innovation Aug 23, 2021

Bavaria – home of many innovative companies in the manufacturing sector

According to a study published in August 2021 by the research institute IW Köln, Bavaria is one of the world’s leading locations for manufacturing. Long-established global players are networked with young start-ups and research institutions. The third largest sector in the Bavarian economy therefore combines innovative ideas with progressive know-how as well as expertise and consistency that has grown over decades – a good recipe for cross-industry innovation and sustainable, secure jobs in Bavaria. Which companies and businesses are there in Bavaria? How are they positioned? Find out here.

Current study underlines Bavaria’s international importance as an industrial location

In the study by the German Economic Institute (IW Köln) on the quality of industrial locations commissioned by the Bavarian Industry Association, Bavaria achieved third place in an international comparison with the 45 most important competitor countries. At the same time, it positions Bavaria among the top 10 locations in five of the six sub-rankings:

  • State: Government efficiency, corruption control, regulation, bureaucracy
  • Infrastructure: Infrastructure in general, international links, logistics systems, basic ICT infrastructure
  • Knowledge: Education system, innovation environment, R&D expenditure, patenting activity, productivity
  • Resources: Natural resources, energy supply, value chains, business clusters, capital market
  • Market: Market size, value chains, customer focus



Industrial location quality in international comparison (Source: IW Cologne)

The manufacturing industry in Bavaria: dates, facts, figures

There are a total of 7,600 industrial companies in Bavaria. This includes around 1.3 million innovative jobs in Bavaria. Measured by the number of people in employment, the manufacturing industry was the third largest economic sector in Bavaria with 20.5 percent in 2019. Together, these companies generated 382 billion euros in 2019, according to the Industry Report Bavaria 2020 published by the Bavarian State Ministry of Economic Affairs, Regional Development and Energy. 1.5 percent growth is documented by this report for manufacturing companies and firms in Bavaria for 2019 compared to the year before.

Innovation and production go hand in hand in Bavaria

Industry 4.0, that is the keyword for innovative manufacturing companies in Bavaria. Networking, digital infrastructures and a lively exchange with start-ups as well as research institutions sustainably strengthen the manufacturing industry in Bavaria. Bavarian technology and start-up centres with different focal points also promote the development of cross-industry innovation.

The most important industries in Bavaria

The large firms and companies in Bavaria in the manufacturing industry focus on the following sectors, measured by the employment rate:

  • Mechanical engineering with a share of 17.8%
  • Automotive industry with 15.5%
  • Food and feed production with 8.8%
  • Metal and electrical industry with 8.4% each
  • Data processing equipment, electronic and optical products with 7.4%
  • Rubber and plastics processing with 6.1%
  • Chemical processing with 4.3%
  • Manufacture of glass, ceramics, processing of stone and earth with 3.8%

The front runners are therefore manufacturing companies in Bavaria, most of which can be assigned to the mechanical engineering and automotive sectors. Continuous increases are particularly visible in the data processing sector – an indication of the advancing development in Industry 4.0.

Global players as driving forces

Global players are clearly among the most important companies and firms in the manufacturing sector in Bavaria. This also results in the good export ratio of 54.3 percent, which also increased in 2019. A few examples:

Linde from Munich

Industry: Energy industry with focus on gas plants

Employees: 65,000 worldwide

Company head office: Munich (Upper Bavaria)

The history of the Linde Group goes back to the 19th century. At that time, the company’s focus was on refrigeration systems used particularly in breweries. The founding name was “Gesellschaft für Linde's Eismaschinen Aktiengesellschaft”. Today, the company from Bavaria focuses on gas extraction plants.

BMW Dingolfing site

Industry: Automotive manufacturing

Employees: 125,000 worldwide, of which 17,500 in Dingolfing

Company head office: Munich, largest location in Dingolfing (Lower Bavaria)

Internationally, BMW is probably the best known Bavarian car brand. Bayerische Motoren Werke has been successful since the beginning of the 20th century and, together with Audi and Mercedes, is continuously developing the automotive industry. With the BMW Startup Garage, the company focuses on new ideas and offers a platform for start-ups to develop innovative solutions with concrete application needs in cooperation. The Dingolfing plant is the largest in Europe. Around 340,000 cars are built there every year.

Ever wondered which #startups the BMW Startup Garage is partnering with? The BMW Startup Garage is a startup’s gateway...

Gepostet von BMWStartupGarage am Dienstag, 25. August 2020


Krones AG in Neutraubling

Industry: Mechanical engineering, specialising in components, plants and factories for beverages and liquid foodstuffs

Employees: 16,000 worldwide

Company head office: Neutraubling bei Regensburg (Upper Palatinate)

The mechanical engineering specialist from the Regensburg area has been in existence since 1951. Whereas the initial focus was on labelling machines, the portfolio now extends to complete systems for beverage production, including the necessary IT infrastructure. The company from Bavaria develops, builds and then assembles customised solutions on site. The company relies on digital solutions, especially in the area of lifecycle service. 


Schaeffler AG in Herzogenaurach, Schweinfurt and Bamberg

Industry: Mechanical engineering, specialising in ball bearings

Employees: 87,700 worldwide

Company head office: Herzogenaurach (Middle Franconia), Schweinfurt (Lower Franconia) and Bamberg (Upper Franconia)

It all began in 1883 with a ball grinding machine – today, Schaeffler AG is one of the leading manufacturers of all kinds of rolling ball bearings and coupling systems. The company with head office in Middle Franconia primarily serves the automotive industry and mechanical engineering companies. In addition to three locations in Germany, there are development centres in Europe, Asia and North and South America.

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