German tier supplier Continental is developing systems and solutions to make cars more affordable. It assumes that 20% of the global cars produced by 2015 will be affordable cars.Affordable cars are finding accep-tance as stumbling economies have buyers looking for more efficient, and easy-to-own autos. It is therefore not surprising that auto component suppliers, and tier suppliers, in close association with auto makers are developing systems and solutions that address the demand for affordable cars. Reacting to the ever increasing demand for individual mobility in areas like emerging markets, German tier supplier Continental has developed global solutions for affordable cars. Speaking at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Dr Elmar Degenhart, Continental AG Executive Board chairman, said, "We are proceeding on the assumption that affordable cars will make up about 20% of global car production by 2015. That is why we are localising our value-added chain in the markets and are utilising our extensive technology know-how as well as our global development and production network in order to make mobility possible with no compromises in safety, quality, sustainability and operating convenience." Continental's move is not exactly new, and is said to be in acknowledgment to the rising demand for smaller, low-cost cars, not just in the emerging markets in Asia, Russia and Latin America, but also to an ever greater extent in established industrialized nations. While compact cars are sometimes included in the affordable cars category, depending on the market, the term 'affordable', is defined primarily by the purchasing power in the respective markets. The segment thus ranges from the ultra low cost cars to compact cars, depending on the market. Affordable cars are not lower quality vehicles equipped with the most basic components; they are cars for the tight budget, asserts a Continental source. They feature minimalist, market-specific functions based on the latest technologies, they add. Affordable cars are subject to exactly the same requirements as the premium segment: no compromises in safety, quality, sustainability and operating convenience. By virtue of its high degree of localisation of the value-added chain, Continental offers individual solutions and products tailored to customers and regions with regards to quality, costs and functional range. Here, the automotive supplier relies on local know-how of engineers and specialists. In addition, Continental purchases from local suppliers, thus avoiding additional costs for long transport routes.Locally developed, cost-effective and scalable products for affordable cars include the 'Speed' scalable airbag control unit, the 'Easy-U' engine control unit and the basic function controller for various comfort functions. First introduced at the IAA 2009, these three products have in the meantime been launched successfully on the market, thanks in part to their impressive scalable functional range, their cost effectiveness, robustness and their short development cycles. Carmakers acknowledge this achievement with production orders, which currently add up to almost 70 for these products alone. Continental aims to achieve above-average growth in the Asian markets in the coming years. For that reason, a large portion of the Euro 1.8 billion in investments planned for 2011 worldwide will be going into the Asian markets.The workforce will also continue to grow in Asia. The recent plant openings in Hefei and Jinan in China, the laying of the cornerstone for a new R&D centre in Singapore, the new office building planned for this year in Icheon in Korea, and the expansion of the existing development centre in Bangalore in India are just a few examples of Continental's intense involvement in the Asianmarkets. Affordable cars are part of these activities, since the fast majority of the cars - nearly 80% - are produced in Asia, primarily in China and India.With sales of Euro 26 billion in 2010, Continental is among the leading automotive suppliers worldwide. As a supplier of brake systems, systems and components for powertrains and chassis, instrumentation, infotainment solutions, vehicle electronics, tires and technical elastomers, Continental contributes to enhanced driving safety and global climate protection. Continental is also an expert partner in networked automobile communication. Continental currently has close to 160,000 employees in 45 countries.