From left to right: Andreas Wlasak, Vice President Industrial Design at Faurecia, Jürgen Barke State Secretary at the Ministry of Economic Affairs of the Saarland, Etienne Oudot De Dainville, Minister Counselor for Economic Affairs at the French Embassy in Berlin, Ulrich Selzer Executive Director at Opel, Anish K. Taneja, President of Michelin Northern Europe and Vincent Carel, General Delegate of Aria Lorraine.

EU-funded PAE project strengthens cooperation between automotive clusters in the Greater Region

The future of the automotive industry: common challenges and opportunities for Germany and France

Relations between Germany and France are more important than ever. The digitalisation of the automotive industry does not stop at European borders. Germany and France are important economic partners and face many challenges to meet the ever-changing needs of their customers.

Both countries play a crucial role in the future development of the European automotive industry on the continent. “The two countries are in the same boat and must work hand in hand,” said Bernhard Mattes, outgoing president of the German Automobile Industry Association (VDA) at the Frankfurt International Motor Show (IAA). For example, the French automotive industry “participates” in the VDA through its subsidiary Opel. The Director of Autoregion eV, Armin Gehl, a member of the European Automotive Cluster PAE, which brings together 12 Belgian, German, French and Luxembourgish partners, was also invited to the event.

“I am pleased to welcome this cross-border work center within the IAA,” said Mr Mattes, stressing the importance of cross-border cooperation with many suppliers on both sides of the border.

He cautioned against national unilateralism in the face of the challenges facing the automotive industry: “The transformation and digitization of industry do not stop at the border, they can only work together.” cited as an example the joint production of battery cells planned by the French and German governments, in which Paris and Berlin wish to invest billions of dollars. He concluded his welcome of guests with an elegant “Long live France!”

Jürgen Barke, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Economic Affairs of Saarland, also attended this day France at the IAA. He highlighted the important role of the EU-funded PAE cluster. Barke, like the president of the VDA, affirmed the need for cross-border cooperation. He spoke about cooperation in research and development between the universities of Saarbrücken, Metz and Nancy.

Another promising joint project is that between Germany, France and Luxembourg on the subject of autonomous driving.

The Saarland Region, which has around 44,000 employees in the automotive industry, also claims to be a driving force for hydrogen technology as a means of propulsion: “We have a good chance of contributing to progress in this field”, said Mr. Barke.

Vincent Carel, General Delegate of ARIA Lorraine (Headquarters: Nancy) and Head of the Automotive Sector at CCI Grand-Est, is also a partner of the EAP project and stresses the importance of good cooperation between automotive manufacturers in the region. Great Region. In light of the automotive challenges, “we want to attract even more small and medium-sized businesses into our clusters,” Carel said. Armin Gehl of the Autoregion also confirms the desire to broaden the well-begun cooperation in the Sarre-Lor-Lux area, which should be strengthened.

Similarly, Etienne Oudot De Dainville, Minister Counselor for Economic Affairs at the French Embassy in Berlin, believes that close cooperation within the automotive industry between France and Germany is essential. He called for European regulation for autonomous driving and a European strategy for hydrogen.

While the cooperation now seems concrete and there are differences specific to each country, the podium was able to discuss the challenges of the automotive industry, at the dawn of a period of uncertainty and profound changes.

After the roundtable and lunch together, PAE partners offered a guided tour of several IAA exhibitor stands: Daimler, ZF Friedrichshafen, Valeo, Bosch, Ford, Ina Schaeffler and Opel.