IAA Voices Conference Special: Interview Schaeffler AG
Matthias Zink has been CEO Automotive Technologies at Schaeffler AG since 2017. Initially as Co-CEO, he has assumed this position alone since 2019 and is responsible for the Engine and Transmission Systems, E-Mobility, Bearings, Chassis Systems, and New Mobility divisions.
Imagine you are in a time machine and on your way "back to the future". In which year would you like to get off and why?
Even if I think about this question for a longer time, I always come to the conclusion that I live in the here and now with full conviction. Now it is our task to set the course for the future on such important issues as sustainability. I want to work on this and make my contribution.
If you had one superpower that would help you professionally, what would it be?
I'll have to elaborate a little on that. We recently held the traditional Schaeffler Colloquium at Schaeffler, our largest and most important customer event. Compared to the last colloquium four years ago, we showed more innovations, more new concepts and more prototypes there in the subject areas of electrification, chassis applications and bearings than ever before at such an event. If I had a superpower, I would like to retain precisely this innovative spirit, this enthusiasm of the entire team and the courage to always develop new technologies for a mobility in transition and carry them into the future.
What trend are you currently following with great interest professionally?
I am thrilled to see how the awareness for sustainability and the reduction of emissions has now arrived industry-wide. More and more, these issues are being consistently pursued and becoming reality - from energy generation to its efficient use. A few years ago, for example, I would not have thought that I, as an engineer, would now be so intensively involved with energy technology for the next generation. There is still a lot of potential here, too. I would like to work on raising this potential.
What is/was the biggest gamechanger for you in the logistics or transport industry over the past ten years?
The camera monitor systems that replace the exterior mirrors of trucks are a gamechanger for me. The idea is simple but ingenious. And a lot of things come together here: It improves the driver's view, has aerodynamic advantages and even reduces fuel consumption. For me, this is a classic win-win development. Yet it is a highly complex development and requires a lot of systems knowledge. I would like to see more solutions like this.
What innovation do you currently see internationally as a blueprint on the path to climate neutrality?
I would like to mention two topics here, firstly a consistently well thought-out electrification for commercial vehicles and hydrogen propulsion. Both of these solutions have enormous potential for the transport and logistics sector on its way to climate neutrality. I will also be talking about this with other guests in my panel at the IAA Conference on 20 September.
What are your hopes for the IAA TRANSPORTATION?
I am looking forward to interesting dialogues with customers, partners and representatives of the transport and logistics industry. Schaeffler will be at an IAA Transportation for the first time and we will of course be bringing our solutions from the areas of electrification, emission reduction, digitalisation and automated driving to Hanover. But we also want to listen and learn what moves the industry and how we can get closer to climate-neutral transport with our products and services.
What are you particularly looking forward to at the IAA Conference?
In my view, the IAA Conference brings together what belongs together: established industry giants and newcomers, manufacturers and suppliers, politicians and experts. I like this holistic view of the content, because we have to pull together on the topics that are so important at the moment. It is about massively reducing consumption and emissions, improving logistics chains and relieving drivers. No single person can do this alone. That's why I'm looking forward to the overarching dialogue.
Matthias Zink has been CEO Automotive Technologies at Schaeffler AG since 2017. Initially as Co-CEO, he has assumed this position alone since 2019 and is responsible for the Engine and Transmission Systems, E-Mobility, Bearings, Chassis Systems, and New Mobility divisions. His responsibilities also include research and development as well as global key account management for the Automotive Technologies division. Matthias Zink studied mechanical engineering with a focus on automotive technology. He began his career at Schaeffler in 1994 at LuK.