ZF is working to introduce a new alternative to the usual fully automatic or manual gearbox offered in intercity coaches, the automated transmission.
Seen against this background, ZF's strategy is clearly heading for "automatic shifting": For the city bus, ZF will continue to offer the tried-and-tested automatic transmission Ecomat, since it provides the combined advantages of optimum drive comfort and powerful primary retarder function - advantages confirmed by the market. In the city bus sector, for more than 12 t GVW, ZF is the global market leader. About 180,000 buses equipped with the Ecomat are on the roads worldwide. In 2000 alone, 20,000 transmissions are expected to be produced at the locations Friedrichshafen (Germany), Sorocaba (Brazil) and Kawasaki (Japan). Since 1998, ZF has been producing the Ecomat 2 with the additional technical features CAN-communication and EDC motors, expanded diagnosis capacity, reduced service and maintenance work, as well as lowered life-cycle costs.
For the tourist coach, however, ZF is counting on the automatic transmission system AS Tronic, because here the advantages of high engine performance and even better economy are decisive. The market launch with bus customers Neoplan and Setra has already been staged in Europe. Altogether, about 100 vehicles equipped with the modern transmission system are on the road. And the prospects are good: Even if market penetration will not reach that of the Ecomat, every second ZF bus transmission will nevertheless be an AS Tronic transmission in the segment for heavy tourist coaches and scheduled service buses, and the decision has already been made to include lower torques in the product range.
The global ZF Group, a leading automotive systems supplier of driveline technology, steering and suspension components, is headquartered in Friedrichshafen, Germany. It employs more than 33,000 people worldwide and operates over 50 facilities in 17 countries. In 1999, the ZF Group posted sales of $5.6 billion. With sales of $1.2 billion in 1999 and sales of approximately $1.7 billion in 2000, the ZF Group in NAFTA expects sales over $2 billion by the year 2002. ZF Group North American Operations is headquartered in Cincinnati, OH, and operates 17 production sites in the NAFTA region.
Prospects: within the next five years, every second ZF bus transmission sold to the coach and service bus segment will be an AS Tronic. – less – More from ZoomInfo »