What Companies Does ZF Own? An Insight into ZF’s Subsidiaries and Brands

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ZF Friedrichshafen is a global powerhouse in the automotive industry with a rich heritage that traces back to its inception in 1915. Originally established to manufacture gears for airships, the company has evolved into a prominent technology company that provides systems for passenger cars, commercial vehicles, and industrial technology. Through strategic acquisitions and steady organic growth, ZF has expanded its portfolio to include a wide range of products and services essential to the modern mobility sector.

With a diverse global presence, ZF actively shapes the future of transportation and mobility through innovation and a commitment to developing core technologies. The company is known for its forward-thinking approach to sustainability and environmental responsibility. It recognizes the importance of developing products that contribute to reducing emissions and conserving resources. As an influential entity in the automotive and industrial sectors, ZF has cultivated various joint ventures and partnerships that synergize with its mission to lead through innovation and technological prowess.

Key Takeaways

  • ZF’s legacy extends from early 20th century airship parts manufacturing to a contemporary leader in automotive and industrial technology.
  • The company’s extensive global operations facilitate the development of advanced mobility solutions and environmental sustainability initiatives.
  • Strategic growth and partnerships underscore ZF’s position at the forefront of innovation within the transportation industry.

Company Overview

ZF Friedrichshafen AG, commonly shortened to ZF, is a cornerstone in the automotive industry with a rich heritage and a global presence. They are acclaimed as a key player that has continually shaped the landscape of mobility through innovation and strategic acquisitions.

ZF Friedrichshafen AG

Founded: In 1915, with a century-long journey, ZF began as a producer of gears for airships and vehicles.
Headquarters: ZF Friedrichshafen AG holds its central hub in Friedrichshafen, Germany, a location that has been instrumental to its growth.

  • Global Technology Company: Their reputation as a global technology company is backed by its expansive operations across multiple continents and its commitment to pioneering mobility solutions.
  • Employees: ZF takes pride in its substantial workforce, fostering a climate where over 160,000 employees contribute to the company’s vision.
  • Revenue: A testament to its success, ZF generates robust annual revenue, indicative of its influential position in the industry.
    CEO: The strategic direction of ZF is currently steered by their CEO, who plays a pivotal role in guiding the company towards a future where mobility is smart and sustainable.

By synthesizing heritage with forward-thinking strategies, ZF powers on as both a historical and modern architect of automotive progress.

Global Presence

ZF’s global presence is an intricate network that spans several continents, ensuring they meet customer needs worldwide. Their extensive reach includes numerous Manufacturing and Production Sites as well as dedicated Regional Operations.

Manufacturing and Production Sites

ZF has established an impressive array of production locations to support its vast portfolio of automotive and industrial technologies. In Europe, the company’s roots extend deeply with a spread of advanced manufacturing facilities. Over in North America, ZF continues to strengthen its production capabilities to keep pace with the region’s technological demands.

Moving south, South America hosts key ZF production sites that cater to both local and international markets. Africa, though smaller in footprint, is an emerging participant in ZF’s manufacturing matrix. The Asia-Pacific region, a dynamic and rapidly growing market, is home to state-of-the-art ZF plants that are vital in addressing the technological needs of a diverse customer base.

Regional Operations

ZF’s Regional Operations are strategic and well-positioned; in Europe, they have a dense network of contacts, vital for maintaining strong relationships with their customer base. Across the Atlantic, their North American operations are essential in driving innovation and customer satisfaction.

In South America, ZF’s presence is robust, showing commitment to growth and adaptation in an ever-evolving market. While not as extensive, the operations in Africa demonstrate ZF’s dedication to developing global markets. The Asia-Pacific operations of ZF stand out, showcasing the company’s ambitions in one of the world’s most pivotal economic regions.

Major Acquisitions

ZF Friedrichshafen AG, commonly known as ZF Group, has strategically expanded its portfolio and global presence through significant acquisitions. They have cemented their status as a powerhouse in the automotive and commercial vehicle supply industry by acquiring companies that complement and enhance their technological capabilities.


In a landmark move, ZF Group completed the acquisition of Wabco Holdings in 2020, a deal valued at approximately $7 billion. WABCO, now an independent division within the ZF Group, brings a wealth of expertise in commercial vehicle technology, markedly strengthening ZF’s position in the realm of digitalization and vehicle control systems.

TRW Automotive

Earlier, in 2015, ZF Group made headlines when it acquired TRW Automotive, a deal that not only broadened their product line in safety technology but also resulted in considerable growth in the company’s global footprint. The purchase of TRW Automotive allowed ZF Group to significantly advance its development and production capabilities in the automotive sector.

Product Portfolio


ZF’s comprehensive portfolio reflects its commitment to high-quality products across multiple facets of the automotive industry. They provide exceptional solutions tailored for a wide range of vehicles, ensuring advanced mobility and safety.

Driveline Technology

Within Driveline Technology, ZF has established itself as a leader, offering innovative components for both passenger cars and commercial vehicles. Products include sophisticated transmission systems and driveline components that enhance vehicle performance and efficiency.

  • Transmissions
    • Automatic: Smooth, efficient gear shifts.
    • Manual: Durable, reliable operation.
  • Driveline Components
    • Axles: Optimal power transfer.
    • Drive Shafts: Engineered for performance.

Chassis Technology

Chassis Technology plays a crucial role in vehicle handling and comfort. ZF’s advanced chassis components contribute to a safer and more responsive driving experience.

  • Steering Systems: Precise control and feedback.
  • Suspension Components: Superior ride quality.

Active and Passive Safety Systems

For Active and Passive Safety Systems, ZF’s approach encompasses a spectrum of products designed to protect vehicle occupants and support the driver in critical situations.

  • Active Safety:

    • Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS): Enhancing driver awareness.
    • Brake Control Systems: Immediate responsiveness.
  • Passive Safety:

    • Airbag Systems: Mitigating injury during collisions.
    • Seatbelts: Fundamental safety feature for occupants.

ZF’s product range showcases their prowess in engineering critical systems aimed at improving not just the functionality and comfort of modern vehicles but also their safety.

Innovation and Development

ZF is known for its commitment to advancing the future of mobility through significant investments in innovation and development. They continuously push boundaries in specialized software and electric mobility solutions.

Research and Development Focus

At the heart of ZF’s progressive approach is their Research & Development initiative. They have established a Global Software Center to cater to individual software solutions for their clients. This dedication to development is key to their strategy, with efforts concentrated on electronics, software and cloud networking. These components form the foundation for innovations like the ZF ProAI, driving them forward as a multi-faceted tech company.

Next Generation Mobility

Envisioning what comes next, ZF has laid its eyes on Next Generation Mobility, aiming to be a front-runner in e-mobility and vehicle motion control. Their work extends to semi-autonomous and autonomous driving technologies. By harnessing cutting-edge tech such as high-performance computers and advanced software platforms, they are actively shaping the mobility landscape of tomorrow.

Core Technologies

ZF’s expertise in core technologies is a fundamental component of their success. They focus on enhancing the synergy between the vehicle’s operational mechanics and advanced electronic systems to create a smoother, more efficient driving experience.

Steering Systems

ZF has developed a range of steering systems to deliver precise vehicle control and increased safety. Their portfolio includes innovative electrically powered steering systems which provide significant advantages over traditional systems, such as improved fuel efficiency and reduced emissions. These steering systems are a crucial element in the broader push towards advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous driving technologies.

Electrified Powertrain Technology

The company is also a leader in electrified powertrain technology. By integrating electric motors into the driveline, ZF enhances vehicle efficiency and performance, offering versatile solutions for full-electric, hybrid, and fuel-cell drive systems. This commitment positions them well as the automotive industry transitions towards a more sustainable future with reduced reliance on traditional combustion engines.

Subsidiary Brands

ZF Friedrichshafen AG is known for its comprehensive and innovative technology solutions in the automotive industry. Their product portfolio includes several subsidiary brands that specialize in different components, such as steering and chassis technology, as well as shock absorber systems.


Lemförder is a brand known for its high-quality steering and chassis components. They are a key part of the ZF Aftermarket division, providing a range of parts that meet the standards of original equipment. Their products are renowned for precision and durability, making them a trusted choice in the automotive industry.


Sachs is another esteemed brand under the ZF umbrella, specializing primarily in shock absorbers and clutches. Their shock absorbers are designed to enhance vehicle performance by providing superior comfort and safety to both commercial vehicles and passenger cars. Sachs products are integral to the aftermarket services provided by ZF, ensuring vehicles continue to operate at their best.


The name Boge is synonymous with top-tier shock absorbers and suspension solutions. As part of the ZF Aftermarket portfolio, Boge delivers products that stand out for their reliability and performance. Whether for cars or commercial vehicles, Boge’s components ensure an optimal driving experience through innovative vibration control technology.

Sustainability and Environment


ZF is committed to reducing emissions and developing a comprehensive climate strategy to contribute positively to sustainability initiatives in the automotive and industrial sectors. Their approach addresses specific goals aligned with global environmental standards.

Emissions Reduction

ZF’s focus on emissions reduction encompasses a multi-faceted strategy. They invest in clean manufacturing processes and advocate for the use of renewable energy in their operations. ZF also works on enhancing the efficiency of their products, which includes developing advanced technologies in electric mobility to lower the emissions of vehicles on the road.

Climate Strategy

Their climate strategy is rooted in a vision for a sustainable future, which involves setting ambitious targets to manage and mitigate environmental impacts. ZF aligns its corporate objectives with the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations. Part of their strategy includes continuous monitoring and improvement of their operational impact on the climate, aiming to ensure long-term environmental well-being.

Sectoral Engagement

ZF operates across various sectors, focusing on advanced technologies and innovation. They own companies and participate in joint ventures that contribute to the development of numerous industries, enhancing transportation and mobility solutions globally.

Automotive Industry

In the automotive industry, ZF is a powerhouse, providing a comprehensive range of systems for passenger cars and commercial vehicles. This includes drive and chassis technology as well as active and passive safety technology. Their acquisitions and partnerships, such as with WABCO, have bolstered ZF’s capabilities in safety and efficiency technologies for commercial vehicles.

  • Key Areas:
    • Drive systems
    • Chassis technology
    • Safety solutions

Industrial Applications

As for industrial technology, ZF’s prowess extends to construction machinery, material handling, and rail transport. Their innovative solutions contribute to the functionality and efficiency of heavy machinery and industrial vehicles, impacting not just transport but the backbone of industry operations. Delivering smart systems, ZF enhances the performance of industrial applications worldwide.

  • Notable Contributions:
    • Smart machine operation
    • Gearboxes for wind turbines
    • Digitalization of industrial processes

Aviation Technology

Although not as recognized in the aviation realm, ZF’s ownership extends to aviation technology as well. They provide technology that fits into the broader mobility context, with applications potentially touching on aerospace components and systems. Their vast experience in systems for various modes of transportation suggests a readiness to innovate in the aviation industry.

  • Potential Opportunities:
    • Aerospace components
    • Systems engineering in aviation

Joint Ventures and Partnerships


ZF’s landscape of joint ventures and partnerships strategically positions the company in the global market to innovate within the mobility sector. They focus on leveraging collaborative strengths to advance technological development.

Ford Partnership

ZF formed a notable partnership with Ford with the objective of enhancing commercial vehicle transmissions. This alliance primarily aims to produce gearboxes designed to meet the evolving demands of the automotive market. Incorporating advanced technology, they strive to set new benchmarks for performance, fuel efficiency, and durability.

Wolfspeed Collaboration

In a strategic collaboration with Wolfspeed, ZF leverages the potency of silicon carbide in the manufacture of power electronics. This partnership underlines ZF’s commitment to pioneering the adoption of silicon carbide in the automotive sector. The use of this material in semiconductors significantly improves the efficiency of electric vehicles by enabling more compact, lighter, and higher performance power inverters.

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, readers can find answers to common inquiries regarding the ownership, product range, achievements, acquisitions, global presence, and customer services of ZF Friedrichshafen AG.

Who are the current owners of ZF Friedrichshafen AG?

ZF Friedrichshafen AG is predominantly owned by the Zeppelin Foundation, which is managed by the city of Friedrichshafen, holding a majority of the shares.

What products is the ZF Group known for manufacturing?

The ZF Group specializes in producing advanced technology systems for passenger cars, commercial vehicles, and industrial technology, enhancing the efficiency, safety, and dynamics of the vehicles they are part of.

What makes ZF a well-known brand in the automotive industry?

ZF’s reputation in the automotive industry is built upon its commitment to innovation and the development of systems that enable vehicles to see, think, and act, positioning them at the forefront of the next generation of mobility.

Has ZF Friedrichshafen acquired any companies in recent years?

Yes, ZF Friedrichshafen has actively expanded its portfolio through acquisitions, including the recent acquisition of Intellic GmbH in January 2023, among others.

Can you list some of the major global locations where ZF operates?

ZF has an extensive global footprint with major locations across the world, including North America, Europe, Asia, and South America, catering to a wide range of markets and industries.

How does ZF’s Aftermarket division serve its customers?

The Aftermarket division of ZF supports customers with a comprehensive array of services, including spare parts, repair, diagnostics, and technical information, ensuring vehicles continue to operate with optimal performance.