Volkswagen Cuts Output at Biggest Plant as Chip Shortage Bites

  • Audi division will extend summer break due to dearth of supply
  • Toyota succumbs to disruptions linked to Covid-19 outbreaks

in Bloomberg, by  Elisabeth Behrmann, 20-08-2021

Volkswagen AG plants are set for a bumpy restart after the traditional summer break as the car industry remains in the grip of a chip shortage that most recently engulfed holdout Toyota Motor Corp.

VW’s Wolfsburg plant, the world’s biggest employing some 60,000 people, will restart with only one shift next week Monday through Friday, Europe’s biggest automaker said. Audi, the group’s biggest profit contributor, will extend the summer break by one week at its two factories in Germany as semiconductor supply remains “volatile and tense.”Carmakers’ recent warnings of rocky months ahead are proving prescient after Covid-19 outbreaks in Southeast Asia forced restrictions at chip-processing plants. VW last month flagged “really constrained” output during the third quarter, while BMW AG predicted ongoing uncertainty.

Toyota will suspend output at 14 plants across Japan for various lengths of time through next month, succumbing to supply issues it had been navigating better than other manufacturers thanks to stockpiles of chips and other key components. The impact will be most severe in September, with Toyota slashing its production plan by 40%.

While carmakers have been forced to dial back sales expectations, higher vehicle prices and a focus on major money makers have helped cushion the blow.

According to research by Susquehanna Financial Group, the amount of time it’s taking for chip-starved companies to get orders filled has stretched to more than 20 weeks, indicating the shortages are getting worse.


Automobile delivery towers at the VW plant in Wolfsburg. Photographer: Liesa Johannssen-Koppitz/Bloomberg


Suppliers back EV shift but will rely on combustion engines for years to come, study says

Companies still generate 85% of sales from combustion technology despite push toward electrification

in Automotive News Europe, by Nathan Eddy, 19-08-2021

Automotive suppliers are in the middle of a transformation to electric mobility, but still generate 85 percent of sales from combustion technology, according to a joint study by German auto industry group VDA and Deloitte.

The study, conducted early in 2021, found the vast majority of suppliers surveyed are backing electromobility as the technology of the future, with more than 80 percent assuming this drive technology will become established as the technology standard.

In addition, a large proportion of respondents (more than 80 percent) say they have already started to switch to electromobility. Only 10 percent of the companies see no reason to transform, as they say they are not affected due to their product portfolio.

However, 88 percent do not expect the internal combustion engine to be completely replaced by electromobility until 2030 or later. Some of the suppliers surveyed assume that fuel cells or synthetic fuels could also still make it to (additional) standard.

The automotive suppliers surveyed said they invest over 30 percent of their research and development expenditure in electrification technology, and 85 percent are using the profits from traditional combustion technology to build up expertise in electromobility in parallel.

“As the investment behavior of automotive suppliers shows, they expect sales of electric cars to continue to grow significantly,” Harald Proff, partner and automotive industry leader at Deloitte Germany and Global, said in a statement.

“It also shows that companies are strategically focusing on a sense of proportion. A large proportion are pursuing a harvest strategy, i.e. a controlled, slow withdrawal from the market for combustion technologies while simultaneously building up the electromobility business area.

Proff noted by contrast, more radical strategies such as a rapid market exit at an early stage are being pursued by only a minority of respondents.

Asked about the biggest barriers to rapid transformation, the 83 companies surveyed cited a lack of political support and planning certainty as the top roadblock.

In addition, increasing sustainability requirements, a slow expansion of renewable energies and a shortage of skilled workers were also mentioned.

Finally, the automotive suppliers were able to indicate which economic policy measures they consider to be particularly helpful. What they would like to see from policymakers above all are lower taxes and energy costs, ultimately a reduction in bureaucracy, faster expansion of the charging infrastructure and greater flexibility in the labor market.

“Companies are forging ahead with the transformation,” VDA president Hildegard Mueller said in a statement.

“For a successful and sustainable transformation, the other political and economic framework conditions are now also crucial, in terms of the charging infrastructure, the expansion of renewable energies, the reduction of bureaucracy, the training of skilled workers and the creation of comprehensible and manageable sustainability requirements.”


Bloomberg | More than 80 percent of suppliers questioned in the study say they have already started to switch to electromobility.


Ford will cut output again at Cologne plant on chip shortages

Fiesta production will be suspended for five days from August 23

in Automotive News Europe, by Nathan Eddy, 19-08-2021

Ford has cut production again at its Cologne plant in Germany due to delivery problems with semiconductors, the automaker said.

A Ford spokesman told Automotive News Europe sister publication Automobilwoche that there had been corona-related failures at a semiconductor manufacturer in Malaysia, which had led to delivery problems at a door module supplier.

From the beginning of May to mid-July, Fiesta production in Cologne had already been halted due to semiconductor problems.

“Due to a production stoppage at a semiconductor manufacturer, Ford Fiesta production at our Cologne plant will be suspended from August 23 to 28,” a Ford spokesperson confirmed to ANE via email. “We are working as quickly as possible to resume production.”

On Monday the workforce returned to the production halls after their month-long plant vacation to resume assembly of the Fiesta.

According to the Automobilwoche report, management announced in a letter to employees that due to a lack of door modules, short-time work would be requested for the next two weeks, starting August 17.

It may take even longer, the letter indicated, as the supply of material in the week starting September 6 is “still uncertain.”

Ford has about 15,000 employees in Cologne, 5000 of them in Fiesta production. The rest work in development, administration and other areas – Cologne serves the US car company as its German and European headquarters.

Ford’s second location in Germany is Saarlouis in Saarland.Production of the Focus model there is not affected by the current supply bottlenecks, the company spokesman said.

Semiconductor supply problems are affecting the entire automotive industry, and other manufacturers have also had to stop production due to a lack of components.

Reuters | Fiesta production in Cologne is shown.


Bosch at the IAA Mobility: Safe, emissions-free, and exciting mobility – now and in the future

  • Bosch offers visitors an interactive, hands-on experience
  • Batteries and fuel cells: electrical powertrains make mobility more sustainable.
  • Drivers and vehicles: assisted and automated driving enhance road-safety and comfort.
  • On the road and at home: vehicles are connected to the internet, increasing safety and comfort.

in Bosch, 10-08-2021

Cars, e-bikes, motorcycles, scooters, electric race cars: Bosch is rolling out mobility solutions for all types of vehicles, and is even making smartphones and people’s homes an integral part of mobility. At IAA Mobility 2021 in Munich, the supplier of technology and services will be showcasing its solutions for personalized, automated, connected, and electrified mobility. Bosch will be in exhibition hall B3 at booth C30 and in the bike area, in the Messe West parking garage, and downtown at Königsplatz and Odeonsplatz.

At the trade fair and downtown – get in, get on, try it out

Bosch show car: In the future, more and more vehicles will be electrically powered. They will increasingly be connected with other road users and their surroundings, assume more and more of the driving task themselves, and provide personalized services for their occupants. Bosch technology for automated, electrified, personalized, and connected mobility is paving the way for this future vision of mobility. The company has the systems know-how and comprehensive software and hardware expertise that this requires. For example, Bosch is developing central computers for the electronics architecture of the future. These vehicle computers are used for assisted and automated driving, controlling vehicle motion, as well as for cockpit functions and body electronics. (Trade fair: Hall B3, booth C30)

Driverless parking: Bosch and nine project partners will present the future of parking in a live demonstration. In the automated valet parking system developed jointly by Bosch and Mercedes-Benz, a smartphone command directs cars automatically to their assigned parking bays without the need for driver supervision. Interplay between the intelligent parking garage infrastructure and the vehicle technology makes this possible. Sensors in the parking garage monitor the driving aisle and its surroundings while guiding the vehicle. The in-car technology converts the commands from the infrastructure into safe driving maneuvers. A joint project with the association of the German automotive industry (VDA) shows how vehicles from different manufacturers will be able to communicate with infrastructure technology from various suppliers in the future. Against this backdrop, the project partners are also working on an international standard (ISO 23374). (Live demonstrations several times a day in the Messe West parking garage)

An enhanced cycling experience: E-bikes are the best-selling electric vehicle in Europe. Riding an electrically assisted bike is good for people’s health and the environment – as well as a lot of fun. Connected products and services enhance the cycling experience and connect e-bikers with the digital world. Bosch will be showcasing new connected-biking solutions and allowing visitors to see for themselves just how much fun power-assisted cycling can be. (Trade fair: Hall B3, booth C30; bike area B5, Blue Lane Micromobility: Brienner Straße; open space: Königsplatz and Odeonsplatz)

Bosch is electrifying mobility and helping mitigate global warming

Bosch wants to be a key player in climate-neutral mobility. The company has set itself the goal of making all vehicle classes ready for upcoming emissions requirements. As an innovation leader, Bosch has a broader electric driving portfolio than any other company – from e-bikes to passenger cars to heavy trucks.

Battery-electric power for two- and four-wheeled vehicles: From powertrains to steering systems to brakes, Bosch’s portfolio includes all the building blocks for the electrification of passenger cars. One component is the e-axle, which combines the power electronics, electric motor, and transmission in a single unit. And with its pre-integrated system solutions for vehicle platforms, Bosch helps automakers bring electric vehicles to market faster than before. The key is the optimized interaction of the powertrain, steering, braking, and vehicle control in the advanced driving module, which is combined with partner solutions to form a complete axle module for the front and rear axles. Alongside efficient powertrains, Bosch also uses thermal management to increase the range of electric and hybrid vehicles. Precise control of currents of hot and cold air improves the efficiency of the battery and ensures that all components are working within their optimum temperature range. Bosch also offers drives and control units for electric two-wheelers. Integrated in a compact system, the two components ensure precise control of the motor, reliable riding performance, and optimum torque development.

Fuel-cell system: Mobile fuel cells offer long ranges and short refueling times. Where they really come into their own is on long-haul routes and in commercial vehicles. With green hydrogen, fuel cells enable vehicles to be operated CO2-free. Bosch develops all the key system components to production readiness – including complete systems. For the stack, which converts hydrogen and ambient oxygen into electrical energy, the company is working with the Swedish specialist Powercell. Large-scale manufacturing of the stack is set to begin in 2022, and the launch of the complete fuel-cell system – the Bosch fuel-cell power module – is scheduled for 2023.

Services for electromobility: Bosch’s Battery in the Cloud prolongs the life of electric car batteries. Smart software functions in the cloud continually analyze battery status and take appropriate action to prevent or slow cell aging. The tamper-proof “usage certificate” documents the condition of the battery throughout its entire service life, thus giving a better picture of the battery’s residual value if the car is sold. With charging services such as Convenience Charging, Bosch makes it easy and straightforward for drivers of electric cars to find – and pay at – publicly accessible charging stations. In addition, the integrated recharging and navigation solution allows for a precise range forecast and route planning that includes recharging stops – and comes with the option to set personal preferences, such as charging stations next to restaurants.

High-speed electromobility: For everyday life and for the racetrack – Bosch is committed to becoming the leading supplier of electrified powertrain solutions, both in electromobility for production vehicles and in electrified motorsports. The company has entered into a long-term technology and development partnership with the DRAGON/PENSKE AUTOSPORT Formula E Team. And those who want to experience driving the racing series courses virtually and compete with others for the best time can do just that in two simulators. (Open space: Königsplatz)

Recharging at home: Bosch’s intelligent energy manager makes it possible for homeowners to reduce CO2 emissions and save energy costs. Serving as an interface between a Bosch heat pump and a photovoltaic system, it optimizes the use of home-generated solar energy and distributes it intelligently throughout the building. Alongside heating and hot water, it will also be possible to integrate electric cars into the Bosch energy management system in the future. Compatible wallboxes can then be deployed to recharge vehicles using as much home-generated electricity as possible.

Bosch is automating driving and making roads safer

Less stress, smoother traffic flows, greater safety – vehicles that assume more driving tasks themselves are a key building block for tomorrow’s mobility. An automated vehicle must be able to do everything a human driver can: perceive its surroundings, make decisions, and accelerate, brake, and steer. Step by step, Bosch is laying the technical foundations for automated driving. With its driver assistance systems, it is already paving the way for all levels of automation.

Surround sensing for all traffic situations: Sensor technology forms the basis for assisted and increasingly automated driving. To drive safely, the vehicle must be able to reliably recognize objects, people, and other road users. Bosch’s multi-purpose camera combines traditional image-processing algorithms with artificial intelligence (AI) methods. Using AI, the camera understands and interprets what it sees, ensuring reliable object recognition and good surround sensing. In addition to camera, radar, and ultrasonic sensors, Bosch is also developing a long-range lidar, for which it employs various sensor principles. The more complex the driving task, the more important their interaction.

Localization technology for exact positioning: Automated vehicles need to know exactly where they are at all times. Bosch offers a comprehensive package of hardware, software, and services that allows automated vehicles to precisely determine their own location. The VMPS (vehicle motion and position sensor) uses satellite navigation signals to identify the exact position, augmented by data from a correction service and information from the steering-angle and wheel-speed sensors. The Bosch road signature cloud-based map service uses data from radar and video sensors as well as vehicle motion data to create additional layers for high-resolution maps. Volkswagen Golf 8 vehicles are currently collecting this information on Europe’s roads.

Redundant braking and steering systems for safe and energy-saving driving maneuvers: Better safe than sorry – this holds especially true for safety-relevant functions in automated driving. Thanks to multiple redundancy, Bosch’s electric steering system offers additional safety. In the rare event of a malfunction, the system is still capable of retaining 50 percent of its electric steering functionality. Bosch has also integrated a redundant architecture into the design of its braking systems: should either the iBooster (the electromechanical brake booster) or the ESP electronic stability program fail, the other component can brake the vehicle. A second braking unit serves as a backup for the integrated power brake system, which combines brake boosting technology and ESP functionality. This is an especially important requirement in automated vehicles. In addition, Bosch’s regenerative braking systems help save CO2: in a very smooth process, which is unnoticeable for the driver, they make it possible to switch between generator and friction braking, thus enabling braking energy to be converted back into electrical energy and fed back into the battery every time the vehicle is braked.

Services for automated driving: Bosch’s predictive road-condition services raise the alert in the event of potential hazards long before critical situations develop. They provide real-time information about road conditions and risks such as aquaplaning, ice, and snow. This enables automated vehicles to correctly anticipate road conditions, adapt their driving behavior to the conditions, choose a different route, or even ask the driver to take control.

Bosch connects vehicles with each other and with their surroundings

Vehicles that warn each other of danger, keep a protective eye on their occupants, and communicate with the smart home – Bosch connects systems, components, and services inside and outside the vehicle, making mobility more efficient, safer, and more relaxed. Users, vehicles, and surroundings are seamlessly connected, making driving more enjoyable and providing a personalized mobility experience.

Smart car meets smart home: Bosch is turning cars into the command centers for smart homes: using Mercedes-Benz’s MBUX infotainment system, Bosch Smart Home applications can be controlled by voice command from the vehicle. In addition to shutters and heating thermostats, the system can also be used to control light switches and smart adapters, and to check the status of motion detectors and door/window contacts. Using voice commands allows the driver to stay focused on the road.

Guardian angel for all areas of life: In the shape of Help Connect, Bosch has developed a digitally connected emergency call system for motorcycles and other vehicles. A smart crash algorithm added to the acceleration sensors in the Bosch MSC motorcycle stability control system allows accidents to be detected. A smartphone app transmits information about the accident scene and the rider to a service center, and from there to the emergency services. If the motorcycle has no permanently installed accident detection system, the sensor data from the smartphone can be used to initiate the emergency response. Bosch Help Connect can also provide assistance at home, in the gym, or when out cycling.

Indoor monitoring for better occupant protection: Bosch has developed a system comprising cameras and AI that can increase the safety of vehicle occupants. The interior monitoring system detects driver drowsiness and distraction, or if occupants are in an unsafe seating position. It warns inattentive drivers, recommends a break if they are getting tired, and can reduce vehicle speed – depending on the automaker’s wishes and legal requirements. The system also enhances convenience by automatically adjusting the seat, mirrors, and steering wheel height in line with individual preferences – as well as enabling gesture control of the infotainment system.

Wrong-way driver alert: Bosch’s cloud-based wrong-way driver warning system warns both the wrong-way driver and all road users at risk of the impending danger within seconds – much faster than traffic news on the radio. In early 2021, ŠKODA became the first automaker worldwide to opt for Bosch’s digital guardian angel. The lifesaving warning is flashed up directly on the display in the vehicle cockpit. As an app solution for smartphones, this service already has 2.5 million active users in 20 European countries.

Smartphones as car keys: With Perfectly Keyless, sensors in the car recognize the owner’s smartphone as securely as a fingerprint and open the vehicle only at their request. The cell phone thus displaces the conventional car key. Thanks to ultra-wideband technology, the system also offers other practical everyday advantages: it is even easier to maneuver the car into tight parking spaces by remote control or to open the trunk remotely so that package handlers can deposit deliveries in it. For large parking lots where it is difficult to locate vehicles, Perfectly Keyless helps find the way to the car and illuminates the path by switching on the headlights, providing extra safety in the dark.


Mercedes cuts production in Germany, Hungary on chip shortages

The automaker said it could not give a prognosis about when the supply shortage of certain semiconductor components will be cleared.

in Automotive News Europe, 28-07-2021

Daimler is reducing Mercedes-Benz production at three plants in Germany and temporarily halting output its factory in Hungary due to a shortage of semiconductors.

The automaker has introduced short-time working for employees at the Mercedes plants in Sindelfingen, Rastatt and Bremen in Germany.

In Rastatt, production will be reduced until the end of next week. In Sindelfingen and Bremen, output will be cut until the end of the week.

The Kecskemet factory will stop production for three weeks until mid-August.

Daimler said it could not give a prognosis about when the supply shortage of certain semiconductor components will be cleared.

“The situation is still volatile and we are permanently reevaluating what this means for Mercedes-Benz production,” a Daimler spokeswoman told Automotive News Europe.

In Sindelfingen, production has only been stopped in some areas and the automaker will continue to build as normal highly profitable large luxury cars. At Sindelfingen’s Factory 56 plant,  which builds the S-Class sedan, Mercedes-Maybach S-Class and the EQS full-electric sedan, production is not impacted.

“The Mercedes-EQ electric offensive remains a top priority,” the spokeswoman said.


German car production forecast slashed as supply-chain woes persist

Germany’s car industry on Monday slashed its forecast for production growth this year, indicating that the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic will be bumpy as manufacturers battle supply-chain disruptions.

in Reuters, 05-07-2021

The Association of German Automobile Manufacturers (VDA) cut its forecast for production growth to 3% from 13% previously, saying that production in recent months had been “significantly below expectations”.

It now expects 3.6 million cars to be made in Germany this year, down by 400,000 units from its last forecast, the VDA said in its mid-year market update.

The German car industry – featuring powerful brands like Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW – accounts for an estimated 5% of the economic output and more than 800,000 jobs, making it a bellwether for Europe’s largest economy.

Manufacturers idled production early in the pandemic in anticipation of a go-slow by car buyers, and have been caught short by a snapback in demand as economies have reopened this year.

German car production, at 1.73 million units, was up 16% in year-on-year terms in the first half of 2021. But, in an indication of the difficulties, output was down 19% in the month of June, the VDA figures showed.

New car registrations rose in Germany in the first half of the year by 15% to 1.39 million units.


A production line of German car manufacturer Audi, amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
in Ingolstadt, Germany, June 3, 2020. REUTERS/Andreas Gebert/File Photo

Series production of BMW iX* gets underway at Plant Dingolfing

Highest standards of flexibility: All drive train variants on one line +++ Successful transformation of BMW Group plants towards e-mobility and digitalisation +++ Half of Dingolfing’s production volume will be electrified by mid-decade +++ Nedeljkovi?: “setting ourselves ambitious goals for the most sustainable production”

in BMW Group, 02-07-2021

Standard production of the fully-electric BMW iX* began today in Dingolfing. The plant in Lower Bavaria now produces vehicles with all drive train variants, i.e. combustion-engine vehicles, plug-in hybrids and fully-electric models, on a single line. Milan Nedeljkovi?, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for Production: “The launch of the BMW iX* marks another milestone in our expansion of electrification and demonstrates our production network’s successful transformation towards electromobility and digitalisation.”

The BMW iX* is being manufactured at the BMW Group’s largest European production plant on an assembly line with the flexibility to build a mix of BMW 5 Series, 7 Series and 8 Series models. To handle this flexibility and variety of drive trains, vehicle assembly in Dingolfing has been expanded and refurbished. The BMW Group has invested a total of more than 400 million euros in producing the BMW iX* at the Dingolfing vehicle plant. Many of the remodelling and structural measures required for the BMW iX* are already benefiting future generations of the BMW 7 Series and 5 Series that will come off the production line in Dingolfing in the coming years. Fully-electric variants have also been announced for both model ranges.

Half of production volume already electrified by mid-decade

With the BMW iX* and other PHEV models at Plant Dingolfing alone, the BMW Group plans to double the percentage of electrified vehicles produced this year compared to 2020. By the middle of the decade, half the vehicles produced in Dingolfing will be electrified. The new model will play an important part in this. “The BMW iX* will already be one of the highest-volume model at the location by next year,” according to Nedeljkovi?. The BMW iX* will be followed in the autumn by the BMW i4*, which will be built in Munich. At the end of next year, all German plants will be producing at least one fully-electric vehicle.

Broad know-how: Vehicle and e-drive production on site

Production of the BMW iX* in Dingolfing benefits from broad know-how and expertise in the technologies located at the site. Close interaction between these different areas enables a high level of in-house activity and short lines of communication, as well as ensuring optimum production technology overall. The fully-electric heart of the BMW iX* – the highly integrated e-drive and fifth-generation battery, as well as the complete electric axle are produced on site, together with the Dingolfing component plants. Production capacity will be systematically expanded and, from 2022, Dingolfing will be able to produce e-drives for more than half a million electrified vehicles.

BMW iX* as trailblazer

The BMW iX* introduces a multitude of innovations to the product and production processes at the plant – especially in the vehicle’s electrical system architecture, software, digital services, connectivity and automated driving functions. As a result, the vehicle plays an important role as a trailblazer and is making Dingolfing “e-car” and “smart-car ready” as the BMW Group’s primary plant for the luxury class.

The BMW iX* is also an important trailblazer in production, bringing future technologies into the production system – such as digital methods for employee training, automation of logistics processes, virtual commissioning and validation of driver assistance systems.

Christoph Schröder, head of BMW Group Plant Dingolfing: “As the primary plant for the luxury class, our location produces the BMW Group’s technology flagship. It is once again proving itself as a pioneer for the mobility of tomorrow and as the industry leader in key future areas of automotive activity, such as electrification, digitalisation and sustainability. In this way, the BMW iX* is continuing the successful transformation of the BMW Group location in Dingolfing that began long ago.”

Special focus on sustainability

The topic of sustainability is firmly anchored throughout the company. A particular focus is on improving our carbon footprint – especially in production of electric vehicles. Independent auditors have confirmed that the greenhouse gas potential of the BMW iX xDrive40* is around 45 percent lower than that of a comparable Sports Activity Vehicle with an internal combustion engine. “We are already the sustainability benchmark for our industry. But we will continue to invest in resource-saving technologies and set ourselves ambitious goals for the most sustainable production,” underlined head of Production Milan Nedeljkovi?. The BMW Group takes a holistic approach to reducing CO2 emissions and minimising resource consumption that covers the entire value chain, including production as well as the supply chain and use phase.

The BMW Group has already succeeded in lowering resource consumption per vehicle produced by more than half between 2006 and 2020. CO2 emissions have been reduced even more significantly – by as much as 78 percent. The aim is to reduce CO2 emissions per vehicle produced by another 80 percent by 2030. “To achieve this, we have made some changes at Plant Dingolfing and implemented a series of new measures,” says plant director Christoph Schröder. For example, the BMW iX* is produced exclusively using regional and directly sourced green power from two hydroelectric power plants located on the Isar and Lech rivers. The entire plant, like all BMW Group locations, will also be net carbon neutral from this year, through the use of corresponding offsets and certificates.

Other aspects of sustainability range from energy-efficient installations to packaging planning, through transport logistics and recycling, up to and including topics such as biodiversity and water management. Plant Dingolfing is therefore able to achieve a recycling rate of more than 90 percent and an even higher recoverability rate of over 99 percent. The plant’s own wells meet over 40 percent of its water needs, thereby helping conserve the region’s drinking water reserves. The BMW Group has already reduced its water consumption by more than 30 percent overall since 2006.

BMW iX* as catalyst for change: Active shift in competence.

The BMW iX* creates a need for additional training beyond the extensive experience and expertise that is already available. It is accelerating the shift in competence already taking place within the production network and helping prepare the workforce for the demands of a new era. In this way, employee development across the entire company is being geared towards digitalisation and e-mobility. As part of the biggest training offensive in the company’s history, 75,000 staff are being trained in future areas of activity.

In Dingolfing alone, more than 4,000 employees have moved to jobs with strong future prospects since 2012. A current example of this is the creation and expansion of the Competence Centre for E-Drive Production at the location, which doubled its staff numbers last year from 600 to 1,200. This number is likely to increase to over 1,900 by the end of the year.



BMW iX xDrive40: Power consumption in kWh/100 km: 22.5-19.4 (WLTP); CO2 emissions combined: 0 g/km

BMW iX xDrive50: Power consumption in kWh/100 km: 23.0-19.8 (WLTP); CO2 emissions combined: 0 g/km

BMW i4 eDrive40: Power consumption in kWh/100 km: 20-16 (WLTP); CO2 emissions combined: 0 g/km


Bosch opens wafer fab of the future in Dresden

Fully connected, controlled by artificial intelligence.
Chancellor Merkel: „The new Bosch wafer fab will boost our capacity in microelectronics.“

  • Bosch CEO Denner: “With our first AIoT factory, we are setting new standards in chip production.”
  • EU Commissioner Vestager: “Semiconductors will help strengthen Europe’s competitiveness as a cradle for cutting-edge innovations.”
  • Minister-President Michael Kretschmer: “The new wafer fab is good for Europe, for Germany, and for Saxony.”
  • Artificial intelligence will create a sound basis for data-driven, continuous improvement in production, as well as for fast production rollouts.
  • The first chips for Bosch power tools will roll off the production line in July – six months earlier than planned.
  • At roughly one billion euros, the new manufacturing facility is the biggest single investment in Bosch’s more than 130-year history.
  • It is planned that 700 people will work in the facility once it is completed.

in Bosch Presse, 07-06-2021

Dresden, Germany – Fully connected, data-driven, self-optimizing: in Dresden, Bosch is opening one of the world’s most modern wafer fabs. Highly automated, fully connected machines and integrated processes, combined with methods of artificial intelligence (AI) will make the Dresden plant a smart factory and a trailblazer in Industry 4.0. In the virtual presence of Federal Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel, EU Commission Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, and Saxony’s Minister-President Michael Kretschmer, the high-tech facility was officially inaugurated on June 7, 2021.

The new Bosch wafer fab will boost our capacity in microelectronics.”

Dr. Angela Merkel, Federal Chancellor

“The new Bosch wafer fab will boost our capacity in microelectronics. Microelectronics is the basis for nearly every promising technology, for applications of artificial intelligence, for quantum computing, and for automated and connected driving – which is also a Bosch specialty,” said Federal Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel. “The new wafer fab is the single largest investment in the company’s history. This cannot be stressed too much. Its size and additional production capacity alone are impressive. The very latest methods of data-driven continuous improvement in production make the Dresden plant a smart factory. To put it another way: in this plant, natural and artificial intelligence have joined forces with the internet of things to form a productive symbiosis.”

“Semiconductors will help strengthen Europe’s competitiveness as a cradle for cutting-edge innovations.”

Margrethe Vestager, EU Commission Vice-President

“The state-of-the-art technology showcased at the new Dresden wafer fab is a great example of what public and private European actors can achieve when they join their efforts. Semiconductors will contribute to the development of industries like transportation, manufacturing, clean energy, and healthcare –where Europe excels. It will help strengthen Europe’s competitiveness as a cradle for cutting-edge innovations,” said Margrethe Vestager, EU Commission Vice-President.

“For Bosch, semiconductors are a core technology, and it is strategically important to develop and manufacture them ourselves. In Dresden, with the help of artificial intelligence, we will take semiconductor manufacturing to the next level,” said Dr. Volkmar Denner, chairman of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH. “This is our first AIoT factory: fully connected, data-driven, and self-optimizing right from the start.” Bosch is investing roughly one billion euros in this high-tech location. This is the biggest single investment in the company’s more than 130-year history.

“In Dresden, with the help of artificial intelligence, we will take semiconductor manufacturing to the next level.”

Dr. Volkmar Denner, chairman of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH

Production in Dresden will start as early as July – six months earlier than planned. From that time on, semiconductors made in the new plant will be installed in Bosch power tools. For automotive customers, chip production will start in September, and thus three months earlier than planned. The new factory will be an important part of the semiconductor manufacturing network. With it, Bosch is strengthening Germany’s position as a technology and business location. “The new wafer fab is good for Europe, for Germany, and for Saxony. Directly and indirectly, it means many new jobs in a huge growth industry. This billion-euro investment strengthens Silicon Saxony and the entire European semiconductor industry,” said Michael Kretschmer, the minister-president of Saxony. On 72,000 square meters of floor space, 250 people are already working in the wafer fab in Saxony’s state capital. The workforce is set to grow to roughly 700 once construction work has been completed.

“The new wafer fab is good for Europe, for Germany, and for Saxony.”

Michael Kretschmer, the minister-president of Saxony

No other automotive supplier has been working intensively on microelectronics since the 1950s. Since 1958, Bosch has been making semiconductor components itself. And since 1970, the company’s Reutlingen plant has been making special components that are not commercially available. In its wafer fabs in Reutlingen and Dresden alone, Bosch has invested more than 2.5 billion euros since 200-millimeter technology was introduced in 2010. On top of this, billions of euros have been invested in developing microelectronics. In this way, the company is continuing to pursue its growth strategy in semiconductor development and manufacturing. “This expertise is the key to many high-caliber systems solutions made by Bosch,” Denner said.

Pioneer in Industry 4.0
Machines that think for themselves, maintenance work from 9,000 kilometers away, glasses with built-in cameras: the wafer fab that has now been built in Dresden is one of the world’s most advanced. “Thanks to the combination of artificial intelligence and the internet of things, we are creating the basis for data-driven, continuous improvement in manufacturing,” Denner said. In concrete terms, this means that all the data in the wafer fab – from machinery, sensors, and products – is collected in a central database. The result: every second, production data equivalent to 500 pages of text is generated. In just one day, this would be equivalent to more than 42 million pages. This data is then evaluated using methods of artificial intelligence. In this process, self-optimizing algorithms learn how to make predictions on the basis of the data. In this way, manufacturing and maintenance processes can be analyzed in real time. For example, an AI algorithm can detect even the tiniest anomalies in products. These anomalies are visible on the wafer surface in the form of specific error patterns known as signatures. Their causes are immediately analyzed and deviations from the process corrected without delay, even before they can affect the reliability of the product. “Artificial intelligence is the key to further improving the manufacturing processes and semiconductor quality, as well as to achieving a high level of process stability.” Denner said. In turn, it means that semiconductor products can go into full-scale production quickly, saving automotive customers the need for the time-consuming trials that would otherwise be necessary before production release. Maintenance work can also be optimized thanks to artificial intelligence. Algorithms can precisely predict whether and when a piece of manufacturing machinery or a robot needs maintenance or adjustment. In other words, such work is not done according to a rigid schedule, but precisely when it is needed – and well in advance of any problems cropping up.

“Thanks to the combination of artificial intelligence and the internet of things, we are creating the basis for data-driven, continuous improvement in manufacturing.”

Dr. Volkmar Denner, chairman of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH

“Digital twin”: the plant and its double
One other outstanding feature of the wafer fab is that it exists twice – once in the real world, and once in the digital world. The specialist term for this is “digital twin.” During construction, all parts of the factory and all relevant construction data relating to the plant as a whole were recorded digitally and visualized in a three-dimensional model. The twin comprises roughly half a million 3D objects, including buildings and infrastructure, supply and disposal systems, cable ducts and ventilation systems, and machinery and manufacturing lines. This allows Bosch to simulate both process optimization plans and renovation work without intervening in ongoing operations. Maintenance work in the Dresden factory also makes use of high-tech: data glasses and augmented reality mean that maintenance work on machinery can even be done remotely. In other words, maintenance work in Dresden can be done by an expert from a mechanical engineering company in Asia without any need for that expert to come to Dresden. Thanks to a camera built into data glasses, images are transmitted half way around the world, and the expert there then talks the associate through the maintenance process in real time. This technology also played a crucial role in ensuring that the machinery could be commissioned despite coronavirus-related travel restrictions.

Semiconductors for better quality of life and road safety
In the shape of microchips, semiconductors are to be found in nearly every technical device – in smartphone, televisions, and fitness bracelets. And without semiconductors, cars would not work, either today or in the future. In 2016, every new vehicle worldwide had an average of more than nine Bosch chips on board, in devices such as the airbag control unit, the braking system, and the park assist system. In 2019, this figure was already more than 17. In other words, their number had nearly doubled in just a few years. In the years to come, experts expect to see the strongest growth in driver assistance systems, infotainment, and the electrification of the powertrain. With its wafer fab in Dresden, Bosch is responding to the increased demand for semiconductors. “Semiconductors are the building blocks of progress. Electronic components equipped with chips from Dresden will make applications such as automated and resource-conserving driving possible, as well as the best possible occupant protection,” said Harald Kroeger, member of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH. Surveys confirm this growth in demand: as recently as 1998, according to the ZVEI, the value of the microelectronics in a new car was 120 euros. By 2018, this value had risen to 500 euros, and in 2023 it is expected to exceed 600 euros. This means that semiconductors are a growth area for Bosch as well.

“Semiconductors are the building blocks of progress. Electronic components equipped with chips from Dresden will make applications such as automated and resource-conserving driving possible, as well as the best possible occupant protection.”

Harald Kroeger, member of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH

Semiconductor expertise as a competitive advantage
“Chips for vehicles are the ultimate discipline in semiconductor technology. This is because in cars, these small building blocks have to be especially robust,” Kroeger said. Over a vehicle’s service life, chips are exposed to strong vibrations and extreme temperatures that range from far below freezing to far above the boiling point of water. In other words, chips have to meet higher standards of reliability. This means that the development of automotive semiconductors is more complicated than in other applications. This requires specialist expertise, and Bosch has amassed such expertise over the course of decades. Its developers and engineers understand the physical principles behind microelectronic automotive components. This opens up the possibility of complete systems that prevent accidents and protect the environment – again, the company is a one-stop shop for the development and manufacture of such systems. “This dual strength – the combination of chip and systems expertise – is strategically important for Bosch,” Kroeger said. In addition, Bosch can complement its strength in the development and manufacture of semiconductors with its systems expertise in electronics and software. This allows the company to ensure the quality of its products, to continuously refine them, and to reduce costs.

“Silicon Saxony”: Europe’s biggest microelectronics location
After comparing sites around the world, Bosch settled on Dresden, in the state of Saxony, as the location for its wafer fab. “Silicon Saxony” is Europe’s biggest microelectronics location, and the fifth biggest worldwide. One in three of all chips made in Europe is produced here. The region offers perfect conditions for this. “The location and construction of the factory demonstrate how much faith people have in Saxony as a high-tech location, with its experienced and qualified specialists and an unrivalled network that has come into being here over the course of the decades,” said Michael Kretschmer, Saxony’s minister-president. He added that Dresden’s infrastructure is excellent: everything is easily accessible, and the transportation connections are good. This includes companies from the automotive supply, services, and other industries, as well as universities and research institutes offering technological expertise. “In Dresden, modern entrepreneurship rubs shoulders with academic excellence and far-sighted industrial policy,” Kroeger said. “For Bosch therefore, the decision to make the single biggest investment in the company’s more than 130-year history here in this region was a deliberate one.”

“In Dresden, modern entrepreneurship rubs shoulders with academic excellence and far-sighted industrial policy. For Bosch therefore, the decision to make the single biggest investment in the company’s more than 130-year history here in this region was a deliberate one.”

Harald Kroeger, member of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH


180,000 German automotive jobs could be gone within four years

Researchers at the Ifo Institute have examined the effects of the e-mobility revolution on employment in the industry.

in Berliner Zeitung, by Jochen Knoblach, 10-05-2021

The math is pretty simple: a conventional car with a gasoline or diesel motor consists of around 1,400 parts. An electric car, on the other hand, only has about 200. This number makes crystal clear the impact of the transition to e-mobility will have on the labour market in the very near future.

At the Berlin Daimler plant in Marienfelde, for example, camshafts, control components and even complete six-cylinder engines roll off the production line. Approximately 2,500 people work there. A number of smaller firms in Berlin supply car plants in Germany and around the world.

“Every BMW that is built somewhere has a part from Marzahn,” claims supplier Walter Automotive, located in Berlin’s north-east. What will happen to the jobs there?

On behalf of the Automotive Industry Association (VDA), the Munich-based Ifo Institute examined what the shift towards climate-neutral mobility will mean for the sector. After all, the value of all products made in Germany that were directly dependent on the combustion engine was €149bn in 2019. Around 613,000 German jobs are currently dependent on the production of gasoline and diesel cars. According to the study, “between 29 per cent and 36 per cent” of these positions will be superfluous within four years. In other words: by 2025, 178,000 positions could be fall by the wayside, thanks to the e-mobility revolution. By 2030, at least 215,000 workers will be affected.

The e-mobility challenge

Even though demographic change will cushion some of the job losses because a large number of factory employees will reach retirement age in the next few years, there will still be a considerable shortfall. Some 100,000 auto-workers could actually lose their jobs by 2025.

“The transition to e-mobility is a major challenge, especially for mid-sized suppliers,” said Ifo President Clemens Fuest. Especially since there is a trend for corporations to bring outsourced production processes back inhouse – and suppliers could bear the brunt of that development. “Small businesses that specialise in a few products can often no longer replace parts that are no longer in demand with other products,” the study states.

As a consequence, retraining and qualifications that have already begun in companies should be pushed ahead in order to be able to reduce job losses, said VDA boss Hildegard Müller, who is calling for support from the government to cope with the looming problem.

At the same time, the report claims that the consequences of “the current rushed discussion about a new climate protection law” could not have been foreseen.

On Wednesday, the federal government announced that Germany would reduce its CO2 emissions by 65 per cent by 2030 and become climate neutral by 2045 – a target that  was more ambitious than previous goals and which could speed up the adoption of electric vehicles.

Around 613,000 jobs in Germany depend on the production of gasoline and diesel cars.

Powerful battery systems from Braunschweig: Volkswagen Group Components fires up the next production stage

  • Second production line started up for MEB batteries in Braunschweig
  • CEO Thomas Schmall: “Strong demand for electric models has the lines working at full capacity”
  • Component site can deliver more than 600,000 battery systems a year – most for the new Group’s fully electric models
  • Up to 300,000 battery systems for plug-in hybrid vehicles from 2023

in Volkswagen AG, 15-04-2021

The Volkswagen Group Components plant in Braunschweig is significantly expanding its production of battery systems for the latest electric vehicle generation. Following the first expansion stage with a maximum capacity of 250,000 battery systems, the second expansion stage has started up with the same capacity. This means that once the site is fully ramped up it will now be able to fit up to 500,000 batteries a year for models based on the modular electric drive matrix (MEB) ? in this case for the fully electric Volkswagen ID.31 and ID.42, as well as the ŠKODA ENYAQ iV3, which should soon be quietly and powerfully cruising the streets of Europe with a battery heart from Braunschweig. In addition to that, up to 100,000 battery systems for the beloved models e-up!4, SEAT Mii electric5, ŠKODA Citigoe iV6 and as well as for hybrid vehicles such as the Volkswagen Golf GTE7.

In total, the site can bring more than 600,000 battery systems into the vehicles each year. “The strong demand for attractive and affordable electric models based on the modular electric drive matrix has the lines of the first expansion stage working at full capacity, so we have fired up the second stage. As such, the component is underpinning the Group’s unprecedented electric campaign”, explains CEO of Volkswagen Group Components and member of the Group Board of Management for Technology, Thomas Schmall. “Volkswagen Group Components has taken on the management of the ‘Battery Cell & Battery System’ and ‘Charging & Energy’ business units within the Volkswagen Group, and plans to use its economies of scale and innovative power to develop optimum batteries and charging offers for Volkswagen customers. Within this, thanks to its development and manufacturing competence for battery systems, the Braunschweig site has been assigned a key role”, continues Schmall.

And the next ramp-up is coming soon: the plant has received approval for expanding PHEV production capacities. While more than 50,000 hybrid battery systems a year are leaving the plant today, as of 2023, this will be up to 300,000 battery systems.

“Through the consistent orientation toward electric mobility and a clear focussing of the product range, the Braunschweig site is lining itself up to be economically future-safe. The transformation of the site goes hand-in-hand with the transformation of its employees, who have been comprehensively qualified for working with batteries. This way, we can contribute to job security at the site”, maintains Plant Manager, Martin Schmuck.

In addition to the battery systems, Braunschweig also produces steering systems, brake discs, suspension struts, wheel bearing housings, wheel drives and subframes, and also front and rear axles, for example.

Series production of MEB batteries takes place using the state-of-the-art, largely fully automated production technology in a new manufacturing hall spread across more than 40,000 m2, and more than 300 million euros have been invested in the new building.

Production of the battery housing employs the latest welding, adhesive and sealing techniques. The housing units are then assembled together with the cell modules and a control unit to form the actual battery systems. Several in-line, air-tightness and end-of-line test beds guarantee uniformly high quality. The development of the battery system, including its hardware and software, also took place at the Braunschweig site. The knowledge gained here sets new standards for the whole Group, and is being used within the international network.

The battery system product provides employment for more than 800 employees. The employees required for the expansion of the production capacities were largely retrained for the new tasks within the site and prepared for working with high voltages through tailored training courses and qualifications.


Fuel consumption value

1 ID.3, combined power consumption in kWh/100 km (NEDC): 15.4-13.1, CO2 emissions in g/km: 0; efficiency class: A+

2 ID.4, power consumption in kWh/100 km (NEDC): 16.9–15.5; CO? emission in g/km: 0; efficiency class: A+

3 ŠKODA ENYAQ iV 50, combined power consumption in kWh/100 km: 14.6; CO? emissions in g/km: 0; efficiency class: A+

ŠKODA ENYAQ iV 60, combined power consumption in kWh/100 km: 14.4; CO? emissions in g/km: 0; efficiency class: A+

ŠKODA ENYAQ iV 80, combined power consumption in kWh/100 km: 16.0; CO? emissions in g/km: 0; efficiency class: A+

4e?up!, combined power consumption in kWh/100 km: 12.7; CO? emissions in g/km: 0; efficiency class: A+

5SEAT Mii electric, combined power consumption (NEDC) in kWh/100 km: 12.9–12.7; CO? emissions in g/km: 0; efficiency class: A+

6 ŠKODA Citigoe iV, combined power consumption (NEDC) in kWh/100 km: 12.8–12.9; CO? emissions in g/km: 0; efficiency class: A+

7 Golf GTE, combined fuel consumption in l/100 km (NEDC): 1.5; combined power consumption in kW/h/100 km: 11.4; CO? emissions (combined) in g/km: 38; efficiency class: A+