Research & development May 03, 2016

Indicator for the entire sector: 100 years of BMW in Bavaria

BMW gives the Bavarian automotive sector a reason to celebrate this year, as it reaches its centenary. A reason not only to look back, but also to look forward to the sector's future in Bavaria.

100 years of BMW – a milestone not only for Bavaria. The sector has an even longer tradition in Bavaria. Rudolf Diesel developed the diesel engine in Augsburg as far back as 1893, laying the foundation for a thriving industry that still contributes significantly to the economic strength of the entire state today. Employing nearly 190,000 people, Bavarian car manufacturers create a yearly turnover of EUR 110 billion; a quarter of all cars manufactured in Germany are produced in Bavaria. As well as international brands like BMW, Audi and MAN, suppliers such as Bosch Rexroth AG, Brose and Webasto also contribute to the sector's success – in total more than 1,100 companies are active in the automotive industry. And the location is a top choice for international suppliers, too.


Trend for electromobility

The automotive industry is still characterised by great innovative strength – today's combustion engine is the electric car. The focus on electromobility is one of the most important drivers of the sector. One of the key sources of funding is Bayern Innovativ GmbH, which coordinates the Schaufenster Bayern-Sachsen electromobility project – a collaboration between Bavaria and Saxony – for example. The two states, in which the automotive industry plays an important part, collaborate on approx. 40 projects with a total funding volume of EUR 130 million. As well as offering apprenticeships and advanced training programmes, Bavaria hosts four model regions in which stakeholders from science, industry and municipalities are working on an infrastructure to expand electromoblity.


Connecting innovation

The Kompetenzatlas Elektromobilität Bayern was also created to support innovation, giving investors a comprehensive overview of suitable partners for establishing project consortia or networks. The atlas covers all stages of development – from research to industrial implementation. Connection is a hugely important key work for the automotive sector in a digitized age. It is also a big focus for the Automotive Cluster. The central platform of the cluster's work, which hopes to bring competence in business and science closer together, is the Conference on Future Automotive Technology (CoFAT), which takes place for the fifth time on May 3rd and 4th this year.

The newly-created Zentrum Digitalisierung.Bayern follows the same strategy. Its “Connected Mobility” platform recently held its opening event and initial projects on connecting and pooling competences have already started. 

But digitization is not the only thing driving the sector: lightweight metal construction is also an important topic. This field also has a cluster, representing the sector's efforts to make new solutions viable for the future. The Cluster MAI Carbon in the three cities of Munich, Augsburg and Ingolstadt wants to make carbon fibre-reinforced composite materials ready for large-scale production by 2020 – an interdisciplinary challenge being worked on not only by well-known car manufacturers such as Audi and BMW and their suppliers, but also by companies from various other sectors, such as aerospace and mechanical engineering, as well as manufacturers of fibres and semi-finished products. 

The state's efforts in e-mobility and light construction are an incentive to create new ideas, and not only for established companies. Start-ups also benefit from the top-class membership of the Bavarian clusters and can develop their ideas to market readiness with strong support.

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