“We are constantly looking at all of our footprint, especially now to see if there’s a need to optimize,” Anand said. “We’re trying to adapt as fast as we can to this environment.”
Continental employs nearly 16,000 people in the U.S. across three business sectors: automotive, ContiTech and tires. In Michigan, it employs more than 1,500 people, around 75 percent of them in Auburn Hills. Its automotive sector includes four business areas: architecture and networking, autonomous mobility, safety and motion and user experience.
The blazing speed of vehicle development today compared with just a couple of years ago has led to another new dynamic: supplier partnerships. In the cutthroat world of automotive supply, relationships have traditionally been one-to-one, but now auto makers want the best of everything and Continental can capitalize on integrating it, Anand said.
“There are other suppliers that are uniquely positioned to offer other features,” she said. “So then the question becomes, if more are able to collaborate on different aspects of the software, the better it gets overall. You don’t have to be stuck with a one-to-one relationship. It can be one-to-many in terms of everybody providing the best pieces of software."
As an example, the CEO points to its first high-performance computer in Volkswagen’s ID.3, which Continental developed with nearly 40 different software providers.
Partnerships were a key theme throughout the supplier’s tech exhibit, too. At the autonomous valet parking booth, a Continental representative detailed how the company can use sensors installed in infrastructure, such as a parking garage, airport or stadium, to communicate with cars to park themselves.
The company is working with Bosch at the Detroit Smart Parking Lab and exploring opportunities for interoperability, the rep said.