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Wissmann: German automotive industry leads global competition in innovation

Berlin, 02 May 2013

The German manufacturers and suppliers currently lead global competition in innovation. This is the main finding of the recent study of innovation by the Center of Automotive Management (CAM). Matthias Wissmann, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), commented, “Our industry has more than ever absorbed the fact that research and innovation are the keys to a successful future! Ever since the automobile was invented, the German manufacturers have been trying to outdo one another in innovative energy. The small and medium-sized suppliers are also important drivers of innovation. The supply industry generates over 70 per cent of automotive value-added.” At today’s presentation of the Automotive Innovations Award 2013, the CAM and PricewaterhouseCoopers honoured several German automotive OEMs and suppliers for outstanding innovations.

Wissmann continued, “For decades the automotive sector has been by far the most active German industry in terms of research and development, accounting for almost one third of all R&D spending in Germany. In 2011 we invested nearly 22 billion euro, including external expenditure. The ten companies spending the most on research and development in the EU include four firms from the German automotive industry.” These huge amounts going on creative output produce impressive results in the patent statistics. “Nearly a third of all vehicle-related patent applications submitted to the European Patent Office in 2011 came from Germany. Every working day, roughly ten automotive patent applications are filed whose inventors are in Germany. These figures demonstrate unequivocally that the innovation dynamic in the German automotive industry continues uninterrupted,” Wissmann said.

The VDA president stressed the importance of industry as a “motor driving innovations.” Wissmann said, “All sectors of industry taken together represent up to 90 per cent of spending on research and development in the German economy. These innovations make a national economy fit for the future and they ensure prosperity.” Germany, he added, was now in a better position than other countries, thanks to its strong industrial base. “Today Germany generates around 28 per cent of the gross industrial value-added in the EU. That is more than the UK and France together. The fact that levels of industrial value-added in Europe are continually drifting further apart is a cause for concern.” Wissmann therefore called for “a new industrialisation of Europe.” Industry had to be placed back in the focus of European economic policy, he stated.

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