The Managing Board of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) unanimously elected Bernhard Mattes to be the new VDA President in Berlin today. Mattes will take up his position on March 1, 2018. He will succeed Matthias Wissmann, who has been VDA President since June 1, 2007, and will leave the VDA when his contract expires.
“We are delighted to welcome to the post Bernhard Mattes, an acknowledged expert on the automotive industry. With his many years of experience and international contacts he is in an excellent position to continue the work of the VDA and represent our sector successfully,” commented Dr. Dieter Zetsche, VDA Vice-president and Chairman of the Board of Management at Daimler AG.
Arndt G. Kirchhoff, VDA Vice-president and Managing Partner and CEO of the Kirchhoff Group, said: “The decision was made unanimously by all three manufacturer groups in both the Managing Board and the Presiding Board. One reason why the VDA is so strong is that manufacturers and suppliers are represented here under a single roof. Mr. Mattes is very familiar with this special relationship because he himself was active in the association for many years. That is a good basis for his new role.”
Mattes previously worked as Chairman of the Management Board at Ford-Werke AG, and from November 2004 onwards he was Chairman of the Management Board at Ford-Werke GmbH. From 2002 to 2016 he was a member of the VDA’s Managing Board and from 2002 to 2004 he held the post of VDA Vice-president.
“I wish to express my thanks for the confidence placed in me and I look forward to this new and exciting role. Our industry – the manufacturers, suppliers and the makers of trailers, bodies and buses – is undergoing a historic sea-change characterized by the major trends of electrification and digitization, autonomous driving and new mobility concepts, and also by the challenge of further reducing consumption and emissions. We will have to secure and expand the international competitiveness of this key sector that is of essential importance for Germany as an industrial location,” Mattes explained after his election.
On behalf of the VDA’s Presiding and Managing Boards, Dr. Zetsche thanked Wissmann for his many years of good and successful cooperation: “Under your leadership, the VDA has been a competent and reliable partner for policymakers, business, trade unions and the media. In both Berlin and Brussels you have always represented the interests of manufacturers and suppliers in a credible manner and lent the German automotive industry a strong voice. Under your guidance the VDA has also promoted internationalization and in particular has prepared the path for medium-sized suppliers to enter new markets.”
Wissmann emphasized: “The German automotive business is one of the most successful and most innovative industries anywhere in the world. During the roughly eleven years I have been in office, the VDA’s member companies have increased their investments in research and development by more than half. The German manufacturers account for one fifth of the global passenger car market that itself has shown keen growth (+52 percent). Production of passenger cars in other countries has been doubled, while domestic production has been kept stable. The number of employees in Germany is now 827,000, which is 100,000 higher than the 2007 figure. All this happened in the face of massive changes both in technology and in the global economy. I have passionately followed and supported these changes. I wish to thank the Presiding Board and the Managing Board for the excellent work we have done together. I wish my successor good luck and a skillful hand in his demanding new role.”