Buoyant Mahle Calls for Agnostic Powertrain Approach

Auto supply giant pledges to an electrified future but warns against powertrain technology bans.

Paul Myles, European Editor

April 16, 2024

2 Min Read
Mahle Wireless Charging
Mahle sees ICE sales rise but plans for electrified future.

While declaring it is now “back in the black” financially, automotive supply giant Mahle repeats its call for an energy-agnostic approach to future powertrains despite accelerating its own involvement in electrification.

During the company’s annual press conference, Arnd Franz, chairman and CEO, says appropriate political and regulatory frameworks over powertrain development are essential in addressing the future of clean transportation. He points out, with the June elections for the European Parliament coming up, Mahle wants to see a strong industrial policy focused on competitiveness and location conditions.

Franz says: “As a foundation-owned company, social participation and respect for people and the environment form core MAHLE values. For this reason, like other companies, we require the right framework conditions. We advocate a fact-based policy that does not rely on bans in technology but rather on diversity.”

He calls for a multi-path strategy for auto powertrains, such as those Japan, China and North America are already pursuing. Franz adds: “We need responsible regulatory action that is aligned with reality – not only so firms can work in a future-proof and profitable way, but also so that the industry can play an active part in shaping the coming employment and social ramifications of the technological transformation.”

That said, the company recognizes that more of its business is coming from alternative technologies and products, which now drive more than 60% of its current sales, beyond those from its traditional area related to passenger-car combustion engines. It reports increased revenues related to electrification, including the electronics and mechatronics business unit which increased its sales to €1.4 billion ($1.49 billion), and the thermal management business unit, which grew 4.1% to €4.6 billion ($4.89 billion). However, both business units felt that sales of battery-electric vehicles were not as robust as expected.

Nonetheless, Franz insists: “Electrification is the topic of the future. Our focus is on electric drives and intelligent charging. We are doing everything we can to make e-mobility more attractive and more affordable.”

Overall performance for 2023 saw Mahle reverse its business fortunes, with sales increasing 8.2% to a record €12.8 billion ($13.6 billion). Operating profit rose from €60 million ($64 million) to €304 million ($323 million). The group result was also positive at €26 million ($27.5 million).

It also noted, in Europe and North America especially, the business units mainly connected to the internal-combustion engine grew significantly. Sales of engine systems and components grew 9.3% globally, adjusted for exchange rate effects, to €2.6 billion ($2.76 billion). The Filtration and Engine Peripherals business unit reported sales growth of 9.7%, adjusted for exchange rate effects, to €2.1 billion ($2.23 billion). The Aftermarket business unit also recorded impressive results. Its sales grew by 22%, adjusted for exchange rate effects, to €1.3 billion ($1.4 billion).

About the Author(s)

Paul Myles

European Editor, Informa Group

Paul Myles is an award-winning journalist based in Europe covering all aspects of the automotive industry. He has a wealth of experience in the field working at specialist, national and international levels.

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