Message from the shareholders
The year 2018 presented major challenges for the Schaeffler Group. The market environment was characterized by many uncertainties, such as the discussions about Brexit and the trade disputes between the United States, Europe, and China. Additionally, during the second half of the year, the changeover to the new WLTP emission testing procedure and the drop in demand in the Chinese market had a significant adverse impact on the automotive industry. This was also reflected in a substantial capital market correction, and like other companies, the Schaeffler Group was unable to evade the consequences of this challenging environment. While the first six months developed in line with expectations, the company unfortunately failed to meet its targets during the second half of the year.
However, 2018 also brought positive results – in particular due to the diligence and great commitment of our approximately 92,500 employees worldwide. Examples include the Industrial division – which has recovered well – and successful new volume production start-ups for the hybrid module in China and the electric axle in Herzogenaurach. The newly established joint venture “Schaeffler Paravan Technologie GmbH & Co. KG” strengthened the Chassis business division and represents the company’s entrance to the field of autonomous driving, and with the acquisition of Elmotec Statomat we are sustainably expanding our technological and industrialization expertise in the field of electric motor construction. These examples demonstrate the continuous implementation of our corporate strategy “Mobility for tomorrow” and illustrate how the Schaeffler Group is actively involved in shaping the far-reaching transformation process.
As part of the “Global Branding” project, the process of remodeling our corporate presentation around the “Schaeffler” umbrella brand was systematically continued at additional locations last year. This not only strengthens the way our company is perceived among customers, potential employees, investors, and the public – it also increases the long-term identification of Schaeffler employees with the company worldwide. At the same time, our established product brands will be retained in conjunction with the umbrella brand. This will enable us to position ourselves even more strongly in the market.
Giving top priority to customer orientation has always been one of Schaeffler’s principles. We have made it our goal to convince our customers on a daily basis with high quality, outstanding service, and sustainable innovations and to further expand the relationship of trust. Schaeffler employees prove their creativity and innovative ability year after year by achieving top positions in patent applications in Germany. The Schaeffler Group will seize the opportunities offered by Digitalization, E-Mobility, and Industry 4.0 and actively shape the changeover to new mobility. We are firm in this conviction.
Naturally, this requires creative, performance-oriented, committed, and loyal employees who can “think outside the box” and look beyond their own backyard. They are the foundation for our company’s success. These virtues are part of the Schaeffler Group’s DNA and have made it strong, as well as helped us overcome far more difficult times together in the past.
We would like to thank all our employees worldwide for their dedication, diligence, and commitment to the Schaeffler Group. Likewise, we would also like to thank our customers, shareholders, business and research partners for their successful collaboration. Together we will succeed in addressing the challenges ahead.
Georg F. W. Schaeffler