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Continental to Further Develop Japanese Automotive Joint Venture

(PresseBox) (Yokohama City, Japan, ) .
- The international automotive supplier Continental has entered into an agreement to enrich its market presence and product portfolio through the Japanese Joint Venture
- Continental Automotive Corporation and integrate additional safety products including airbag control units and automotive sensors
- Promotion of local knowhow as growth in Asia remains a key strategic objective

The international automotive supplier Continental has entered into an agreement to increase its stake in Continental Automotive Corporation (CAC), the Japanese joint venture with Nisshinbo Holdings Inc., from 51 % to 60% in 2010. This will allow Continental's Chassis & Safety Division to integrate its airbag systems and sensorics business, confirming its strategic position as a major supplier of chassis and safety systems in Asia and in Japan, in particular.

"With this step, Continental is strengthening its joint venture with Nisshinbo considerably", said Dr. Ralf Cramer, member of the Continental Executive Board and President of the Chassis & Safety Division. "Chassis & Safety aims at achieving 25 % of its sales in Asia with the full range of its product portfolio, from highend to affordable solutions in hydraulic and electronic brake systems, passive safety and driver assistance systems as well as sensorics and chassis components. The joint venture will aim to provide a wide range of passive and active safety products for our customers in Japan and Asia, from single components to our fully integrated system solution ContiGuard®".

CAC, headquartered in Yokohama City, Japan, was established in 2000 as a joint venture between Continental and Nisshinbo Industries, Inc. and employs a workforce of approximately 1,700 with 9 manufacturing facilities, R&D centers, test tracks and offices in Japan, Korea and China. The company offers a wide range of safety and chassis components and systems to its Japanese and Asian customers, ranging from hydraulic and electronic brake systems to chassis and surrounding sensors.

Based on an existing successful organization, this expanded joint venture will provide for a broader business scope, which will include products and systems also out of Changchun, China and Cheongwon, Korea.

"Continental is convinced that successful and sustainable growth in Asia and with Asian customers can only be achieved by strengthening the local R&D, sales, and production competence we have in the respective countries", said Dietmar Siemssen, President and CEO, Continental Automotive Corporation. "In this regard, our decision underlines our commitment towards our customers, to support them with the complete safety product portfolio and development capabilities in their programs in Asia and worldwide. In this respect, our joint venture with Nisshinbo plays a very important role. For that reason, Continental plans to increase its share to 60% in 2010 with this agreement".

Nisshinbo Holdings Inc. oversees six companies, among them Nisshinbo Mechatronics Inc., developing, manufacturing, processing, selling, importing and exporting special industrial machinery, other machinery and its parts. Nisshinbo Mechatronics Inc. has been closely linked to the success of Continental Automotive in Japan, being a cooperation partner since the 1980s.

The growth of the Asian OEMs worldwide is not only expected to increase the demand for standard safety features such as ABS and airbags, Continental also expects an increase in the installation of ESC and other new features in new vehicles, up to integrated safety systems like ContiGuard®. With this agreement, the CAC joint venture will be well positioned to offer such integrated system solutions. On the other side of the spectrum, Continental believes that growing demand for individual mobility in countries like China and India will lead to more demand for bestcost products.

The Automotive Group is one of the leading global automotive suppliers. With its three Divisions Chassis & Safety (€5.1 billion, 27,000 employees), Powertrain (€4 billion, 25,000 employees) and Interior (€5.9 billion, more than 30,000 employees) it achieved sales of approximately €15 billion in 2008. The Automotive Group is present in more than 130 locations worldwide. As a partner of the automotive and commercial vehicle industry, it develops and produces innovative products and systems for a modern automotive future, in which a car accommodates individual mobility and driving pleasure to driving safety, environmental responsibility and costefficiency.

The Chassis & Safety Division develops and produces electronic and hydraulic brake and chassis control systems, sensors, driver assistance systems, air bag control systems, washer systems as well as electronic air suspension systems. Its core competence is the integration of active and passive driving safety into ContiGuard®. The Powertrain Division integrates innovative and efficient system solutions for vehicle powertrains. The comprehensive range of products includes gasoline and diesel injection systems, engine management, transmission control, including sensors and actuators, as well as fuelsupply systems and components and systems for hybrid drives. Information management is at the very heart of the Interior Division. The range of products includes instrument clusters and multifunctional displays, control units, electronic carentry systems, tiremonitoring systems, radios, multimedia and navigation systems, climate control systems, telematics solutions as well as cockpit modules and systems.

Continental Reifen Deutschland GmbH

With sales of approximately €24 billion in 2008, Continental is among the leading automotive suppliers worldwide. As a supplier of brake systems, systems and components for powertrains and chassis, instrumentation, infotainment solutions, vehicle electronics, tires and technical elastomers, Continental contributes enhanced driving safety and global climate protection. Continental is also a competent partner in networked automobile communication. Continental currently employs approximately 134,000 at nearly 190 locations in 37 countries.