The automotive industry in NRW
  2. Industries in NRW
  3. Automotive

The automotive industry in NRW

North Rhine-Westphalia is one of the key centers of the German automotive industry. A broad spectrum of auto enterprises operate in NRW – ranging from major globally operating carmakers to small and medium-sized component suppliers and electromobility specialists. These SMEs in particular are in a position to respond flexibly to changing market requirements and initiate new technical developments for cross-industry applications.

Did you know ...

...that the Ford car plant in Cologne is one of the most modern and productive of its kind in Europe?
...that the Bochum-built "Solar World GT" vehicle travelled around the world in 414 days powered solely by the sun
...that North Rhine-Westphalia is a central location for Germany’s automotive supply industry?

Quick Facts


The automotive industry in NRW consists of 800 enterprises with a total workforce in excess of 200,000.


in NRW
One third of Germany’s automotive component suppliers are located in NRW.

63 %

export ratio
With an export ratio of around 63 percent, the automotive industry is the industry with the second highest export share in NRW.

2nd Place

in vehicle construction
In the core area of the automotive industry, vehicle construction, NRW occupies 2nd place with 235 companies behind Baden-Württemberg with 306 companies, but ahead of Bavaria with 212.

Promoting new technology

New technologies are developed in NRW

The innovative strength of the automotive sector in NRW benefits from the close collaboration between industry and applied research establishments. The South Westphalian Automotive Center, for example, provides a platform for R&D activities, engineering services and knowledge transfer between automotive manufacturers, suppliers and university institutes. NRW has significant potential in the area of electromobility – thanks also to the three centers of competence in Aachen, Dortmund and Münster. Together with 80 technology partners, scientists at RWTH Aachen University have developed the innovative electrically powered "Street Scooter" with a range of 130 kilometers and a top speed of 120 kilometers per hour. Deutsche Post DHL has assumed responsibility for this project and is deploying around 3,400 "Street Scooters" for its day-to-day parcel and mail delivery operations.

Automotive enterprises in NRW

The automotive industry in NRW consists of major international corporations as well as small and medium-sized component suppliers.

e.GO Mobile
Ford-Werke GmbH

FG-Innovation: The lightest actuator of the world

Category Automotive

Region Ruhr Metropolis

Who would have thought that even a fuel filler door actuator could have a positive effect on energy consumption? Heavy electric motors that were once used can now be replaced by the so-called actuator systems from FG-INNOVATION. They are the lightest and most powerful drive elements in the world, bringing down weight by up to 95%. A reduction in the weight of an automobile lowers fuel consumption. Actuators made of intelligent materials, the so-called shape memory alloys (SMA) produced by this company from Bochum, also operate other mechatronic systems in vehicles, for example fuel filler doors or rear seats. When electrically heated an SMA actuator will deform, releasing an actuation mechanism that opens the fuel filler door. Upon cooling, this wire returns to its original state. FG-INNOVATION is a spin-off company founded by the RUB (Bochum University) and now part of the internationally established EGELHOF Group. The pioneering SMA technology finds application not only in automotive engineering but also in aeronautics and building technology.


Mechatronik Ausgabe 11-12/ 2011


Economic Development Agency of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW)

Völklinger Str. 4
40219 Düsseldorf

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Germany’s No. 1 Economic Region

The excellent infrastructure, the central location and the high qualifications of the people make North Rhine-Westphalia an economic power of international standing. In terms of numerous economic statistics, NRW is world class.


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