactured in Plant Calamba.
“The Philippines will be the production hub for a satellite sensor for the Asian market, the first Asian country to manufacture this product, and also the advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) and wheel speed sensor for the Asian market,” Klumpp said.
“Both plants in Manila and Calamba were able to benefit from developments of new technologies in the automotive sector. Both have always shown to be professionally run, with highly motivated and skilled employees determined to make their success. As result, both plants have become important locations in the manufacturing footprint of Continental around the globe,” Klumpp added.
Plant Manila is marking its 40th year of operations while Plant Calamba is celebrating its 10th year.
Continental’s production target is to make 20 million satellite sensors annually, 4 million ADAS units per year and 16 million wheel speed sensors per year.
“For the satellite sensors, we are already procuring equipment and installing that in Europe. It will be transferred this year in Plant Calamba and we will be producing the first samples in January of 2015,” said Detlev von Ramm, general manager of the Calamba Plant, also known as Continental Temic (Phils) Inc.
“Also, for ADAS, [production]is coming in at the end of this year. For the wheel speed sensors, production will start early in 2016. The installation will happen next year. We basically need one year from the release of the product until production equipment is installed,” he said.
“Continental’s strategy is to build and strengthen its network and manufacturing in Asia where the company intends to make between 20-25 percent of its total sales by 2015,” Ramm said.
All output from the Calamba Plant is exported, he said. Some 44 percent is shipped to the US market, 37 percent to Europe, and 19 percent to Asia, mainly to China, Korea, and Japan.