Editorial by Bernhard Matthes
President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry
The automotive industry is shaping the transformation of mobility. Our industry has initiated a transformation process that is fundamentally changing products, technologies and services. The challenges electrify us in the truest sense of the word, they motivate and inspire us. We want the car, we want to reinvent mobility. People are changing their mobility behavior faster than ever before. The company expects solutions for environmentally friendly, sustainable mobility. Our mission is to meet these expectations. Two innovation fields will be of great importance here: electromobility and alternative drives, on the one hand, digitization and automated driving, on the other.
The automotive industry is Germany’s key industry. It ensures added value and jobs. Over 830,000 people are employed by manufacturers and suppliers. We are investing in the future of Germany. No other industry here spends more on research and development – 22 billion euros per year at the last count. However, this prosperity and success must not be seen as a reason to sit back, neither for companies nor for politicians. The very good economic situation currently is misleading some in politics to think that Germany has to do no more to maintain its competitiveness. The Federal Government should again focus more on this economic-political task. Because new dangers are emerging internationally as well. Brexit or the new trade policy in the US may become serious threats to our globally networked supply chain. That is why we are supporting the Federal Government’s policy and that of the European Commission, which advocate free trade and counter protectionism.
The automotive industry is aware of its responsibility towards people and the community. We are by no means resting on our previous achievements. Manufacturers and suppliers are working together intensively on continuing to strengthen the international leading position of the German automotive industry.