The 2023 International Motor Show (IAA), a prominent event in the world of mobility and automobiles, kicked off in the vibrant city of Munich, Germany, showcasing the thriving partnership between German and Chinese exhibitors.
With around 70 Chinese companies participating, China’s representation was second only to the host nation, Germany. This year’s IAA, operating under the theme “Experience Connected Mobility,” has witnessed Chinese automakers unveiling a plethora of opportunities for European partners and customers.
Chinese brands have taken center stage at the IAA, leaving an indelible mark with their innovative products amidst the ongoing digital revolution. This influx of Chinese companies underscores the event’s international character and its role in shaping the global mobility landscape, as noted by Peter Fintl, Vice President of Technology and Innovation at Capgemini Engineering.
Before the official inauguration of the IAA MOBILITY, automakers and suppliers from diverse corners of the globe congregated for numerous press conferences. Notably, China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Ltd. (CATL), a leading EV battery manufacturer, introduced the “Shenxing” lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery. This battery offers an impressive 400 km driving range on a 10-minute charge, with the aim of making EVs more affordable and accessible. CATL’s innovation has piqued the interest of European EV manufacturers, promising enhanced competitiveness in this rapidly evolving sector.
The ZF Group, a formidable player in the auto supply industry, is deepening its roots in China, having established three plants and four R&D centers. Graciana Petersen, Head of Strategy & Transformation at ZF Group, recognizes the burgeoning Chinese automotive market, particularly the rising prominence of new energy vehicles. Chinese consumers’ high standards for safety and intelligent vehicle components align with ZF Group’s commitment to delivering quality products and systems.
Oliver Zipse, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, emphasizes the impossibility of detaching from China’s influence due to its pivotal role in raw materials, manufacturing expertise, and economic size. He acknowledges that China is BMW’s largest market and advocates embracing competition in the automotive sector.
Chen Yudong, President of Bosch China, notes the increasing trend of Chinese automotive brands entering the European market, presenting both opportunities and challenges. As a global enterprise, Bosch extends its support to customers’ business expansion wherever the market demands. China holds a prominent place in Bosch’s global strategy, being the largest market for the company.
Oliver Blume, CEO of Volkswagen Group, echoes the sentiment of a clear focus on China. As China’s leading automaker, Volkswagen’s commitment to the Chinese market is unwavering. Blume underlines the importance of partnerships and the integration of new technologies developed in China into Volkswagen’s renowned products.
The automotive industry is a collective endeavor, especially as it grapples with historic transformations like the emergence of electric vehicles. ZF Group CEO Holger Klein emphasizes China’s pivotal role in the company’s global expansion, driven not only by the Chinese market’s size but also by the global potential of Chinese-developed technologies.
Klein highlights the dynamic nature of the Chinese market, characterized by a younger customer base and a penchant for innovation. The synergy between market proximity and consumer understanding fuels innovation.
Peter Fintl recognizes China’s leadership in electric vehicles, battery technology, cost efficiency, and overall progress. Many Chinese brands have set the pace in these areas, challenging industry standards and driving the rapid development of the sector.
The collaborative spirit at the IAA underscores the willingness to exchange knowledge and expertise for mutual benefit. Oliver Blume sees partnerships, such as those with XPENG, as opportunities for win-win scenarios, a philosophy shared by the industry as it navigates the evolving landscape of electric mobility.
In essence, the IAA serves as a testament to the robust ties between China and Europe in the electric vehicle sector, where innovation, competition, and collaboration converge to shape the future of mobility.