State Secretary Matthias Machnig (m.), Matthias Wissman, president of the VDA (second from right), Jörg Hofmann, chairman of the IG Metall (second from left) and representatives from individual companies and work councils of the automotive industry. Enlarge

State Secretary Matthias Machnig (m.), Matthias Wissman, president of the VDA (second from right), Jörg Hofmann, chairman of the IG Metall (second from left) and representatives from individual companies and work councils of the automotive industry.

© BMWi/Susanne Eriksson

Today, Matthias Machnig, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, met with business representatives, members of the works councils from the automotive industry and members of the German Metalworkers Union (IG Metall) and the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) for a dialogue on the automotive sector. The goal was to strengthening Germany's lead when it comes to innovation in the automotive industry in order to safeguard and increase value creation and maintain and create new jobs in Germany. To this end, a joint declaration was signed by Federal Minister Sigmar Gabriel, the President of the VDA, Matthias Wissmann, and the First Chairman of IG Metall, Jörg Hoffmann.

State Secretary Machnig said: "We want the German automotive industry to continue to produce, conduct research and create jobs in Germany, and to be successful. This means that we need the right ecosystem and need to push new innovations such as electric drives, automated driving and connected cars. In order to drive forward electric mobility, we need to create further incentives. We also need to make German battery manufacturing more competitive, so that the automotive value chains of the future will remain in Germany. Digitisation and networking will transform not only the automotive market, but also the car as a product, as well as our understanding of mobility. The German automotive industry is in a good position to continue to harness these opportunities in future."

Matthias Wissmann, President of the VDA, said: "The German automotive industry accounts for around 800,000 members of permanent staff and one third of total industrial research activities, making it a central pillar of German industry as a whole. Manufacturers and suppliers are driving innovation on a global scale. In order to maintain our competitive edge, policymakers need to take decisions that strengthen industry and SMEs, encourage our companies to innovate and invest and promote a climate policy that is appropriate and fair. The successful conclusion of a broad-based TTIP agreement would also spur growth and employment. We are also pushing issues that will be vital to the future of the industry, namely connected cars, automated driving and enhancing alternative drives. German carmakers are leading producers of electric vehicles. Policymakers now have to swiftly create the right conditions in order for Germany to become the lead market for electric vehicles as well. Tax incentives or other stimuli with lasting effect could prove helpful in this area. We also need the right legal framework for approving and using automated driving features, both at national and international level".

First Chairman of IG Metall, Jörg Hofmann: "The German automotive industry enjoys international success, because of its ability to innovate. Apart from making large investments, the main ingredient for this success is qualified and committed employees and participation. We have to further build on this in order to remain market leaders, not least in the area of green and digitised mobility. In addition to this, Industrie 4.0 is an opportunity for vehicle manufacturers to combine good jobs with productivity and innovation - in production and in R&D alike. In order to achieve this, we need more skilled employees. This means that we need to further promote training in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and maths) subjects, offer more opportunities for 'dual' vocational training and make it easier to reconcile work and family commitments."

The dialogue on the automotive industry is to be continued. The results are to be fed into the work of the Alliance for the 'Future of Industry' and implementation is to be monitored.