This story initially appeared on ABA – Invest in Austria‘s website.
Not a day goes by without reports being published on things happening in the automobile industry – positive as well as negative. The unfavourable stories usually focus on the issues of greenhouse gas emissions and the lack of environmental compatibility. The positive coverage mainly deals with activities and announcements about electric cars. The level of attention should not be surprising. The bottom line is that most of us use our own vehicles on a daily basis, and the global market is huge, consisting of 80 million new automobiles.
China: from technology follower to technology leader
China comprises the largest market region, in which more vehicles are being sold than in Europe or North America. From today’s perspective, China will have more stringent emission regulations than anywhere else in the world. Every automobile manufacturer aiming to offer cars on the Chinese market has to develop products capable of fulfilling Chinese regulations. For this reason, vehicles with electric drive systems are being developed all over the world, both as pure battery-operated as well as hybrid versions. The development of electric-powered cars is an enormous challenge for all vehicle producers and the entire supply chain. Demand on the part of Chinese automobile companies is particularly high. One of the biggest Chinese manufacturers of cars is Great Wall Motor. The company realised that it must work on these tasks on a global basis, establishing a development centre for electric drive systems in Austria. In other words, Great Wall Motor has selected Austria as the location to develop cutting edge technologies for environmentally friendly cars designed for the global market.
Strong business location for the automotive sector
The Austrian business location stands out thanks to excellently trained engineers and a comparatively large labour market in the automotive, electronics and software sectors. Austria is an especially popular living space in which companies can offer attractive job opportunities to highly qualified individuals. The automotive sector in Austria is particularly well-developed in the component supply industry. On balance, close to 400,000 jobs are linked to the automobile industry, and revenue generated from exports equal about EUR 14 billion. For historical reasons, the Austrians are innovative in both the development of new products as well as in manufacturing different types of products.
Competitiveness based on perspectives
Nevertheless, there is a lot of competition across the globe. As a small country, we have to maintain our competitiveness by becoming better. I wish for conditions offering prospects for the future for motivated people who are willing to learn. Work and commitment have to pay off. People live from the prospect of being able to further develop their potential, achieve something, be successful and reap the benefits from their work. Political decision makers are called upon to create such a fertile environment.
By Dr. Markus Schermann, General Manager Great Wall Motor Austria R&D GmbH