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GlobalProducts & TechnologiesThe Perfect Match
The perfect match
Products & TechnologiesThe Perfect Match

The Perfect Match

By integrating commercial vehicle specialist WABCO, ZF perfectly complements its product range with WABCO’s portfolio. This opens new opportunities in the development of intelligent and integrated systems for commercial vehicle technology.

It is another milestone in ZF's long company history: Since May 29, 2020, the American commercial vehicle technology manufacturer and brake specialist, WABCO, has been part of the ZF Group. The formerly independent company is now part of the newly created ZF Commercial Vehicle Control Systems Division. The combination of these two successful enterprises will bring a new dimension of innovation and capability for commercial vehicle systems technology. Thanks to the perfectly complementary portfolios and competencies, ZF is able to offer unprecedented solutions and services for manufacturers and fleets globally. In this way, the company is actively shaping the future of the changing transportation industry.

WABCO is now Part of ZF

ZF has successfully completed the acquisition of WABCO. The result: being the leading global systems supplier for commercial vehicle technology. Wilhelm Rehm explains why the integration is a perfect match.

Mr. Rehm, hardly anything caused such a stir in the commercial vehicle industry last year as the acquisition of WABCO by ZF. How do things stand at present?
We initially integrated WABCO into the ZF Group as a new division. For this reason, we currently have two divisions that serve the commercial vehicle market: the Commercial Vehicle Control Systems Division for commercial vehicles – formerly WABCO – and T Division for ZF’s commercial vehicle technology. Our goal is to merge these two divisions into a new one by 2022: “Systems for Commercial Vehicles.”

Why was the acquisition of WABCO strategically so important in order to achieve ZF’s corporate objectives?
Our Next Generation Mobility strategy describes what drives us. We are currently experiencing a transformation in all mobility areas: electrification, automated driving and digitalization provide the impetus and we endeavor to play a leading role here. Clean, safe, comfortable and affordable mobility for everyone and everywhere: We are also pursuing this goal in logistics to make it profitable – from inner-city delivery traffic to public transportation and long-distance traffic.
“As a supplier across all market segments, we have a clear advantage over competitors.”
Wilhelm Rehm, Member of the Board of Management of ZF Friedrichshafen AG
Read the complete interview

So what can ZF offer today that it did not have before the acquisition?
ZF already has abundant expertise in driveline and chassis technology for commercial vehicles, including sensors or system integration. However, we did not have direct access to compressed air technology, for instance. Compressed air systems control brakes and suspension elements for trailers, heavy trucks and buses. The portfolios of both companies complement each other perfectly. But not only complementary elements have spoken for the acquisition: What connects us is the innovative spirit that shapes the culture in both companies as well as the pursuit of a joint vision. At WABCO, the strategic alignment was defined by the following three terms: automated, networked and electrified.
This is in line with our path to Vision Zero – commercial traffic in which accidents and CO2 emissions are reduced as much as possible. With the acquisition, we are now able to implement our strategic objectives even more consistently.

Which means not only quantitative but above all qualitative growth?
We want to actively shape the future of goods and passenger transport by offering worldwide unique system solutions and services for manufacturers and fleets. In doing so, we enable our customers to meet the challenges of the industry, such as emission limit values, cost pressure in the transport sector or the shortage of drivers – while simultaneously increasing transport volumes. We can fulfill customer wishes even better and create significant added value: as an integrated systems supplier for trucks and buses, which combines intelligent components, system solutions as well as services and digitalizes all logistics elements. That’s why we are talking about the perfect match.

In addition to qualitative growth, there is also a new dimension when two companies of this size come together.
The figures are indeed very impressive. We have approximately 153,500 employees worldwide. Around 25,000 of them work in the commercial vehicle business – at 61 locations in 28 countries. Our global, interconnected R&D network is distributed over 18 main development locations in eight countries, and ZF alone filed 1,264 patents in 2019 and invested 7.7 percent of its sales in R&D.

Which customers will most likely benefit from the integration?
ZF pursues the philosophy of introducing technologies in all market segments. A good example of this is our “see. think. act.” approach where sensors, the necessary intelligence and the control of the respective actuators are developed. Our commercial vehicle customers benefit from the technology transfer within the ZF Group. As we are a supplier across all market segments, we have a clear advantage over many competitors.

Does this apply to all technology fields?
We divide our technologies for Next Generation Mobility into four fields, in which we want to offer system solutions. With these solutions, we aim to assume technological leadership in the market.
Integrated safety includes the development of active and passive systems that can lead to fewer accidents. Electromobility is the second area for which we can offer zero-emission, efficient and thus economical drives in all vehicle segments, from cargo bicycles to heavy trucks. One example of this is the electrically driven semitrailer, which can reduce the fuel consumption of a semitrailer truck by approximately 16 percent.
In the third area – automated driving – we develop systems for various levels of automation through to autonomous driving: from camera and intelligent driver assists to functions such as autonomous coupling of a trailer. Finally, Vehicle Motion Control comprises all technologies for controlling vehicle movements in longitudinal, transverse and vertical directions. We see digitalization as a connecting element in all four main areas.

The commercial vehicle market is not only about technology, but also service, for example. The presence on site plays a decisive role here. How well is ZF, now with WABCO, set up for this?
We focus on all aspects that are important for OEMs or fleet operators in the commercial vehicle sector.
Being close to the market is a strength of our company and was also a strength of WABCO. We are pursuing a consistent lifecycle approach for our systems. This means that we not only align ourselves very closely with the requirements of our customers during the development process, but also support them with service and updates to enable them to work efficiently every day.
Lifecycle management means being a competent contact in every phase of our products’ life cycle. With the increased number of our locations, we have also further expanded our worldwide on-site support and service. For service and aftermarket solutions, we are always close to the customer – no matter where! Furthermore, fleet management with corresponding solutions is definitely one of our strengths.

Technology Highlights

Transport of the Future

ZF is continuously pursuing the goal of Vision Zero – zero emissions, zero accidents – for the safer, cleaner and more efficient transportation of goods and people.

Electrical and Efficient

Trucks, trailers, buses – ZF offers holistic technology solutions for commercial vehicles to electrify the transportation of people and goods and make it more efficient.

Lightweight Future Truck and OptiFlow

One example of what future commercial vehicle concepts could look like is the Lightweight Future Truck. This is a combination of a tractor unit with a lightweight chassis optimized for installation space and a trailer with advanced aerodynamics.


ZF is launching a completely new transmission: PowerLine, the fully automatic powershift transmission, has been specially designed for the medium-duty vehicle category and delivers consistently excellent results in trucks, busses and in special purpose vehicles alike.

Safe and Comfortable

Advanced driver assistance systems can make a significant contribution to making commercial vehicle traffic safer and more comfortable. In the video, Dr. Christian Brenneke, Senior Vice President Product Engineering at the Commercial Vehicle Control Systems Division talks about ZF's strategy in this field.


ADOPT (Autonomous Driving Open Platform Technology) is a software platform for commercial vehicles that supports autonomous driving. It takes AI-based data and converts it immediately and precisely into instructions for the actuators.

Automated Coupling Assist

Coupling a truck with a semi-trailer is one of the most challenging maneuvers, especially for less experienced drivers. With this project, ZF provides proof-of-concept for an innovative fully-automated coupling assist system that enables the truck to detect and hook a specific semi-trailer.

Advanced Reversing Assist

The system solution with camera and sensors from ZF solves a major problem when reversing with trailers: the lack of overview. The Advanced Reversing Assistant makes maneuvering easier and considerably reduces the risk of accidents.

Product Portfolio

The New Commercial Vehicle Specialist

How the product portfolios of WABCO and ZF complement each other

Product Portfolios of WABCO and ZF

Proven Partnership

ZF has been working with WABCO for a long time - so why not simply build on what has been achieved so far?

Automated Manual Transmissions

A cooperation between ZF and WABCO resulted in the first integrated automated manual transmission 25 years ago

Air Compressor Clutch

WABCO was looking for a development partner for a pneumatic clutch — and found it in ZF. After start of production (2008), the solution quickly became successful. Currently, various commercial vehicle OEM offer their clients the decoupling compressor which work with both WABCO and ZF components.

CDC (Continuous Damping Control)

The CDC adaptive damping system for commercial vehicles has been in series production since 1997. This not only protects the load and the road surface, but also contributes significantly to comfort and safety. ZF provides the damper for the product; WABCO provides the control unit.


CALM is the name of the jointly developed air spring damper module for the driver cab. WABCO provides the roll-off tube with valve unit; ZF provides the dampers. CALM has been in successful series production since 2002.

Evasive Maneuver Assist

Building synergies for the better: in 2016, WABCO’s Evasive Maneuver Assist was integrated into ZF’s Innovation Truck to prevent rear-end collisions.


100 Days of WABCO Integration

In the video, Fredrik Staedtler and Andreas Moser - the heads of the two divisions Commercial Vehicle Control Systems (formerly WABCO) and Commercial Vehicle Technology - provide an overview of what has been achieved technologically in the first 100 days of integration.

ZF completes WABCO Acquisition

WABCO is now part of the ZF Group and operates as the Commercial Vehicle Control Systems Division under the umbrella of ZF Friedrichshafen AG. In the picture: ZF CEO Wolf-Henning Scheider (left) and the new Division Head Fredrik Staedtler.

Product Worlds

Product World Trucks

With modular and intelligently controlled transmission systems, ZF is increasing the efficiency of all commercial vehicle applications.

Product World Buses

ZF makes passenger transport more attractive and economic – for example, bus transmissions that not only reduce exhaust emissions.