Germany must remain a strong base for the automotive industry

Federal Chancellor opens IAA Mobility 2021 Germany must remain a strong base for the automotive industry

“Looking around here, I firmly believe that the transformation to climate neutrality will be a success for our country and for our automotive industry” – Federal Chancellor Merkel opened the IAA Mobility 2021 in Munich. The trade fair showcases innovations geared towards climate-neutral mobility of the future. A summary in questions and answers.

Federal Chancellor Merkel at the IAA Mobility

Federal Chancellor Merkel opened the IAA Mobility: “This trade fair reflects the close connection between a climate-friendly approach and innovative strength.”

Photo: Federal Government/Denzel

What is the IAA Mobility 2021?

New venue, new concept: after almost 70 years in Frankfurt am Main, the International Motor Show (IAA) is being held in Munich for the first time from 7 to 12 September. Under the label IAA Mobility, this year’s trade fair is a combination of an exhibition, a comprehensive mobility platform and a dialogue forum.

A total of more than 700 international exhibitors are represented, including well-known automotive and two-wheeler brands, leading members of the technology and supplier industry, mobility service providers and up-and-coming start-ups. “I find it fascinating to think of mobility in terms of a network – and this new approach comes at just the right time, too. Your aim here is to present a comprehensive perspective on the mobility of the future,” said Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel in her opening speech.

The annual IAA is organised by the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA). The IAA Mobility is held in odd years, while the IAA Commercial Vehicles takes place in Hanover in even years. For full details, see the IAA website.

What is the central theme?

Europe has set itself the goal of becoming the world’s first climate-neutral continent – and transportation has a crucial role to play in this connection. This is why the IAA Mobility 2021 is focusing on the transformation to climate-neutral mobility as one of the most important challenges involved. The motto: “What will move us next”.

The exhibitors will be presenting innovations geared towards further improving the climate footprint of transport. The spectrum ranges from electric models and zero-emission hydrogen propulsion to the latest generation of diesel and petrol engines, as well as a comprehensive mix of cars, e-bikes and public transport integration schemes.

As the Federal Chancellor said: “This trade fair reflects the close connection between a climate-friendly approach and innovative strength”. However, she added, it also showed that “the car industry is not part of the climate problem per se but is a key part of the solution – based on the very opportunities we are exploring now.”

How does the Federal Government promote sustainable mobility?

The Federal Government’s goal is to strengthen mobility while at the same time gearing it towards greater sustainability and climate protection – for the benefit of the economy, the environment and consumers. For this reason, the switch to alternative drive technologies is supported by a broad bundle of measures.

These include support for research and development, boosting sales of electrically powered vehicles, increased expansion of the charging infrastructure, comprehensive modernisation programmes for lorries and buses, tax incentives and support in the field of battery cell innovation.

Merkel said she felt it was particularly important to retain technology neutrality and to be prepared to tap into the potential offered by all promising innovations. Electromobility would be a key pillar of climate-neutral mobility, she said, but other options such as hydrogen and synthetic fuels also had the potential to reduce the burden on the climate.

Why is it so important to expand the charging infrastructure?

An adequate charging infrastructure is essential in order to further strengthen electric mobility. “Here we have to work together to do even better,” said the Federal Chancellor. Business and industry were key players when it came to developing the charging infrastructure, said Merkel, “and this is something that eventually has to be profitable too, of course.”

But the Federal Government was involved in funding here as well, she added: “Up to seven billion euros will be provided by the Federal Government by 2025 for precisely this purpose. Of this amount, a sum of 800 million euros is earmarked for the private charging infrastructure. The reason this is so important is that 85 percent of charging takes place at home.” Funding has already been pledged for more than 730,000 private charging points.

How important is the automotive sector?

The automotive industry is the biggest sector of the manufacturing industry and by far the most important industrial sector in Germany in terms of turnover. Companies in this sector generated a turnover of just over 436 billion euros in 2019 and directly employed a total workforce of some 833,000.

As Merkel noted, this is why it is so important “for us to ensure our economy remains internationally competitive.” Germany had to remain an attractive and powerful base for the automotive industry, she said: “That’s why we’re advocating a common approach across the EU. European emissions trading would be a good place to start.”

In order to support small and medium-sized enterprises in their transition to climate-friendly mobility, the Federal Government has adopted the Automotive Industry Future Fund to supplement the measures of the economic stimulus package. This comprises a volume of 1 billion euros for the years 2021 to 2025.

For more information about government measures to support the transformation of the automotive industry, see the website of the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy.