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The clear winner in the struggle of the German carmakers – the switch to electric brings new challenges with it | Business news

The German automotive industry is arguably the most competitive in the world.

Europe’s largest car producing country and the third largest in the world is home to three of the ten top-selling car manufacturers in the world – Volkswagen, BMW and Daimler.

And despite the latest collaborations in some areas and a fine of 875 million euros that the European Commission levied on VW and BMW last year Agreements to curb the use of emission technologies, there is little that the three enjoy more than lying on top of each other.

Volkswagen is the world’s largest automaker in terms of sales

That is why the year-end sales figures published by the trio are always closely monitored.

It can also be a reason for regional pride, because the trio, all great employers, are all based in different parts of Germany.

VW is based in Wolfsburg in the north of the country, while BMW is based in Munich, in the heart of Germany’s richest region, Bavaria.

Daimler is based in Stuttgart in southwest Germany, the neighboring city of the Black Forest, where Porsche and the power tool and auto parts giant Bosch are also based.

With the three competing in so many difficult categories, it can be difficult at times to pinpoint who had the best year, but figuring out who was in gold, silver, and bronze in 2021 has proven to be relatively easy.

At the bottom of the list is Volkswagen, which despite its sales as the world’s largest automobile manufacturer has had a comparatively disappointing period.

18 November 2021, Berlin:
Mercedes-Benz Pic: AP is one of the Daimler brands

VW, whose other brands include Seat, Skoda, Audi and Bentley, announced today that global car deliveries fell by 8.1% to just under 4.9 million in 2021.

The company could still boast some successes, not least in the UK, where Ford has just ended Ford’s leadership in the new car market for half a century.

VW also emphasized today that the proportion of purely battery-powered electric and hybrid vehicles produced has almost doubled to 7.5% of total deliveries.

In Europe, such vehicles now make up almost one in five of the new vehicles delivered.

And while there were declines in sales in Europe and the massive Chinese market, the company was also able to point to an increase of 13% in North America.

Ralf Brandstätter, CEO of the VW brands: “Volkswagen is pushing the switch to e-mobility despite the limited supply of semiconductors.”

Second in Germany last year was Daimler, owner of brands such as Mercedes-Benz, Maybach and Smart.

The company announced last Friday that its Mercedes-Benz had sold 2.05 million vehicles in 2021, a 5% decrease that again reflects global chip shortages.

The MINI Electric will be presented at the MINI plant in Cowley, Oxfordshire before going into production this year.  07.09.2019
Mini’s electric model is now the best-selling from the Mini brand, which is owned by BMW

The largest drop in sales was in Europe, where Mercedes-Benz had to accept a sales decline of 11.2%, with sales in China falling by 2% and sales in the USA even increasing by 0.5%.

Above all, however, it meant that Mercedes-Benz was overtaken by BMW as the global premium automobile manufacturer for the first time in five years – the absolute winner of the three in 2021.

The automaker who also the Rolls Royce and mini brands increased car sales in 2021 by 8.4% to 2.5 million.

The BMW brand itself relocated a record 2.2 million units, an increase of 9.1%, making it the largest premium automobile brand in the world.

BMW also pointed to a doubling in electric car sales, highlighting that Mini’s electric model is now the best-selling Mini brand.

Pieter Nota, BMW Board Member for Customers, Brands and Sales, said: “Despite delivery bottlenecks and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, we achieved a strong sales performance in 2021 thanks to a strong operational performance and an excellent range of products.

“Our brands achieved numerous best sales results of all time worldwide – led by the BMW brand, which is number one in the premium segment worldwide.

“With more than 100,000 fully electric vehicles sold last year, the ramp-up of electromobility was our clear focus.”

Technicians inspect a Rolls-Royce car on the production line at the Rolls-Royce Goodwood plant near Chichester, Britain, Jan.
BMW also owns the Rolls-Royce car brand

By next year, BMW will have at least one fully electric model on the streets in nine out of ten of its current market segments.

The company expects to sell approximately 10 million all-electric vehicles over the next decade.

It would be easy to look at the year 2021 with the effects of the chip shortage on the industry, which was almost as unusual for Germany’s carmaker as it was in 2020 with its pandemic-related production stoppages.

But the industry is facing many challenges, not least the transformation to electric vehicles and away from the internal combustion engine, the technology that has been at the heart of German industrial and manufacturing expertise for a century.

Volker Wissing, who was appointed transport minister in the new German coalition government, has publicly criticized the country’s comparatively slow transition to so-called “clean mobility”.

Germany is the only developed economy in the world that doesn’t have speed limits on its highways – a key issue in last year’s elections – while the three auto giants themselves have been accused of hesitating to introduce more stringent new ones despite recent delays in switching to electric vehicles Emissions regulations by the European Commission.

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“Massive spread of electrified vehicles”

This partly reflects the extent of the challenge: Even before the pandemic, VW chairman Herbert Diess openly pondered in an interview with Handelsblatt that German carmakers only had a balanced chance of negotiating the transition.

And that’s not just a headache for automakers.

Germany is also one of the world’s largest auto parts suppliers, an industry that employs more than 820,000 people in the country.

There are far fewer parts in an electric vehicle than in a car or truck with an internal combustion engine, which has a corresponding impact on employment in an economy that has an estimated 2.15 million “auto-dependent” jobs.

So the transition also prepares that new German government and the three governing parties SPD, FPD and Greens are by no means unanimous on issues such as the introduction of speed limits or a fixed date for the exit of conventional vehicles.

It’s a fair bet that behind the scenes automakers are pushing for caution.


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