ZF Friedrichshafen has dumped the architect of its costly quest for self-driving technology, but the German mega-supplier isn't abandoning his strategy.
Shortly after CEO Stefan Sommer announced his resignation last week from the world's second-largest parts supplier, the German company reiterated its desire to develop sensors, software and safety technology for autonomous vehicles.
"ZF will stay the course for sure," company spokesman Christoph Horn wrote in an email to Automotive News. "We are determined to shape global mobility trends like autonomous driving."
Interim CEO Konstantin Sauer will oversee a portfolio of autonomous technologies that Sommer had amassed since 2014, when ZF acquired TRW for $12.4 billion.
That portfolio consists of cameras, radar and electronic brakes — core components for self-driving vehicles. Those critical new products, along with ZF's expertise in transmissions and drivetrains, gave the supplier the resources to compete with rivals such as Bosch, Continental and Autoliv.
But Sommer, 54, ran into trouble when he tried to acquire technology for autonomous commercial trucks.
In 2016, ZF launched an unsuccessful $515 million bid for Swedish brake manufacturer Haldex. In July this year, Sommer tried to acquire Wabco Holdings Inc., a $7.5 billion U.S. supplier of brake-by-wire and driver-assistance technology for commercial trucks.