Technology company Continental plans to develop a new 215,000-square-foot facility to manufacture and produce products for advanced driver assistance systems in New Braunfels, Texas.
According to company officials, the investment totals about $110 million. The new construction, once completed and operational, will retain approximately 450 jobs in the state of Texas and add more than 130 new positions to the city. Construction is scheduled to begin in the first half of 2020. Production is expected to start in 2021.
The new manufacturing facility will be located at a Greenfield site 15 miles from Seguin, Texas where Continental’s Powertrain Division, now operating under the new name Vitesco Technologies, has a 320,000-square-foot manufacturing facility and employs more than 1,500 people.
The purpose of the new building is to expand the company’s capacity for the production of radar sensors. "Advanced driver assistance systems save lives. Continental is one of the world’s market leaders in this area. We are benefiting from steadily increasing fitment rates in new vehicles. And in the future, too, we are anticipating major growth opportunities," explains Frank Jourdan, member of the Continental Executive Board responsible for the business area 'Autonomous Mobility and Safety', the strategic importance for Continental.
"Over the next five years, we are planning further investments in the high triple-digit million Euro range in the areas of assisted and automated driving. The capacity expansion in New Braunfels is part of our growth strategy," he says. "Between 2015 and 2019, sales more than doubled and we can see good opportunities to expand our market position even further in the future," explains Jourdan.
"ADAS technologies are becoming more widely adopted and help drivers become more comfortable and efficient behind the wheel," said Samir Salman, CEO, Continental North America. "We appreciate the strong support we have received from the state, county and city of New Braunfels. Having a facility specifically dedicated to the development and production of these technologies is a major step in helping us achieve our vision of a world with zero fatalities, injuries and crashes."
The demand for safety functions in vehicles has grown significantly in the last decade, company officials said. This new facility will allow Continental to expand its R&D and manufacturing capabilities to meet the growing demands of customers, while continuing to drive innovation and development of automotive safety technology, helping to support the company’s goal of Vision Zero.
"We are looking forward to having a state-of-the-art facility for the production of our high-tech products," said Amit Kapoor, head of Continental’s Advanced Driver Assistance Systems business unit, Continental North America. "We appreciate the strong partnerships with the city of New Braunfels, Comal County, New Braunfels Utilities and the New Braunfels Economic Development Committee. With this new location we will further strengthen and advance our leading position in the development of assisted and automated driving."
American car manufacturers use Continental's radar sensors for technologies such as emergency brake assist and adaptive cruise control. Technologies tailored specifically to the US market, such as blind-spot monitoring for passenger cars with trailers (Trailer Length Detection and Trailer Merge Assist), which first went into series production in 2018 in the Dodge Ram 1500, are also based on radar sensors. In 2019, Continental received an FCA Supplier of the Year Award for this technology in the Innovation category.
In addition to New Braunfels, Continental is also represented in the USA by other locations for advanced driver assistance systems: These include a development site in Auburn Hills near Detroit and in Santa Barbara, California, where the company develops Lidar technologies.