Berlin (dpa) – The federal government wants to support small and medium-sized car suppliers in particular in difficult structural change with a billion-dollar program. The Federal Minister of the Economy, Peter Altmaier (CDU), presented the key points for this.
According to information from the German Press Agency, the program aims to accelerate transformation, strengthen innovation and advance the use of data.
The Ministry of Economy assumes that the program can come into effect on January 1, 2021. The key points now go to departmental coordination. A total of two billion euros will be made available to the program by 2024.
The black-red coalition agreed in June as part of its economic stimulus package on a multi-million dollar “bonus program” to promote future investments. Altmaier had already been criticized by the SPD coalition partner because it took a long time to come up with a precise concept.
Many car suppliers are currently in a difficult position. The crown crisis caused demand for cars to collapse, but companies also have to invest a lot of money in new units. Many suppliers are still attached to the combustion engine. Auto suppliers like Conti recently announced that they would cut jobs and close plants.
Altmaier wants to use the billions in funding to initiate a sustainable, rapid and technologically neutral transformation of the vehicle industry, as they say. This requires investments in new concepts and processes, new products, qualifications and production facilities. Future technologies included autonomous driving and comprehensive data usage based on the planned European Gaia-X cloud platform.
In the context of structural change, software is becoming increasingly important, according to a document that was made available to the dpa in excerpts. “Artificial intelligence is necessary for autonomous driving, but also for many other fields of application, such as optimizing energy consumption in electric cars.”
Digitization leads to increasingly complex products, the development of which is increasingly difficult for a single company to cope with. This is said to be a growing challenge, especially for small and medium-sized businesses. There remains a considerable need for research and development to lay the foundation for future competitive and innovative products.
The program must be based on three pillars. On the one hand, investments in new systems, Industry 4.0 and the protection of the environment will be promoted. “The change to new products, especially in electric mobility, requires an adaptation of production,” he says. “Faster innovation cycles require more flexible production systems. The cost pressure in production is high. “On the other hand, it is about researching and developing innovations such as new drives. Furthermore,” innovation clusters “will be created.
Structural change in the industry should also be a big topic at the upcoming “automobile summit” in mid-November with Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU). According to IG Metall, the existence of small and midsize automotive suppliers in particular is threatened because they cannot cope with the multiple burden of the corona crisis, digitization and the shift to electric drives.
IG Metall wants to keep industrial structures with a rescue concept and thus secure jobs. In addition to a transformation fund to support the respective share capital, the union had already launched a new investment company. Most or all of this will be taken over by companies that are engaged in the production of parts for internal combustion engines which are being phased out and therefore can hardly find fresh money on the capital market.
In a document of prominent SPD economic politicians released on Monday, a “preventive structural policy” is called for to avoid ruptures. Therefore, “regional transformation clusters” should be developed.