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

Automotive industry in NRW

North Rhine-Westphalia is one of the most important automotive locations in Germany. All sectors associated with the automotive industry are very well represented here, e.g.:

  • internationally active corporations from the conventional vehicle manufacturing sector
  • a predominantly SME-based supplier industry
  • electric mobility
  • automated and networked driving

With their state-of-the-art products, small and medium-sized companies in particular can react flexibly to market requirements and launch new technical developments across all sectors.


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 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 246 companies behind Baden-Württemberg with 306 companies, but ahead of Bavaria with 212.

Automated and networked driving

With its broad-based expertise in the relevant areas automotive suppliers, sensor technology, information and communication technology and its well-developed and networked road infrastructure, North Rhine-Westphalia is predestined to become a leading location for technologies related to automated driving. Cities, scientists and companies in NRW are working on the further technical development of automated and networked vehicles.


dSpace: Testing systems for the future

Innovative solutions for developing and testing electronic control units and control systems are to be found in NRW. dSPACE from Paderborn is the world's leading supplier of software and hardware tools for testing these systems. The company's solutions are used wherever engineers work on the cars or aircraft of the future. 


Mobileye: Driver assistance systems

But it is not only German suppliers who are conducting research here. The Israeli start-up Mobileye, the world's leading supplier of driver assistance systems, operates its European headquarters in Düsseldorf, from where all European partners and customers are supplied. The company develops systems such as brake assistants or distance warning systems and is working on the concrete implementation of autonomous driving.


Yangfeng: Modern interior design

Yangfeng - world leader in automotive interiors

The Chinese automotive supplier Yangfeng specializes in vehicle interiors and is the world leader in this segment. The product spectrum ranges from center consoles and decorative trim elements to intelligent surfaces. Since the founding of Yangfeng Automotive Interiors 2015, the company has had its European headquarters with around 600 employees in Neuss, from where 15 other locations in Europe are managed. The company opened a new innovation center in February 2018. Here, work on the car interiors of the future is carried out in various disciplines. The examples show that in NRW, more than in any other region, work is being done on the future of the car and mobility.


Promoting new technologies

HELLA: Innovative lighting technology

In the field of lighting technology, HELLA makes an important contribution to greater safety on the roads. The Westphalian specialist created its dynamic adaptive headlights with an innovative swivel mechanism. These extend the field of vision when entering a bend by up to 90 percent. Drivers detect potential dangers earlier and can react accordingly.

The examples show that in NRW, more than in any other region, work is being carried out on the future of the car and mobility.

Our research supports automotive innovations

The innovative power of the automotive industry in NRW thrives on close cooperation between industry and application-oriented research institutions.

  • The Automotive Center Südwestfalen, for example, provides a platform for research and development work, engineering services and knowledge transfer between car manufacturers, suppliers and university institutes. 
  • RWTH Aachen University is considered one of the world's leading universities in the field of automotive engineering research and the most important in Europe. The study course "Automotive Engineering" is of particular importance here.
  • CERMcity (Center for European Research on Mobility/Urban Validation Environment) on the premises of the Aldenhoven Testing Center of RWTH Aachen University is a testing and validation environment for automated and networked vehicles. It offers users an environment in which vehicle and communication technology can be realistically displayed in demanding inner-city traffic situations: From intersections, parking areas, bus stops and roundabouts to zebra crossings and simulated house fronts.

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