* Spin-off separates autonomous car from combustion tech
* Banks pitching for role in IPO - sources
* Continental declines to comment (Adds details about rationale for spinoff)
By Arno Schuetze and Edward Taylor
FRANKFURT, Oct 26 (Reuters) - German car parts maker Continental has asked investment banks to pitch for roles in the planned 2019 stock market flotation of its Powertrain unit, people close to the matter said.
The Hanover, Germany-based group is working with Lazard as its IPO advisor, which has already sent out invitations to the banks to pitch for global coordinator mandates, they added.
Continental declined to comment. A Lazard spokeswoman was not immediately available for comment.
Continental said in July that it will list its Powertrain unit as early as mid-2019 as part of a broader restructuring in response to far-reaching shifts in the auto industry towards electric and self-driving technologies.
Continental, which makes auto parts and tyres, will break itself up into three divisions: Continental Rubber, Continental Automotive and Powertrain.
The restructuring separates Continental’s autonomous and connected vehicle technologies businesses from its diesel and petrol engine technologies division, after rival auto suppliers Autoliv and Honeywell legally separated their combustion engine assets from other activities.
The structural overhaul follows a broader trend by conglomerates including Thyssenkrupp and General Electric to slim down.
Continental will list part of its Powertrain division to pave the way for it to strike alliances with rivals or participate in consolidation, the company said. (Editing by Maria Sheahan)