2019: The German automotive industry
The German Automotive Industry is recognised all over the world for its engineering excellence. In the 2018/2019 industry overview by Germany Trade & Invest (GTAI) reported that automotive industry is the largest industry sector in Germany, listing turnover of €426.2 billion (around 20% of total German industry revenue). Germany is Europe’s number one automotive market, accounting for around 30% of all passenger cars manufactured (5.12 million).
On September 18th 2015, the US Environmental Protection Agency exposed “Dieselgate”, the emissions cheating scandal which saw three Volkswagen chiefs charged and Daimler heavily fined. Since the scandal the German automotive industry has had major repercussions. Alongside the woes of dieselgate, there is fear that global trade tensions, fears of a hard Brexit and the shrinking of the Chinese car market hitting foreign manufacturing groups will take effect on the Germany automotive industry. The Financial Times reported production of cars in Germany has declined by 12% in the first half of 2019. Over the summer, Daimler and Audi both recorded slumps in sales.
The automotive industry is under pressure to ditch diesel and switch to electric vehicles with the government pleading to put one million electric cards on the road by 2020. There are already six million electric vehicles in operation worldwide and the market is growing by 40% year-on-year.
The health of the car industry is critical to Germany’s economic strength which is why Germany’s automotive giants are realising the effect of US giants Tesla, Uber, Apple and Google are investing in the development of self-driving cars and are gearing up to make huge investments into developing electric and self-driving cars, securing the future of the industry. According to Volkswagen’s CEO Herbert Diess, the transformation could cost German firms around €100 million. Germany is one of the strongest countries in the world when it comes to high-tech automotive products, including autonomous driving technology says Hui Zhang, Managing Director at NIO Germany an automobile manufacturer specialising in designing and developing electric autonomous vehicles.