Gothenburg automotive cluster attracts German Minister-President
During a two-day visit, the Minister-President of the German state of Baden-Württemberg, Winfried Kretschmann, accompanied by a delegation comprising members from trade and industry, research and academia, visited the Gothenburg region to see how Gothenburg, together with other stakeholders, is managing the transition process within the automotive cluster.
“That this sizeable delegation, from a region with its own incredibly strong automotive cluster, chooses to visit Gothenburg to study the transition within the industry is satisfying confirmation that our region’s automotive cluster is at the forefront and competing alongside the best in the world,” says Patrik Andersson, CEO of Business Region Göteborg.
The delegation, comprised of some 70 people representing trade and industry, government, research and media, chose to visit primarily Gothenburg and Oulu, as Sweden and Finland are both well ahead of the rest of Europe in the fields of digitalisation and mobility.
“The automotive industry is experiencing its biggest upheaval ever. Electrification, digitalisation and autonomous driving represent major changes in the automotive industry. A great deal is at stake for Baden-Württemberg: our pioneering role in technology, our economic power, our jobs and the consequences of climate change,” said Minister-President Kretschmann in a statement.
Important issues were discussed during the delegation’s visit to Gothenburg, including the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, 5G technology, autonomous driving, electromobility and new mobility concepts. The visit was also a door opener for creating contacts and initiating collaborations between companies and academic institutions in Gothenburg and Baden-Württemberg.
“Although the Gothenburg region’s automotive cluster is strongly positioned in the global market and undergoing transition at a phenomenal rate, one of our strategies is to initiate collaborations with other strong clusters in Europe – and the automotive cluster in Baden-Württemberg is one of the strongest in Europe. Collaborations are a necessity if companies in these clusters are to have strong footings in a global market characterised by spiralling competition,” explains Maria Strömberg, Cluster & Innovation Director at Business Region Göteborg.
Following two intensive days, with several of the Gothenburg region’s companies, research institutes and collaborative arenas afforded the opportunity to present and discuss their work with the delegation, two of the German delegates summed up the visit.
“The most impressive thing for me is how everyone we’ve listened to highlight the collaboration. It’s so deeply included in everything we’ve seen. Collaboration is an easy thing to say one should do, but here in Gothenburg you seem to have it in your DNA. You are open to partner with others, to share knowledge and to share data. This is very different form our culture, and we have to learn to be as open as you when it comes to the topics of mobility and AI, for example.” said Dr Simone Schwanitz, Director General, Head of Research, Technology Transfer, Digitalisation, Europe.
“I think you handle new technology and digitalisations in a more open way than we do in our region. What I’ve learned is that you always have sustainability as an integrated part in the innovation and business development. You talk about sustainability goals and say ‘What kind of technologies and business can you do from that perspective?’ That makes a more relaxed way of bringing together sustainability and technology and digitalisation. And from that we really can learn.” said Dr Kai Schmidt-Eisenlohr, CEO, Baden-Württemburg International GmbH.
“Our hope following their visit to Gothenburg is that we’ll be able to gather companies within the automotive cluster together with other stakeholders for a visit to Baden-Württemberg to identify and develop concrete opportunities for collaboration,” says Maria Strömberg.
*At the photo, from the left: Ambassadress Miriam Wolter, chair of BRG’s board Anders Sundberg, State minister of transport Winfried Hermann, State minister-president Winfried Kretschmann, Mayor of Gothenburg Anneli Rhedin, chair of the regional council Johnny Magnusson, BRG’s CEO Patrik Andersson
In terms of the economy, Baden-Württemberg is without a doubt one of Germany’s strongest states, boasting a GRP that exceeds Sweden’s GDP and almost 11 million inhabitants. The state, which is sometimes referred to as ‘the cradle of the automobile’, is home to several major companies, including Daimler, Porsche, Audi, Bosch GmbH and Kärcher. Within the high-tech sphere, it is also home to Europe’s largest software company, SAP AG, and each year the state invests 5.6% of its total GRP in science and development. For Sweden as a whole, the corresponding figure is 3.4% (2017)