BMW Group establishes joint venture with SGL Group

Published November 1st, 2009 - 02:22 GMT

The BMW Group and the SGL Group have agreed on the establishment of a joint venture for the production of carbon fibres and textile semi-finished products (CFRP) for use in vehicle construction. The total investment

volume is € 90 million in the first development phase, the two companies

stated on Thursday.

 

The joint venture will be operated through two companies, one based in North

America (SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers LLC), and the other in Germany (SGL

Automotive Fibers GmbH & Co KG). The BMW Group holds 49% of the shares,

and the SGL Group 51%. The two groups will be equally represented in the

management of the two companies; major corporate decisions must be made

unanimously by both partners. The joint venture will initially create around 180

new jobs in North America and Germany. Its establishment is subject to approval

by the cartel authorities.

 

"This joint venture is designed to be a classic win-win situation. We are acquiring

pioneering future technologies and raw materials that we need for our Megacity

Vehicle on competitive terms. The SGL Group is moving into the automobile

business with us as a strong partner," BMW AG Management Board Chairman

Norbert Reithofer emphasised in Munich. "With our concepts within project i, we

are breaking new ground when it comes to vehicle architecture, lightweight design

and the use of materials," Reithofer continued.

 

Robert Koehler, CEO of the SGL Group, stated: "This joint venture with the

BMW Group is a milestone for the use of carbon fibres on an industrial scale in

the automobile industry. For the first time, carbon fibres are taking on an important

role in series vehicle manufacture. This confirms our strategy and shows

that carbon fibre technology is becoming increasingly important in the materials

substitution process to lighter material. This material will help to reduce CO2

emissions and save our natural resources.”

 

Lightweight design has been one of the core skills of the BMW Group for decades

– after all, reducing weight is a major factor in cutting fuel consumption. In

the use of high-tech Carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP), the company is also

able to draw on its many years of experience. CFRP not only plays an important

role in motor sports; the material is also used in series vehicles, such as in the

roof of the BMW M6 Coupé.

 

In the Megacity Vehicle, which will be launched under a BMW sub-brand in the

first half of the next decade, the high-strength yet ultra-light material will make up

a significant proportion of the materials used. The combination of the advanced

CFRP fibres developed by the SGL Group and the BMW Group's expertise in

the industrial manufacture of CFRP components is making it possible, for the

first time, to install CFRP on a large scale in a series vehicle at a competitive

cost.

 

With the joint venture, the BMW Group is underlining its position as the most

sustainable vehicle manufacturer. This claim is reflected throughout the entire

value creation chain, from component purchasing to recycling. Producing CFRP

in a way that protects resources is therefore a high priority. The high energy requirement for the production of carbon fibres is to be met completely by environmentally friendly hydropower. This is one of the preconditions for the production site of carbon fibres in North America. The raw material is then processed into a carbon fibre fabric at the second location in Germany. Parts and components will then be made from this light-weight durable fabric within the BMW Group.


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