Continental has announced that it is planning to set up a joint venture (JV) with global lighting manufacturer Osram, which would operate under the name Osram Continental GmbH. The JV company would look at combining innovative lighting technology with electronics and software, in order to develop, manufacture and market intelligent lighting solutions for the automotive industry. Continental and Osram will each have 50 % stake in the JV that will be headquartered in the Munich region. Osram Continental GmbH is scheduled to start in 2018 with the aim to generate annual sales in the mid-triple-digit-million-euro range, with a workforce of about 1,500 employees and 17 locations.
According to the agreement, Osram will transfer its automotive Solid State Lighting (SSL) module business over to the JV, with Continental incorporating its light control division from the Body and Security business unit. This would lead Osram Continental to combine semiconductor-based lighting modules, advanced electronics, optics and software expertise with access to sensor technology and innovative light sources, the company said. This would lead to the company being able to offer a range of end-to-end, innovative lighting solutions, designed especially for headlight and tail light applications. The JV would operate on the market as a standalone company.
Continental said that the automotive industry lighting market is in the grip of technological change. Similar to the situation with general lighting, this market is moving toward semiconductor-based lighting solutions, it added. In addition, increasing intelligent light functions in vehicles, as well as new light-based design and application options are making semiconductor-based technology, software and electronics gain progressively in importance.
Helmut Matschi, Member, Continental Executive Board, said the pace of innovation in the automotive industry lighting segment is rapid, and software is strengthening this dynamic. While conventional lighting expertise remains important to customers, the addition of electronics to enable new light functions is taking on increased significance, he added. Matschi noted that this JV would systematically combine these two areas and raise them to a new level.
The joint venture is a sign that the company is focusing its efforts consistently on digitalization, observed Stefan Kampmann, Member, Management Board, Osram Licht AG. He said Continental’s expertise in software and electronics is the perfect complement to Osram’s technology leadership in automotive lighting. Kampmann said, “It will create a forward-looking company for digital automotive lighting.”
Hans-Joachim Schwabe, CEO, Specialty Lighting business unit, Osram, said digitalisation is bringing about new potential applications in automotive lighting and hence tremendous opportunities to take advantage of with Continental. Schwabe added, “By joining forces, we will be in an even better position to drive forward innovations by working closely with the automotive industry to integrate lighting, sensor technology and electronics seamlessly in a single application.”