Global players such as Daimler, Opel/Stellantis, Magna, Bosch, BMW, IHI or Borg Warner have set up production in Thuringia. Auto manufacturing has deep roots in the state, dating back to early 20th century, when BMW’s Dixi and the Ley brothers’ six-cylinder vehicles wrote automotive history.
Thuringia is a central location that is never far from Germany’s and Europe’s carmakers. Alongside large corporations, many nimble mid-sized firms drive growth in this sector. One of the strengths of the Thuringian industry is its wide range of technological competencies.
Thuringia has been making cars for over a hundred years. It still draws enormous expertise from this well of tradition. Local universities produce far more engineers than the national average.
The following degree programs specifically target the automotive industry:
- Automotive engineering, Ilmenau University of Technology
- Automotive electronics, Schmalkalden University of Applied Sciences
Other specialized programs such as mechanical engineering, material flow and logistics or mobility management are offered by:
Research and Development
Automotive firms in Thuringia benefit heavily from the research ecosystem and the declared goal of all companies and researchers to make the state one of Europe’s premier technology centers. The Thuringian Economics Ministry provides incentives and institutional structures to help car parts suppliers adapt quickly to the fundamental changes in the automotive industry such as new drive systems, lightweight construction or self-driving vehicles.
The Thuringian Innovation Center for Mobility (ThIMo) supports the industrial change towards a sustainable mobility. The vision of ThIMo is to find scientific solutions for challenges associated with mobility. Environmental responsibility, intelligence, digitized solutions and complex mobility networks are in the focus of research. The center has more than 200 active collaborations with national and international partners from research and industry that have access to state-of-the-art research equipment and benefit from the large network and competences gathered within the center.
Selected research institutions, R&D service providers and technology agencies in Thuringia:
- CiS - Research Institute for Microsensors, Erfurt
- IMMS - Institute for Microelectronic and Mechatronic Systems, Ilmenau
- IOF - Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering, Jena
- BITC - Battery Innovation and Technology Center, Arnstadt
- TITK - Thuringian Institute of Textile and Plastics Research, Rudolstadt
- GFE - Society for Production Engineering and Development, Schmalkalden
- IFW - Günter Köhler Institute for Joining Technology and Materials Testing, Jena
- IMG Electronic & Power Systems, Nordhausen
- adapt engineering, Nordhausen
- ThEGA - Thuringian Energy and Greentech Agency, Erfurt
The network and innovation clusterat - automotive thüringen e.V. is the point of contact for all supplier issues and works actively to ensure the competitiveness and continuous development of the Thuringian business location.
The Chinese battery manufacturer Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd. (CATL), one of the world's leading manufacturers, is building its first lithium-ion battery plant outside China in Arnstadt. This is the first series production of batteries for electric cars in Germany. Around 2 billion euros will be invested and 2,000 jobs created. Customers include almost all German auto manufacturers. Not only production but also research and development are planned; the European CATL logistics center is also being built in Thuringia. The Free State is thus developing into a center for e-mobility and battery technology.
MDC Power GmbH
The Daimler AG subsidiary, MDC Power was established in 2003. From the start, the engine manufacturer has focused on delivering top quality and steadily expanded its product range. Today, the employees build a wide variety of engine models in Thuringia – ranging from 95 to 360 HP, all labelled with the quality seal “Made in Thuringia” and delivered to automotive plants on all five continents. These motors power vehicles of almost all Mercedes Benz car and van series – from A to S-Class, from AMG to Sprinter.
IHI Charging Systems International
This company develops and produces high-efficiency turbochargers. As part of the Japanese IHI group – one of the largest makers of turbochargers and charging systems for cars and commercial vehicles – IHI Charging Systems International GmbH relocated its headquarters to Arnstadt and employs about 440 people.
Another Eisenach resident is Bell Equipment Ltd., a South African construction equipment manufacturer. The multinational built a dump truck factory in Thuringia in 2003. Bell Equip-ment is one of the two leading providers in the German dump truck market. Bell is known for its extraordinary dedication to employee training in Thuringia and beyond.
BorgWarner Transmission Systems
The skilled labor pool, excellent traffic links and ready support provided by Government con-vinced US car parts maker BorgWarner to expand to Thuringia. In Arnstadt, the company built two facilities for producing clutches for double clutch transmissions and four wheel drive Systems, e.g. for the Bugatti Veyron.
Since 2004, Borbet operates Europe’s largest plant for aluminium wheels in Bad Langensalza, Thuringia, and employs 900 staff. The location Bad Langensalza was chosen for its history in aluminum and magnesium casting and the available local expertise and qualified workers.
Other selected companies:
- Benteler Automobiltechnik Eisenach GmbH, Eisenach
- BMW Fahrzeugtechnik GmbH, Krauthausen/Eisenach
- EDAG Werkzeug+Karosserie GmbH, Eisenach
- Feuer Powertrain GmbH & Co. KG, Nordhausen
- Gelenkwellenwerk Stadtilm GmbH, Stadtilm
- Gonvauto Thüringen GmbH, Ichtershausen/Arnstadt
- Hako GmbH (Multicar), Waltershausen
- Lear Corporation GmbH, Eisenach
- Magna International Stanztechnik GmbH, Heiligenstadt
- Marelli Automotive Lighting Brotterode GmbH, Brotterode
- Marquardt Lightronics GmbH, Ichtershausen
- Meleghy Automotive GmbH & Co. KG, Gera
- Mubea Fahrwerksfedern GmbH, Weißensee
- REBO Lighting & Electronics GmbH, Eisenach
- Robert Bosch Fahrzeugelektrik Eisenach GmbH, Eisenach
- SAMAG Truck Components GmbH, Saalfeld
- Vitesco Technologies Emitec GmbH, Hörselberg/Eisenach
- ZF Friedrichshafen AG, Gotha