BERLIN — Just a few years back, autonomous driving was considered pie in the sky. Today the technology has automakers around the world scrambling to be seen as innovation leaders.
The German car industry is no exception: Audi arrived in style at last week’s CES tradeshow by making the 500-mile journey from Silicon Valley to Las Vegas in a car on autopilot. Daimler used the same event to unveil a fully autonomous Mercedes prototype.
Electric cars continue to grow in importance for German car firms too, with a lot of buzz surrounding BMW and Volkswagen’s electric offerings.
The developments come as no surprise to Stefan Di Bitonto, Germany Trade & Invest’s auto industry expert: “One in every five cars carries a German brand so all eyes are on what the big German manufacturers are developing. The VDA reports that R&D expenditure in the German car industry grew by five percent to over USD 21 billion in 2013: That’s equivalent to one third of Germany’s total R&D spend.”
VDA figures also show that the automotive industry accounted for around 20 percent of Germany’s total industrial revenue in 2013. It is no surprise then that PwC found that 21 of the world’s top 100 automotive suppliers are also based in the country.
US firms have taken notice: FdI Markets identified nine new US FDI projects in the German automotive OEM and components sector in 2013 – up 300 percent on the previous year.
Di Bitonto: “With nearly 100,000 people now working on R&D in Germany’s flagship industry, you can be sure the country that gave the world the motorcar will remain at the forefront for years to come.”
— Courtesy of German Trade & Invest