Rietheim-Weilheim, Germany, April 3, 2020 – In the 2019 business year, the Marquardt Group was able to slightly improve its turnover compared to the previous year. Although it clearly missed its target, the mechatronics specialist achieved a 1.3% growth in sales revenue, totaling 1.3 billion euros. That means Marquardt performed significantly better than global automotive production, which suffered a decline of about 6% in the past year. The globally operating family-owned company reported above-average growth in the field of e-mobility. Due to the corona crisis, Marquardt expects 2020 to be a difficult year, but is prepared with a long-term strategy for when the pandemic ends.
Advantage through transformation
"The largest challenge we experienced in the 2019 financial year was the coincidental timeframe at which the cost-intensive technological and structural changes occurred in the automotive industry, in conjunction to a market slowdown like we have not seen since the financial and economic crisis. It was, therefore, all that more important that we started early in the year to ensure that our company was ready for the future by putting a sustainable transformation and efficiency program in place," says Dr. Harald Marquardt, CEO of the Marquardt Group. "Our employees worked on making over one hundred measures in 2019 with a great deal of commitment and willingness to change. To a large extent, that is what enabled us to cushion ourselves during the sharp downturn experienced by our industry in order to successfully hold our own in international competition. Thanks to the improvement in our cost efficiency, we were also able to make important strategic investments."
Battery management systems for e-vehicles in great demand
In the automotive business unit, in which Marquardt generated almost eighty percent of its sales, the demand for battery management systems continued to grow exponentially. In electric cars, the control units ensure that the cells remain evenly charged and discharged, and therefore, significantly increasing vehicle range and battery life. They also ensure that the currents between the charger, battery and electric motor are safely disconnected.
With its Democar, the mechatronics specialist presented its latest operating concepts and solutions for digital vehicle interiors of the future, to numerous renowned customers around the world last year. The innovations include a multifunction steering wheel, interactive touchscreens with tactile aids, a 3D real glass console, functional light strips and theft-proof, certificate-encrypted driving authorization and access systems via mobile phone. "Marquardt is addressing trends, such as individualized and digitalized cars and autonomous driving with its holistic solutions that are not only modern and comfortable, but also more intelligent and secure," says Dr. Harald Marquardt.
In the Switches, Sensors & Controls business unit, the company was very successful in producing and selling battery and drive authorization systems for commercial vehicles, among other things. Business with operating units for construction and agricultural machinery, as well as sensor systems for household and heating appliances, also positively developed.
High investments in new locations and research and development
Despite high cost pressure, Marquardt has again invested heavily in its locations and research and development efforts in 2019. A new development center is being built in Pune, India, which will officially open in 2020 and will provide space for over 500 engineers. In the city of Weihai, Marquardt inaugurated its second plant in China in 2019, producing components for the automotive industry. At its new German location in Ichtershausen, near Erfurt in Thuringia, the company also started producing innovative mechatronic products for the interiors of premium vehicles. In the future, the Ichtershausen location will also produce battery management systems for electrically powered vehicles. At the German headquarters in Rietheim-Weilheim, construction of a development and innovation center was completed for over 30 million euros. The center provides 600 engineers and technicians with state-of-the-art workplaces and a new training center and company restaurant.
Research and development investments again amounted to 10 percent of sales in fiscal year 2019. In the reporting period, the mechatronics specialist also applied for fifty new patents, including an innovative projection module that allows operating elements to be projected onto any surface as required.
Additional jobs in software development created
As of December 31, 2019, the Marquardt Group employed approximately 10,500 people, worldwide. Additional jobs were created in software development specifically. Marquardt employs around 1,300 engineers worldwide.
In Germany, 33 young people started an apprenticeship or dual university studies at Marquardt in the past year. In total, the family-owned company trained more than 150 employees in 20 different professions at its headquarters and several other international locations.
Long-term strategy for the period after the Corona crisis
"The corona crisis hits us in the middle of a phase in which we have geared Marquardt to grow further," says Dr. Harald Marquardt. "In this exceptional situation, the health and protection of our employees, as well as job security for our international locations, are now our top priority. We are very well prepared for after the pandemic. We have a long-term strategy for the future in place. As one of the world's leading mechatronics experts, we are highly motivated to help shape the transformation in the automotive industry with our innovations, whether in the area of e-mobility, vehicle interiors, smart products for household appliances, agricultural engineering, or construction machinery.”