see. think. act.
Strategy Strategy

ZF Strategy: Next Generation Mobility

Our mission for clean and safe mobility – automated, convenient and affordable for everyone, everywhere.

Next Generation Mobility

The structural shift in the automotive industry and the mobility transformation continue to accelerate – driven by the digital revolution. The wish of users for a constant supply of affordable, clean and safe mobility is met with a reality characterized by congestion, emissions and a lack of options. This is evident not only in city traffic, but everywhere. With our corporate strategy “Next Generation Mobility”, we are developing holistic solutions to address these challenges – today and in future. We stand as an integrated systems provider that is exerting a major influence on the shape of future mobility.


How ZF is Shaping the Transformation

For companies such as vehicle manufacturers and their technology partners, changes in the market mean upheaval on an almost unprecedented scale. The structures, thinking and business models that were valid just a few years ago will have disappeared by the end of the decade. ZF identified this transformation early on and is already in the middle of a restructuring process which will affect literally every single part of the business. The company has identified three key areas driving the mobility of tomorrow, and on which it has already focused its sights – electric mobility, automated and autonomous driving and software-defined vehicles.

The Recipe for Success – Dual Operating System

How is ZF mastering the challenges so successfully? One key is the Dual Operating System. ZF defines early on working groups that function like start-ups with a very high level of flexibility, disconnected from the operating business. These internal start-ups receive resources to pursue completely new ideas and develop their concepts into market-ready products, largely decoupled from day-to-day operations. ZF then consolidates its start-ups into its existing structures to create new, high-performance units. Flat hierarchies and the agile thinking of young, flexible start-ups thus merge with the established processes of an industrial company to create an efficient whole.

“Even ten years ago, they were saying companies couldn’t operate like start-ups. The dual operating system from ZF proves them wrong.”

- Wolf-Henning Scheider, CEO -


Sustainability Means Responsibility

“What we do now will be decisive,” sums up ZF Board Member Sabine Jaskula. Sustainable thinking and action at ZF are guided by the principle “Acting now”, with sustainability an integral part of Group strategy. The crucial importance of the issue is also evident in concrete and ambitious targets. By 2040, we want to be completely climate neutral, including the entire upstream supply chain. However, sustainability is about more than just the environment and climate protection. That’s why, in addition to “Climate and Nature”, we are also concentrating on “People” and “Enduring Values”.


Five Goals for Balanced Development

ZF bases the implementation of its strategy on five goals, encompassing all relevant dimensions. This is how we ensure the holistic development of ZF.

Innovation and cost leadership

We have a broad product range. This means that we are already setting standards in our markets today. We want to stabilize and enhance this position – through regular innovations and by continuously making large investments in research and development. We secure funding for this also by continuously improving our efficiency and performance. Our cost leadership is vital in safeguarding our global competitiveness. Therefore, we will reduce costs through various programs.

Balanced market penetration

Where our customers go, we go – worldwide. Our aim is a balanced presence in all markets. Alongside Europe and the USA, we are focusing particular attention on regions with further growth potential: China and India. There, we reach new customers from the mobility sector who opt for ZF to accelerate their market rollout.

Financial independence

We aim to make our business decisions from a position of financial stability at all times. Financial independence is the foundation we build on to further increase our company value and meet the economic interests of our owners. To secure it, we engage in active financial management. Its purpose is to ensure that the balance sheet structure data remains within our target framework and that the free cash flow gives us leeway for action to implement our projects in operations.

Globally attractive employer

We want to ensure that the best employees are in the right place at the right time. We promote leadership quality, diversity and team culture. Therefore, we are using various dialog measures to improve the feedback culture. Along the lines of “team beats silo,” our cooperation goes beyond department and division boundaries.

Diversified for profit

We develop our service portfolio decentrally from the business units. This means that we not only stay close to our respective customers, but can monitor the markets individually for new business opportunities and tailor our solutions to market and customer needs. Diversification provides the Group with stability and makes it easier for us to deal with temporary market fluctuations. At the same time, we take action to set up new business models in the area of software and service, e.g., for new mobility solutions.

Product & Technologies

Technology Clusters

The ZF Group serves its customers in three segments – cars, commercial vehicles and industrial technology – with products and services, including the aftermarket. For our continued development, our strategic focus is on electrification, digitalization and automation. In pursuit of this, we are developing our offerings across 4 plus 1 technology clusters, which we connect with one another through integrated solutions. They are automated driving, electric mobility, vehicle motion control, integrated safety plus digitalization, networking and software.

Autonomous Driving

From technology and testing through to the future: We provide you with an overview of automated and autonomous driving of cars and other vehicles.

Electric Mobility

Why we need electric mobility and which role plug-in hybrid drives play at the mobility of today and tomorrow. This and more information around electric cars and electrification is answered here.

Integrated Safety

Helping to prevent traffic accidents or at least mitigating their severity are goals that ZF is pursuing with the most comprehensive safety technology portfolio in the supplier industry.

Vehicle Motion Control

The chassis plays a major role in ensuring safety, comfort and efficiency of a vehicle.

Digitalization and Software

Digitalization is all about integrating and interconnecting artificial intelligence into more and more products, and also endowing it with the capacity to learn. ZF is quickly becoming one of the trailblazers that is revolutionizing mobility.

Group DNA

It’s About Community

Winning the race for tomorrow’s mobility, together – that’s the guiding principle of the “ZF Way” transformation program. It sets out the “how” behind the Group’s “Next Generation Mobility” strategy. It also provides employees with orientation for the approach to leadership and teamwork. Read more about the ZF Way and the 5 principles on which it is based.

The ZF History

What has changed at ZF since it was founded in 1915? What values still exist today?

Current publications

Download the 2021 Annual Report

Is the future programmable? Software will be a decisive factor for success in the mobility industry, and not just for ZF. Because the automobile is increasingly software-defined, the company is pushing the topic to the forefront of its thinking and actions. It is therefore no surprise that the Annual Report has a strong software theme in terms of both look and content. Find all the key facts and figures on the 2021 annual accounts in this downloadable PDF.