Welcome adress by Elisabeth Klock and Dr. Rudolf Müller
The German automotive industry can look back on a highly successful 2018. A new record was set with sales growing to 422.8 billion Euros. Nonetheless, this positive situation seems to be taking a turn for the worse. According to figures recently published by the VDA, car production in December 2018 fell by 18 percent compared to the same month last year. In the same period, the amount of cars exported fell by as much as 20 percent.
The decline in exports – the first since 2009 – is causing special concern in German automotive industry boardrooms.
A major reason for the poor sales statistics for late 2018 was certainly the fact that all manufacturers were inadequately prepared for the new WLTP exhaust system and were therefore simply unable to keep up with the demand. The still unsolved diesel problem with imminent or already enforced driving bans had a negative impact, and a weakening Chinese market for the first time in years contributed to the overall situation.
What are the short and medium-term prospects?
The current Brexit discussion is certainly not having a reassuring effect on the automotive market. A forecast here can only be made by looking into a crystal ball, which is driving the planners of cross-border manufacturing companies to despair.
The discussion in the USA with regard to punitive tariffs for European vehicles has also again intensified and threats from the US side in this trade conflict are becoming louder, culminating in political stigmatization of vehicles from European manufacturers – primarily producers of German premium models.
However, these unpleasant and mostly political tendencies are faced by a fundamentally healthy and robust German automotive industry that has adopted the challenge of structural change and intends to play a leading global role in shaping this.
Even a punitive tariff of 25 percent will not remove German cars from America‘s roads. Vehicles in the upper premium segment are not considered to be particularly price-sensitive. In addition to price, outstanding quality, innovation leadership, prestige products and brand image continue to be purchasing motives.
And the German automotive industry and its suppliers are working tirelessly to maintain and expand precisely these attributes. In the next two years all manufacturers are expecting to present their own series of e-mobility models. OEM’s are forming alliances with each other or with software providers from other industries to develop autonomous driving. Innovative business models such as car sharing are transforming value chains. The supplier industry in particular can boast an array of new patents that support the innovation potential of the OEM’s.
Precisely these aspects are also reflected in the articles in the current issue of OEM&Lieferant. European companies and their service partners are not only presenting their latest developments, technologies, processes, innovations and products in print, but also cross- media.
By using interactions, links and networking with web content and social media we open the opportunity for our readers to receive significantly more background and additional information than is possible in purely printed articles.
Our thanks go to all of the authors, interviewees and advertisers for their excellent and trusted cooperation. You are invited to submit your contributions, advertisements and interviews for the next issue, which will be published in autumn 2019 for the IAA in Frankfurt.
We hope that our readers will enjoy reading our magazine and take advantage of the linking and networking options.