The European "car heart" beats in Germany

    Germany is European champion

    VDA-Press release

    VDA-Press release

    Berlin, June 09, 2024

    Nowhere in Europe more electric cars are produced – 780,000 people are working on the mobility of the future – leading the way in innovation in electric drive

    Football Germany is eagerly awaiting the opening of the home European Championship and the first match of the men's national football team against Scotland. It is still uncertain who will become European football champions at the end of the tournament, but Germany is already the European leader in the car industry.

    Nowhere in Europe more cars are produced than in car country Germany: 4.1mn cars rolled off the production lines here in 2023 – more than in second-place Spain (1.9mn) and third-place the Czech Republic (1.4mn) combined. A good three quarters of the vehicles are sold outside Germany (76%). Germany is also by far the leader in terms of the value of goods: a total of €164bn worth of cars were exported from Germany in 2023. Belgium is in second place with €39bn, ahead of Spain with €38bn. The turnover of the entire German automotive industry, including suppliers, is over €500bn; in 2022, France was in second place with €142bn, ahead of Italy with €72bn.

    If you look at the drives, it becomes clear: The transition to climate-neutral electric drives in Europe is being driven primarily from Germany. Last year, 1.27mn electric cars (BEV and PHEV) rolled off German assembly lines, 955,000 of which were purely electric BEVs. This makes Germany Europe's e-production hub: Nowhere else in Europe more e-cars have been produced, and this year e-car production in Germany is expected to increase again.

    Globally, Germany was number 2 behind China in terms of the production of electric cars. There is still potential in the other European countries: European runner-up Spain produced 256,000 electric cars (BEV and PHEV), while third-placed France produced 225,000.

    High innovative power

    In Germany, 780,000 employees work in the German automotive industry on the mobility of the future. This makes the German automotive industry the largest employer in the European automotive industry (France: 215,000; Poland: 209,000 employees).

    How innovative the employees are can be seen, for example, when looking at innovations in the field of electric drives. Here, Germany is even the global leader: almost one in three patents (29%) in this field comes from German inventors. They are followed by Japan, China, the USA and South Korea. The next European country, France, follows in sixth place with 5% (source: IW patent database).

    It remains to be seen whether the national team will manage to take first place at the European Championships at home. In any case, we're keeping our fingers crossed and wishing for fair play, a happy atmosphere and an exciting European Championship for everyone!

    Press Office

    Eva Siegfried

    Spokesperson with focus on economics