What they actually believe is that the segment will finally live up to its forecasted reputation in the near future, with auto parts makers consolidating one important area of the business – battery technology.
The most recent moves in the sector involve South Korea’s Samsung SDI and Japanese chemical manufacturer Asahi Kasei Corp. The first announced yesterday it opted to purchase the battery pack unit of Canadian car parts maker Magna International in a drive to expand the Samsung Electronics affiliate’s core business into a crucial automotive parts sector. Samsung SDI is already a provider of rechargeable batteries for German automaker BMW, supplying the necessary parts for the i3 electric city car. The South Korean company opted to buy the entire battery pack business of Magna Steyr, Magna International’s Austria-based operating division for an undisclosed amount.
On the other hand, Japanese chemical producer Asahi Kasei Corp has acquired Polypore International Inc’s energy storage business in a $2.2 billion transaction, showing interest in building parts for hybrid and electric cars. “We have been putting our resources in rechargeable batteries for personal computers and smart phones, but the next big market is electric and hybrid cars,” said Asahi Kasei President Toshio Asano on the sidelines of the purchase announcement. Both companies already produced lithium-ion battery separators that are widely used today – from electronic gadgets to automobiles – but the Japanese company believed the US rival’s dry process separators might turn out to be the choice in autos due to its increased affordability.