When speaking of Germany and its medium-sized industry, Baden-Württemberg and its state capital Stuttgart is the appropriate illustration for this description. The high density of family businesses also speaks for this business location.
Stuttgart: shaped by the automotive industry
Stuttgart and its surroundings are among the highest-income and economically most important regions in Germany and Europe. Many larger industrial groups have settled in the city and its surroundings, including the Mercedes-Benz Group, Porsche and Bosch, which have their company headquarters here. With Porsche AG, Porsche Automobil Holding SE, Mercedes-Benz Group and Daimler Truck Holding, four DAX companies have their headquarters in Stuttgart. Thus, in this ranking, after Munich, it is in second place of all German metropolises. In addition, Siemens, Kodak and Lenovo also operate production and administration sites in Stuttgart.
With the Stuttgart Stock Exchange, the city is also Germany’s second most important stock exchange after Frankfurt am Main. Landesbank Baden-Württemberg (LBBW) is the largest of the German state banks. With Wüstenrot & Württembergische AG, a listed German financial services group also has its headquarters in Stuttgart.
The dominant company in Stuttgart in terms of employees is Robert Bosch GmbH with over 400,000 employees worldwide. In a broad group structure, the group companies act as automotive suppliers, as manufacturers of industrial technology, consumer goods or energy and building technology. This is followed by the automobile manufacturer Mercedes-Benz Group with over 170,000 employees worldwide and the largest production site in Stuttgart-Untertürkheim and Porsche AG with over 35,000 employees and the main plant in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen.
Stuttgart region: meeting place for business and science
The Stuttgart region, which consists of the districts of Böblingen, Esslingen, Göppingen and Ludwigsburg, the Rems-Murr district and the urban district of Stuttgart, is one of the centers of German medium-sized companies with around 140,000 small and medium-sized companies and company locations. These are primarily suppliers for the large, global automotive and mechanical engineering companies. The electrical industry, food industry, construction industry and engineering services are also strongly represented here. Many of the medium-sized companies located here are world market leaders in their product area. The economic and structural metrics are impressive. After all, in the region, which is only 10% of the area of the federal state, around 30% of the gross domestic product is generated by 26% of the employed. The gross value added per employee is around 25% above the national average. Almost 24% of all employees subject to social security contributions work in a high-tech industry, which puts them at the top of Europe. The export ratio in manufacturing is 66.2%. This number also makes it clear that the machines and systems produced here are in demand all over the world. In the automotive sector, around 15% of sales in the German automotive industry are generated in the Stuttgart region, with an export share of 79.4% of total sales.
The interlocking with scientific research institutions is very much appreciated by the established companies, but also by founders. Two dozen universities, colleges and academies, five Fraunhofer Institutes, two Max Planck Institutes, six research institutes of the German Aerospace Center, numerous renowned research, development and competence centers ensure a top position in the development of innovative products, processes and procedures.
Business location Baden-Württemberg
The most important sector in Baden-Württemberg in terms of employee numbers is traditionally the mechanical engineering industry, which is home to many long-established companies in Baden-Württemberg, e.g.
- the machine tool manufacturer Trumpf (Ditzingen)
- Heidelberger Druckmaschinen
- the control and automation technology manufacturer Festo (Esslingen)
- the paper machine manufacturer Voith (Heidenheim)
- the pump manufacturer Putzmeister (Aichtal)
- the drive technology manufacturer SEW-Eurodrive (Bruchsal)
In addition to the already mentioned Stuttgart companies Daimler AG, Porsche AG and Robert Bosch GmbH, the automotive industry is also represented by
- Audi AG (Heilbronn)
- Iveco Magirus (Ulm)
- ZF Friedrichshafen
- LuK (Bühl)
- Rheinmetall Automotive (Neckarsulm)
Another important sector in Baden-Württemberg is the textile industry, which is located outside of the conurbations in the Swabian Alb with Hugo Boss (Metzingen), Trigema (Burladingen) and Steiff (Giengen an der Brenz), among others.
The mineral oil industry has its major locations on the Rhine, which is the European inland shipping route. The Oberrhein mineral oil refinery in Karlsruhe is the second largest German mineral oil refinery.
The broad economic structure of Baden-Württemberg is rounded off by the software and IT industry. With SAP, the largest European software company is based in Walldorf (Baden).
Due to the corporate structure of the state, almost exclusively production-supplying logistics locations can be found in the automotive sector, which are closely linked to the timing of production and assembly (JiT or JiS). In particular, in the automotive sector, but also in the mechanical engineering sector, contract-bound systems for material supply, production and spare parts supply of industrial companies can be found. These include LGI Logistics Group International GmbH, Müller – Die lila Logistik, Honold Logistik Grupp, Simon Hegele GmbH and Grieshaber Logistics Group AG.
These companies find well-developed road networks from the motorway to the municipal road for their transport activities. The A 8 and A 81 motorways cross in the Stuttgart area and offer the best connections to other national and European economic areas, especially in France, Switzerland, Austria and Northern Italy. For the Stuttgart region, the Neckar is of particular importance as a connection to the network of European waterways. It can be used for inland shipping over a length of 201 kilometers from Plochingen to the mouth of the Rhine in Mannheim. The region is thus connected to the most important economic centers and the major seaports of Europe via the ports in Stuttgart and Plochingen. Barges can reach the ports of Rotterdam or Antwerp via the Neckar and Rhine in just 52 hours. Containers can be reloaded between modes of transport via a trimodal container terminal and two terminals for combined transport.
The air freight center of Stuttgart Airport, which is equipped with the latest technology and can handle all forms of air freight, is located on the grounds of the Stuttgart State Fair. Almost 20,000 tons of air freight are handled here every year
The Rhine port Karlsruhe consists of six docks. Among other things, there is a large container terminal here, which is used to load and unload freight ships that connect Karlsruhe with the large seaports on the Rhine-Maas Delta. Not only coal is handled on the approximately 300-hectare site, but three of the world’s leading companies trading in ferrous, steel and non-ferrous metal scrap are also based here. In addition, three concrete plants receive their raw materials by ship.