Hanover / New Braunfels (dpa) - The automotive supplier Continental is increasing its investments in the business with assistance systems and plans to build another factory in the USA.

In New Braunfels (Texas), work on a plant producing radar sensors is scheduled to start by the middle of this year. Production is scheduled to begin in 2021, as Conti announced on Thursday.

The Dax group from Hanover wants to spend a total of around 100 million euros in the new location between Austin and San Antonio over three years. 130 additional jobs are to be created. The company is already producing radar sensors in nearby Seguin.

The supplier is restructuring its business areas. In future, in addition to the tire division and the industrial business, Continental will focus on electric drives, electronics, sensors, software, networking and technologies for autonomous driving. Management Board member Frank Jourdan explained that the demand for assistance systems among car manufacturers is increasing - one sees “great growth opportunities” here. "In the next five years, we are planning further investments in the high three-digit million euro range in the areas of assisted and automated driving," announced the manager.

Radar sensors are used, for example, for emergency brake assistants, distance warning devices or cruise control. Assistance systems are designed to increase safety around the car - many applications also form the preliminary stage for automated or autonomous driving. Conti expects sales of over two billion euros for the past financial year.

The reorganization of the company has recently also generated criticism, the trade unions IG Metall and IG BCE warn of over-hasty action. The “Transformation 2019-2029” program leads the group away from hydraulics and combustion technology. By 2023, 15,000 jobs worldwide could be affected by “changes”. Many employees receive further qualifications and new jobs are created in the future areas. In contrast, job cuts are planned in the classic divisions. Production is running out at several locations, and the Roding plant in the Upper Palatinate is to be closed entirely in a few years.