7 November 2017
Osram and Continental planning JV for intelligent lighting solutions in the automotive sector
Lighting firm Osram GmbH and automotive technology firm Continental AG in Germany are to establish a Munich-registered 50:50 joint venture Osram Continental GmbH combining lighting technology with electronics and software to develop, manufacture and market intelligent lighting solutions for the automotive industry.
The aim is to generate annual sales in the mid-triple-digit-million-euro range with a workforce of around 1500 and 17 locations worldwide. Dirk Linzmeier (CEO) from Osram and Harald Renner (CFO) from Continental have been named as designated managing directors. The JV is scheduled to start in 2018, subject to final agreement on the binding contracts and anti-trust approvals.
Osram will transfer its automotive solid-state lighting (SSL) module business over to the JV. Continental will be incorporating its light control business from its Body & Security business unit. This will lead Osram Continental to combine semiconductor-based lighting modules, advanced electronics, optics and software expertise with access to sensor technology and innovative light sources. Osram Continental will therefore be able to offer a broad range of end-to-end, innovative lighting solutions, designed especially for headlight and tail-light applications. The intention is to work together to design coordinated and innovative products and solutions, and bring them to market more quickly. The JV will operate on the market as a standalone company.
“The joint venture is a sign that Osram is focusing its efforts consistently on digitalization,” says Osram Licht AG chief technology officer Stefan Kampmann. “Continental’s expertise in software and electronics is the perfect complement to our technology leadership in automotive lighting. It will create a forward-looking company for digital automotive lighting,” he adds.
“The pace of innovation in the automotive industry lighting segment is rapid, and software is strengthening this dynamic,” says Continental executive board member Helmut Matschi. “While conventional lighting expertise remains important to our customers, the addition of electronics to enable new light functions is taking on increased significance. The joint venture will systematically combine these two areas and raise them to a new level.”
The automotive industry lighting market is in the grip of technological change, says Osram. Similar to the situation with general lighting, the market is moving toward semiconductor-based lighting solutions. Due to increasingly intelligent light functions in vehicles as well as new light-based design and application options, semiconductor-based technology, software and electronics are gaining progressively in importance, the firm adds. Each year, growth in the market for semiconductor-based front lighting solutions is in the double-digit range. Market studies indicate that by as early as 2025 more than half of new cars worldwide could be fitted with semiconductor-based lighting solutions.
Picture: Hans-Joachim Schwabe, CEO of Osram’s Specialty Lighting business unit (left,) and Andreas Wolf, head of Continental’s Body and Security business unit (right).
“Intelligent lighting solutions allow vehicle manufacturers a greater degree of flexibility when it comes to design, and help them to optimize development costs,” says Andreas Wolf, head of Continental´s Body & Security business unit. “The global presence of the Osram Continental joint venture is allowing us to cooperate closely with our customers in order to develop solutions exactly tailored to their needs… We have two technology companies combining their complementary expertise in the context of a joint venture to offer customers a unique range of solutions,” he adds.
“Digitalization is bringing about new potential applications in automotive lighting and hence tremendous opportunities... Thanks to our combined offering of lighting and electronics solutions, we will be able to offer automotive sector customers cutting-edge products from a single source,” says Hans-Joachim Schwabe, CEO of Osram’s Specialty Lighting business unit.
“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,” he adds. “This will allow us to drive forward new intelligent light functions, such as the combination of lighting and sensor technology in a module or light-based communication between the driver, other road users and the vehicle surroundings.”