Germany and cars are connected by a long history. At the end of the 19th century, Carl Benz produced the first automobile. Today, Germany is the fourth-largest producer of automobiles worldwide, after Japan, the US and China. The automotive industry is considered the driving force of the German economy. The industry, which places a strong focus on qualifications, employed around 790,000 people in 2015 – including a high percentage of university.
The industry serves as an instigator for many other industrial sectors. A large network of suppliers from the fields of mechanical engineering, metalworking, and the textile and chemical industries supply materials for the automotive industry and benefit from its large order volumes. The industry experienced a record year in 2011. According to the industry association VDA, Germany’s annual car production reached a figure of some 5.87 million cars that year – the highest number recorded in the industry’s 125-year history. With a number of 5.6 million produced cars this level could even be maintained in 2014.
The automotive industry's annual sales reached a record level 2014 with about 368 billion euros. This corresponds to an increase of 2 percent. The demand from abroad is a big part. Cars and parts for automobiles were the most important export product in 2015: more than 75 percent of all cars produced here were exported. In particular the demand in Asian countries, including Taiwan, South Korea and China has greatly increased.
Companies in the automotive industry are distinguished by their high technological skill and innovation. After all, they have to survive in a dynamic market characterised by constant structural and technological change. With annual expenditures amounting to some €30 billion, the automotive industry spends more money on research and development than other German industries. Some 93,000 people are employed in the area of R&D, and around 10 patents are filed each day.
Information on the German automotive industry and transport policy (German, English)
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