The ZF Friedrichshafen AG of today hearken back to two companies, which established early as suppliers in the automobile industry. First it is the „Schweinfurter Präzisions-Kugellagerwerke Fichtel & Sachs“ founded in 1895. It first produced ball-bearings and bicycle naves, but soon had its first successes in the motor sports. Since 1937 it delivered the dampers and clutches for the „Mercedes Silberpfeile“.
At once the „Zahnradfabrik GmbH“ was founded in Friedrichshafen at Lake Constance in 1915. Apart from cogwheels improved gearings for aircrafts, motorboats and motor vehicles were produced here. In 1921 the company became a incorporation. Further factories were opened in Berlin (1926) and Schwäbisch Gmünd (1937). During the Second World War compulsory labourers were employed to build munitions, as in many companies in Germany.
Later both companies were successful in the motor sports again.
1998 the ZF Sachs Race Engineering GmbH was founded. One year later the first steering system branch was outsourced and became the ZF Lenksysteme GmbH based in Schwäbisch Gmünd. This company was hold half by the ZF Friedrichshafen AG and half by the Robert Bosch GmbH. In 2001 the ZF Friedrichshafen AG bought the Mannesmann Sachs AG, which became the branch for power and chassis parts. Since 2007 the ZF Sachs became Official Supplier of the BMW Sauber F1 Teams. In 2011 all big German ZF-companies were transferred back into the main concern ZF Friedrichshafen AG.
In 2012 the company was Official Supplier of the DTM and 2014 it became Official Partner of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, as well as of the Super-GT in Japan.

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