"Saarland is the third largest automotive supplier centre in Germany. This small federal state plays a major role in the automotive industry. One in every two Euros of total turnover in Saarland's industry originates from the automotive sector", stressed Klaus Bräunig, Managing Director of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) on the occasion of AutomotiveDay 2013, the International Day of Automotive Suppliers in Homburg on 9 October 2013. Under the slogan "Future strategies of European automotive companies in global competition", high-ranking speakers from business and politics – including Saarland's Minister President Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, CLEPA CEO Jean-Marc Gales, Michelin plant manager Dr. Lisa Janzen and ZPT CEO Christoph Lang – spoke about the challenges facing the industry at the event held in the Michelin tyre plant.
Bräunig called upon politicians to continue working on Germany's competitiveness in the new legislative period. "The turnaround in energy policy, the Euro crisis, the difficult economic situation in Europe and growing international protectionism present the companies with particular challenges", said Bräunig in his lecture. "VDA members identify energy costs and taxes as key parameters for the future of Germany as a production site. Germany is not maintenance-free and cannot afford to miss service dates. Investments in infrastructure are urgently necessary – without increasing the burden on motorists and taxpayers."
The supply industry accounts for 75 percent of the added value of a vehicle. Accordingly the German automotive industry relies on the innovative force of these companies. Supplier firms are required to show global presence, and at the same time be flexible. "In order to remain internationally competitive, it is important for the companies to take the right investment decisions in good time. Those who do not occupy their own specific niche markets are faced with the task of securing domestic locations here by expanding outside Europe", added Bräunig. He said German suppliers had already established more than 1,500 production locations worldwide, including some 200 in China alone. This state of affairs was something to be proud of. However, neither the industry nor politicians could rest on their laurels. International competition was continuing to increase. "Suppliers who are well positioned around the world can secure Germany as an industrial location and continue to produce the innovations for which they are known and famous worldwide", stated Bräunig.