Germany – SGL Carbon SE will acquire the OEM’s 49% share in SGL ACF, comprising SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers (Germany) and SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers (US), according to an agreement signed in late November. BMW said the company would remain a key supplier, with procurement for the i3 and i8 remaining unaffected “into the next decade”.
BMW gained its 49% stake when SGL ACF was founded in 2009, with SGL Group taking 51%. The aim of the joint venture was to establish carbon as a lightweight construction material in automotive manufacturing, and to secure the supply of carbon fibres and fabrics for the BMW Group. At Wackersdorf in Germany, carbon fibres from Moses Lake, Washington, are processed into fabrics and non-woven materials, which are used for the passenger cell of the BMWi vehicles and various components on the 7 Series.
“BMW Group will continue to rely on lightweight construction and an intelligent mix of materials, with carbon remaining a significant component,” said Markus Duesmann, BMW’s board member with responsibility for purchasing and the supplier network. “SGL Group is and will remain a major supplier and strategic partner in this regard.” The OEM is set to use carbon in its iNEXT vehicle from 2020, which it claims will “set the benchmark for electric vehicles, autonomous driving, connectivity, and lightweight construction”. The company will also keep its 18.3% stake in SGL Carbon SE.
SGL ACF will be assigned to the Composites – Fibres and Materials (CFM) business unit of SGL Group, which has expertise in acrylic fibres, oxidised fibres, carbon fibres and fibre composites. The Group is also establishing a Lightweight and Application Center in Meitingen, Germany, which will develop products and processes for lightweight components in high-volume manufacturing. In future, the former joint venture Benteler-SGL will also belong to the CFM business unit.