Auto Service World
News   August 23, 2001   by Auto Service World

Johnson Controls to Acquire German Battery Maker


Johnson Controls, Inc. has announced that it will acquire German automotive battery maker Hoppecke Automotive GmbH & Co. KG from Accumulatorenwerke Hoppecke Carl Zoellner & Sohn GmbH.
U.S.-based Johnson Controls which whose customers include DaimlerChrysler, Ford, Honda, Nissan Toyota, Advance Auto, AutoZone, Costco, Interstate Battery System of America, Pep Boys, Sears, Wal-Mart and others, will be obtaining battery technology as well as production from Hoppecke.
The privately-held Hoppecke Automotive, headquartered in Brilon, Germany, has manufacturing sites in Germany and sales and distribution offices in the UK and France. The business is expected to generate sales of more than US$100 million in 2001. Hoppecke manufactures automotive batteries for DaimlerChrysler, Ford, MAN, Peugeot, Volkswagen and other automakers in Europe as well as for a variety of aftermarket customers.
Hoppecke has developed a battery with an absorbent glass mat (AGM) that holds the electrolyte, thereby preventing spilling or leaking even if the case is ruptured. This technology, called vlies.tec, gives automakers the flexibility to safely move the battery outside of the engine compartment and away from its life-shortening heat. Vlies.tec technology also provides more power and longer life than traditional batteries.
Vlies.tec is used today in Hoppecke’s batteries, and is a core technology in the batteries it has developed for the emerging 42-volt vehicle electrical systems. Hoppecke calls these higher voltage vlies.tec batteries board.net. It is expected that 42-volt systems will become the dominant automotive standard in the years ahead.
Hoppecke’s sensor.net, an intelligent battery management system, provides simultaneous voltage conversion for both 14-volt and 42-volt engine components.
“Hoppecke technology will enable us to be on the forefront of the industry conversion to 42-volt automotive systems. It is technology that we expect to leverage throughout our battery business,” said Keith Wandell, president of the Johnson Controls battery business.
Johnson Controls also manufactures a spiral-wound AGM battery under the brand name Optima.
“With the vlies.tec prismatic flat plate and Optima spiral wound batteries, Johnson Controls AGM technology is anticipated to cover the broadest range of cycling requirements for high voltage automobiles,” Mr. Wandell said.
“We are pleased with the agreement with Johnson Controls. Our companies share a focus on customers and on continuous improvement. The automotive battery industry continues to become more global, and the combined expertise, capabilities and reputation of our companies creates unique competitive advantage,” said Claus Zoellner, chairman of Hoppecke.
The family-owned parent company of Hoppecke will continue to operate its industrial lead-acid and alkaline battery companies.
The transaction is expected to close effective October 1, 2001. The completion of the acquisition is contingent upon receiving customary regulatory approvals.


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