The history of Preh Car Connect GmbH is a story 
of outstanding research and technical developments 

Today, Preh Car Connect GmbH is a top global player for car infotainment with headquarters in Dresden. 
We are a reliable and competent partner for our customers, who often remain true to us for many years, allowing 
us to shape the future of mobility together. 

In total, the company employs a workforce of over 1,000 at 6 locations around the world (as of November 2019).
The company’s headquarters and development centre is in Dresden, the capital of Saxony. Our innovative products, 
tailored specifically for the needs of our customers, are produced in our certified plant in Oborniki/Poland. The company
has other partner offices in Shanghai/China, Tokyo/Japan and Seoul/South Korea. 

The history of what is now Preh Car Connect GmbH is closely linked with Dresden, a research and development location 
steeped in tradition. The history of communications engineering dates back to 1911. Join us on a journey through the 
history of Preh Car Connect GmbH, and look at the milestones in our development with us. 


Communications Engineering Institute at Dresden
Technical College (TH Dresden) – Heinrich Barkhausen

Communications engineering has a long tradition in Dresden: In 1911, TH Dresden, the predecessor of the present-day Dresden University of Technology (TU Dresden), founds the Communications Engineering Institute. Heinrich Georg Barkhausen (1881 – 1956) taught and researched communications technologies there. 

He also wrote a multi-volume textbook on electron tubes, which was used by radio experts worldwide as a standard reference for many years. Barkhausen built the institute up again after World War II. In the last few years of his life, he was involved in the development of the transistor.

1960 – 1990 

Research and development for GDR
radio and TV manufacturers

Dresden was home to the central research and development facilities for all companies that produced radios and TV sets during the GDR period. The Central Laboratory for Radio and TV Receiver Technology (ZRF) was founded for this purpose in 1960. Besides radio sets, record players, cassette recorders, it also developed the first all-transistor colour TV, ‘Color20’. 

As part of a restructuring of the GDR economy, the manufacturing companies were merged to form the RFT Collective for Radio and TV Technology. ZRF was also allocated to it, and renamed the Centre for Science and Technology (ZWT) in 1981. ZWT – from which TechniSat Digital Dresden emerged in 1990 – the predecessor of the present-day Preh Car Connect GmbH (see 2016) – was responsible for developing home electronics until 1990. 

1970 bis 1990 

A200 series car radio and
digital satellite radio

The well-known A200 series of car radios was developed in the Science and Technology Centre (ZWT) in Dresden. The electronically calibrated AM/FM tuner, which first featured in these devices, was innovative for the time. 

In the 80s, the GDR economic policy changed course: Companies were encouraged to earn as much foreign currency as possible. As a result, they worked to develop products that would sell well in Western Europe. Dresden’s Science and Technology Centre (ZWT) worked on receivers for Digital Satellite Radio (DSR) – a technology that permits full digital signal transfer from the transmitter to the receiver, like the Digital Audio Broadcast (DAB) standard used in modern car infotainment systems. 

In 1989, just before the political transition in the GDR, the circuitry for these DSR receivers was ready and ZWT introduced the first all-digital devices. That was remarkable at the time, even by western standards.

1990 – 1997 

ZWT becomes TechniSat Digital Dresden,
with an automotive division

On 1 July 1990, 19 employees from ZWT founded TechniSat Digital Dresden GmbH, the new development facility of the TechniSat Group in Daun/Eifel. This company, founded in 1987 by Peter Lepper, is one of the leading German manufacturers of consumer electronics. Its product range includes televisions, digital receivers, digital radios and smart home devices. 

TechniSat Digital Dresden became the research and development centre for satellite and digital technology in the TechniSat Group. In 1997, the Automotive division was added, the birth of TechniSat Automotive. Since then, it has been developing car infotainment systems with navigation, driver assistance and connectivity functions for international automobile manufacturers in Dresden. 

The facility grew rapidly: In 2004, a workforce of 70 was employed in Dresden; by 2010, staff figures had risen to 200, reaching 450 in 2014.

1998 – 2002 

A successful start in the automotive sector:
the ‘Gamma’ car radio for VW and MS 303 for Skoda

In 1998, TechniSat Automotive was commissioned by the Volkswagen Group to develop the top radio model ‘Gamma’ and deliver some of the devices. The radio, which boasted a particularly powerful tuner, was produced from 2002 on. 

In the same year, Skoda chose TechniSat Automotive as its partner to develop and produce the MS 303 car radio. Volume delivery of this series started in August 2000. 

2002 – 2017 

Ultralow product family 

In the years that followed, TechniSat succeeded in expanding the automotive business segment. Customers wanted more and increasingly complex radio models, with early automotive connectivity functions playing an important role. 

This led to the development of the Ultralow product family for the Volkswagen Group. These devices featured enhanced media playback functions, like MP3s with a file browser and optional DAB radio. TechniSat delivered a wide range of Ultralow car radios to Volkswagen, Seat, Skoda and Audi – 4.7 million units in total. 

2004 – 2007 

Dresden 1 with navigation function

The navigation function in the Dresden 1 product was an innovative milestone for the company. The device had arrow navigation, navigation data on CD-ROM and an optional JukeBox. This after-market set was developed entirely in Dresden by TechniSat. 

2008 – 2016 

Radio navigation system RNS 315

Map navigation, DAB radio, far more comprehensive connectivity and a Bluetooth module for connecting a mobile phone – the RNS 315 radio-navigation system met these requirements. It was custom-developed in Dresden for the Volkswagen Group from 2008 on. The navigation data was stored on internal flash memory, which allowed for much faster route calculation. Production started in 2010. A total of 2.2 million units were produced and delivered to VW.


Contract for modular
infotainment system

Our company also developed the MIBStandard2 infotainment system for the Volkswagen Group. It is part of the Modular Infotainment Toolkit (MIB) within the Volkswagen Group’s Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB). TechniSat received the contract in 2011 and has been delivering units since 2014. 

In accordance with Volkswagen’s modular system strategy, the Modular Infotainment Toolkit was designed to accommodate a wide variety of vehicle models. Separating the main computer (ZR) from the display and control panel (ABT) increases the flexibility of vehicle interior design while also ensuring that standard control units can be re-used (e.g. ZR with a navigation function). A powerful interface between the two components allows the main computer to be installed in various locations in different car models, e.g. in the glove compartment. The MIBStandard2 infotainment system includes a wide range of variants for different markets worldwide.


Volkswagen Group Award

The TechniSat Automotive division received the Volkswagen Group Award in 2012, which the automotive manufacturer presents to its best suppliers each year. The jury explained its decision as follows: 

“With this award, we want to honour the outstanding achievements of your company, as characterised by your outstanding reliability and an enduring partnership with Volkswagen AG. Exclusive development and production of pioneering radio and navigation systems makes TechniSat Digital GmbH a strategically essential partner helping us shape the future of mobility. You have already demonstrated your great flexibility at the market launch of navigation system RNS 315, when capacity had to be increased at short notice. As a result, Volkswagen AG will continue to place its fullest trust in your abilities for future projects.”


TechniSat Automotive becomes
Preh Car Connect

The trend in automotive projects has been the same for years: they are becoming increasingly complex and elaborate, and demand our company’s full attention. That is why TechniSat Digital GmbH decided to spin off the automotive division in the 2000s. It needed partner to continue its success story in this segment. 

In 2016, Chinese automotive supplier Ningbo Joyson Electronic Corp. and its German subsidiary Preh Holding GmbH, domiciled in Bad Neustadt an der Saale, took over the company. TechniSat Automotive became Preh Car Connect GmbH. Besides the development facilities in Dresden and Shanghai/China, it also has a production facility in Oborniki (Poland).


The MIB 3 is launched

The latest version of the Modular Infotainment Toolkit (MIB) features large displays and many innovative functions. Preh Car Connect developed MIB 3 for the Volkswagen Group. This infotainment system gives users comprehensive access to Internet, online and connectivity services.


Did you enjoy our look back at the company’s history? Preh Car Connect is already working on exciting new projects that form the
next chapters in our success story in the near future.