Automotive industry Bavaria: automotive centre of the past, present and future. Andreas Flocken developed the first electric car in Coburg in 1888, Rudolph Diesel invented his compression ignition engine in Augsburg in 1893, and in 1951, Walter Linderer patented the airbag in Munich. Today, the cutting-edge trends in the automotive sector are electromobility, networked vehicles and autonomous cars.


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Compact industry

Bavaria-based OEMs are among the most innovative automotive manufacturers in the world in the fields of electromobility, networked vehicles and autonomous driving.  Pilot projects such as the partnership between MAN and DB Schenker and the consortium involving Audi, Ducati, Ericsson and Qualcomm and other players are a clear demonstration of the leading role of Bavarian businesses internationally. One landmark project is the motorway digital test bed between Nuremberg and Munich. The combination of modern road infrastructure and the latest communication technology makes the motorway digital test bed a unique opportunity for practical trials for the automotive industry, suppliers, telecommunications companies and research facilities alike.

To promote the integration of the electromobility concepts developed into everyday life, the Bavarian government has its own regional funding programme to drive forward the development of a state-wide charging infrastructure. The target is to install 7000 publicly accessible charging stations in Bavaria by the year 2020. The innovative Fast Charge project in Jettingen-Scheppach, for example, which received funding of 7.8 million euros, is drastically reducing charging times. Anyone can now charge their electric car there with up to 450 kW in just 15 minutes – and for the first 100 km, all you need is three minutes at the ultra-rapid charging point. Partners include BMW, Allego, Phoenix-Contact, Porsche and Siemens.


1,100 businesses in Bavaria along the entire value chain

Current projects and developments are, of course, bolstered by the fact that Bavaria is home to the headquarters of world-famous premium manufacturers such as Audi, BMW and MAN, and branches of around 1100 other leading businesses from all sections of the value chain. These include suppliers such as Bosch, Brose, The Dräxlmaier Group, Rexroth, Schaeffler and Webasto. Together, they generate 32.24 percent of turnover in Bavaria's industrial sector.

Automotive industry figures

employees in the automotive sector
companies in the automotive industry
% of all R&D investments in Bavaria are in the automotive sector
% of cars produced in Germany (motor vehicles and parts) come from Bavaria

Well-known representatives

The global players of the automotive sector

Talent & research

Leading research institutes and university research groups across Bavaria are exploring what the future of mobility looks like. The Fraunhofer IIS Institute for Integrated Circuits and IZM Institute for Reliability and Microintegration, and the Anwenderzentrum Augsburg research centre iwb are just some examples of excellence in research in the region. What is more, research by experts and students from universities and other higher education institutions into innovative next-generation technology also makes Bavaria fertile ground for development: engineers, designers and software development and IT specialists here work together on the solutions of the future.

The student research group WARR at the Technical University of Munich is a typical example of Bavaria's great success in this area. Three times already, the Bavarian student team has seen off 120 other competitors from around the world to win the prestigious international SpaceX Hyperloop Competition.

Bavaria offers an excellent dual training system alongside purely academic options. One element of this system is integrated degree programmes. Students in Landshut can specialise in automotive computer science, students at Coburg University of Applied Sciences and Arts in automotive engineering and management, and students at Hochschule Ingolstadt in automated driving and vehicle safety. There are also traditional dual vocational training programmes, on which businesses and chambers of commerce work together to ensure high-quality training with a strong focus on practice. Apart from this talent factory and source of innovation, Bavarian companies also benefit from another research partnership and start-up platform that is unique in Germany: the Zentrum Digitalisierung.Bayern (ZD.B). The ZD.B drives forward cooperation between industry, science, professional associations and public programmes and has dedicated one of its thematic platforms to networked platforms.


Bavaria is not just a pioneer in networked vehicles. The region also promotes strong interdisciplinary links between stakeholders from industry, politics and research. The M.A.I. Carbon network, for example, is facilitating Bavaria's development as a European centre of fibre-reinforced plastics. Technology companies and businesses from the mobility sector are pooling their expertise in the Mobility Digital Hub. The Bavaria-wide Automotive Cluster provides a strong basis for excellent networking with 730 players from pioneering research and industry. The main objective? To drive forward innovation in Bavaria.

Bavaria is also a key centre for global industrial partnerships: the BMW Group opened a second Autonomous Driving Campus in Munich in 2018. Together with international experts from FCA, Intel and Mobileye, BMW is working on the implementation of highly and fully automated vehicles. Zenuity, the Volvo and Autoliv (now Veoneer) joint venture, is also exploring this area at its Bavarian facilities.


Accelerators, incubators and sector-specific ventures for mobility start-ups have, of course, also developed in recent years alongside traditional networks. In Bavaria, there is close collaboration between start-ups and renowned research institutions and leadings OEMs, for Bavarian start-ups are particularly strong in the B2B sector. OEM initiatives such as that launched by MAN, and Next47 by Siemens, Audi's Autonomous Intelligent Driving and BMW's Startup Garage provide access to a network of top engineers and managers. Suppliers including REHAU and Schaeffler have also set up their own partnership options. This exclusive access to the who's who of the automotive sector is invaluable.


Last but not least, another reason Bavaria is the ideal start-up location is its great range of collaboration spaces in each field. These include the Volkswagen Data:Lab and the Digital Mobility Hub, the latter launched in Munich as part of the nationwide Digital Hub Initiative.


This cross-sector exchange of information and experience through extensive networks, and close geographical proximity to major OEMs, innovative start-ups and excellent research, make Bavaria a leading automotive industry centre. The industry agrees with this assessment: 96 percent of businesses in the automotive sector in greater Munich are satisfied and two thirds even "extremely satisfied" or "very satisfied" with the business environment.


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Location map

Companies in the automotive industry in Bavaria