Matthias Machnig, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, today invited representatives of individual companies, members of works councils in the vehicle industry and representatives of the metalworkers’ trade union IG Metall and the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) to a dialog specifically on the vehicle sector. The common goal is to enhance the German automotive industry’s lead in innovation, in order to secure and expand value creation and employment at domestic plants. To this end, Federal Minister Gabriel, VDA President Matthias Wissmann, and IG Metall President Jörg Hofmann signed a joint declaration.
State Secretary Machnig commented, “We want the German automotive industry to continue its production, research and employment successfully in Germany. For this to happen we must create the right framework conditions and accelerate key forward-looking topics such as drive train electrification and automated and connected driving. The rapid market ramp-up of electric mobility will be possible only with additional incentives. Furthermore, battery cell production must be made competitive so that the future automotive value chain remains in Germany. The topic of digitization and connectivity will significantly change the automotive market as a whole, but also the car as a product and the way people understand mobility. The German automotive industry is in a good position for utilizing these opportunities both now and in the future.”
Matthias Wissmann, President of the VDA, stated: “With a regular workforce of around 800,000, and one third of all industrial research activity, the automotive industry is one of the central pillars of German industry. Manufacturers and suppliers are international drivers of innovation. If this strong competitive position is to be maintained in the future, policymakers need to make preparations that strengthen industry and small and medium-sized enterprises, encourage our companies’ drive to innovate and invest, and result in a moderate and fair climate policy. The successful conclusion of a comprehensive TTIP would also be an important boost to growth and employment. We are doing all we can to drive forward the major topics for the future – connectivity, automated driving and the ongoing development of alternative drive trains. The German manufacturers are the leading providers of electric vehicles. Now policymakers should rapidly create the conditions for Germany to become the leading market as well. Here tax measures or other lasting stimuli would be useful. A suitable legal framework is also required for approving and using automated driving functions, at both national and international level.”
Jörg Hofmann, President of IG Metall, said, “The German automotive industry is successful internationally due to its great capacity for innovation. This is based on a number of factors, such as a heavy investment, a qualified and committed workforce, and codetermination. These success factors should be fostered so that in the future we remain the leaders also in the field of environmentally sound and digitized mobility. Furthermore, in vehicle construction ‘Industry 4.0’ offers opportunities to link good jobs with productivity and innovation – in production and in development. But more skilled workers will be needed to achieve this, and that means more training in STEM subjects, improving the offers of ‘dual’ vocational training, and making it easier to combine having a family and a job.”
The dialog with the vehicle industry is to be continued. The results will feed into the work of the Alliance for the 'Future of Industry' and their implementation will be monitored. You can find the joint declaration here.