These are the problems of the automotive suppliers

These are the problems facing automotive suppliers. Bosch: The world's largest automotive supplier is not only active in the automotive sector, but also in mechanical engineering. (Source: dpa/Uli Deck)

They are regarded as innovation drivers and job machines: the suppliers to car manufacturers. Three of the world’s five largest suppliers come from germany. However, the industry slump is putting them on the skids. How to continue?


Reducing working time accounts, downsizing, relocating – even closing plants: automotive suppliers in germany are discussing how they can best defend themselves against the industry’s slump.

Company bosses have long since stopped assuming that the economic downturn will be temporary. The automotive industry, and with it the suppliers, has been hit by a severe structural crisis due to the possible shift away from the internal combustion engine and market problems in china, india and the u.S. And much faster than some corporate leaders had expected.

The fact that excessive amounts of lead have now also been found in components from germany’s largest automotive suppliers continental and bosch fits into the less than rosy overall picture. When the industry moves away from the 10. When the company meets at the international motor show ( IAA ) in frankfurt on september, the faces that will be seen there are likely to be thoughtful ones. An overview of the most important German suppliers:

Bosch: job cuts unavoidable

The chairman of the bosch board of management, volkmar denner, has presented it to the "suddeutsche zeitung" recently calculated: the supplier employs ten people for the injection system of a diesel engine. Three bosch employees are involved in a gasoline engine, one in an electric vehicle.

Job cuts are practically unavoidable. The stuttgart-based company employs 410 people worldwide.000 people. 50.000 jobs, 15 of them alone.000 in germany, depend on diesel. However, the world’s largest automotive supplier is also active in other areas, such as mechanical engineering.

Continental: share price falls

the traditional hanoverian manufacturer continental is having major problems staying on track. "The market environment is very challenging at the moment, said CEO elmar degenhart recently, he spoke of a profound, dramatically accelerating and "partly disruptive" change in the automotive industry change in the industry. Cost discipline" is now needed – which for conti should also mean cutting jobs.

How many of the almost 245.000 conti employees will be affected are the subject of discussions with the union. On the stock market, the conti share has been on a downward curve for weeks now. degenhart also did not rule out the possibility of selling parts of the company. Tire business remains a solid earnings pillar for continental.

ZF: profits plummet

ZF – among other things, a manufacturer of drives from friedrichshafen – is broadly positioned, but is nevertheless feeling the industry’s headwinds. The ZF Board of Management lowered its sales forecast from april by a full billion euros to 36 to 37 billion euros. In the first half of 2019, profits plummeted to half of the previous year’s figure.

Chief executive wolf-henning scheider had to concede that ZF was well below target. In china, ZF has already reacted with layoffs of. In germany, this will not happen – compensatory measures such as flextime would suffice, according to ZF.

Mahle: plant closure announced

Also at the 79.000 mahle employees fear for the future. the stuttgart company’s works council has presented a strategy paper that should lead to a freeze on layoffs by 2025. management had previously announced the reduction of 380 of the 4.300 jobs in stuttgart and the closure of a plant in ohringen announced. Mahle has so far mainly done business with filters and pistons. In the meantime, the Stuttgart-based company is trying to turn the lever and focus more strongly on electromobility – also for bicycles.

Schaeffler: job cuts in germany and europe

The largest Franconian automotive supplier from herzogenaurach does not yet see any need for drastic measures, but still wants to cut back. For example, the assembly lines at schaeffler are to come to a standstill after bridge days in the second half of the year. In march, the company had already announced a reduction of 700 jobs in germany and 200 in other european countries, as well as putting four locations on the test bench.

Brose: cost-cutting program launched

The Coburg family-owned company brose also suffered a setback and is planning "capacity adjustments" react. A cost-cutting program has been launched. In the first quarter of 2019, sales were five percent lower than in the previous year. In the long term, however, brose sees more opportunities than risks in the new mobility trends and intends to invest heavily in new technologies – at 1.5 billion euros over the next three years, around a quarter of its annual turnover.

Leoni: deep in the red

sdax-listed nuremberg-based supplier leoni is probably one of the hardest hit in the industry in germany so far. Company boss aldo kamper recently had to defend himself against doomsday scenarios. "We don’t need a doctor or a priest", said the dutchman. Instead, despite the continuing crisis, he is relying on the company’s self-healing powers.

  • Diesel scandal:bosch must pay 90 million euro fine
  • Auto suppliers:continental supplied car parts with excessive lead content
  • Boom continues:why suvs could soon become more expensive

While most companies in the industry are suffering losses but are still doing well above zero, the cable and wiring systems expert is already deep in the red. In the first half of the year, the bottom line was a loss of 176 million euros.

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Christina Cherry
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