The German automotive industry has been a driving force of the country’s economy for more than a century. At the present time, the German automotive industry is the fourth-largest in the world, placed behind only Japan, the United States, and China. At the end of 2016, the industry employed 790,000 workers – the number almost eight times as high as the number of workers occupied in the aerospace industry.
Such companies like Audi, BMW, Ford-Werke GmbH, Porsche, Opel, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen represent the German automotive industry and these brands are known all over the world. Even though the reputation of Volkswagen has been badly damaged by the Volkswagen emissions scandal caused the company’s tricks to cheat the results about the actual emission of gases, the company will perhaps recover from that happening in a few years. At the same time, the overall damage that has been done to the whole automotive industry was quite serious, yet not critical. In 2013, 49% of respondents from all over the world said that they trusted the German automotive industry. As for the end of 2016, there were only 28% of such.
The German automotive industry produces more than 18% of the cars produced globally
The industry’s turnover reached the mark of 385 billion Euros in 2016, which is around 20% of the revenues of all industries of the country. In 2015, the industry produced more than 15 million vehicles, or around 18% of the whole world production. At the same time, 21 companies operating in the German automotive industry are included in the list of top 100 world’s largest car producers. 80% of all the brand vehicles produced in the world are made in Germany.
The automotive industry in Germany and its expenditures on R&D
The industry’s funds allocated to R&D amount to one third of the whole amount of funds spent on R&D in Germany, thus making it equal 56 billion Euros. In particular, the number of employees of the German automotive companies working in the R&D sector exceeded 93,000 in 2014. This makes the country to be an engine of R&D in Europe. You can imagine the scale of research and development in this industry by thinking of just this single figure: 10 patents are submitted every day, on the average.
The industry’s importance for other German industries
It is not surprising that the automotive industry is a key sector for sustaining the growth of other industries. In particular, a huge number of suppliers in the chemical, textile, metalworking, and mechanical engineering spheres sell their materials to the automotive companies. The products of this industry are also the category number 1 of the country’s exports, given that more than 75% of all the vehicles produced within the country are produced abroad.
In regards to who lobbies the interests of this industry, there is an association called VDA (Verband der Automobilindustrie or German Association of the Automotive Industry) which unites all the players in this industry.