With twelve brands from seven countries, the Volkswagen Group is Europe’s largest automaker. The EU is of huge importance for the industry and for Volkswagen in particular. The fact check.
The European Union currently has 28 member states with around 510 million citizens and generates gross domestic product in excess of €15 trillion. It recorded economic growth of two percent last year and is one of the three main global players in international trade alongside the United States and China. What is especially remarkable: Although the EU is home to barely seven percent of the world’s population, trade between it and the rest of the world accounts for between 15 and 16 percent of global imports and exports. And: The EU sticks together. 64 percent of the EU countries’ total trade is with other EU countries.
The automotive industry plays a major role in that. 31 percent of all the EU’s imports in the previous year were mechanical engineering products and vehicles – and this goods category even accounted for 41 percent of exports. Some 13.3 million people work in the automotive sector in Europe, i.e. 6.1 percent of the total workforce in the EU. With an annual output of 19.2 million vehicles and a trade surplus of €82 billion, the automotive sector with its products “Made in Europe” is therefore one of the key pillars in the European Union’s free and open trade policy.
The German automotive industry also benefits from the single European market with its free and open trade. Revenue in the German automotive industry was €68.8 billion, just 1% below the high level for the previous year. At the same time, the number of employees in Germany rose by just under two percent to 833,700 in 2019.
“Trade for all” – The basic principles of EU trade policy
The European Union’s prosperity is founded on free and open global trade. 31 million jobs – or almost every one in seven in Europe – depend on exports in the EU alone. Trade agreements lay the foundation for clear, fair trade relationships with other parts of the world. As part of that, the EU is committed to three fundamental principles:
Effectiveness, i.e. ensuring and providing the means and information to enable European small and medium-sized companies, consumers and workers to take full advantage of – and adapt to – more open markets.
Transparency, i.e. publishing key texts from all negotiations.
Values, i.e. promoting European values, such as sustainable development, human rights, fair and ethical trade and the fight against corruption, by defining required standards.
With its twelve brands (Volkswagen Passenger Cars, Audi, SEAT, ŠKODA, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, Ducati, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, Scania and MAN) from seven European countries, its 69 sites in 20 European countries and more than 490,000 employees in Europe, the Volkswagen Group is Europe’s largest automaker and the continent’s leader. Two-thirds of all the Volkswagen Group’s employees work in Europe. And more than half of all its sites are on European soil. The company’s delivery figures also demonstrate how important the Volkswagen Group is for Europe and European trade. 10.8 million vehicles were sold worldwide in 2018 and Europe accounted for 4.741 million of them. The Volkswagen brand alone accounted for some eleven percent of newly registered passenger cars in Europe in March 2019.
The EU’s citizens eligible to vote will set the agenda for the future of Europe and the European Union on May 26, 2019. With its more than 490,000 employees from all over Europe, the Volkswagen Group is committed to a Europe of diversity and unity. Because a united Europe with its common single market, its international trade activity and its willingness to share knowledge in a spirit of partnership is vital to competitiveness in the global arena – and not only for the Volkswagen Group. Employees also benefit from a Europe of cohesion and cooperation, whether through consistent Europe-wide regulations on co-determination, minimum standards on vacation entitlement and compensatory time off, or the possibility of working in other EU countries. For everyone who wants to help decide on the European Union’s future course: EU Parliament elections will be held in 28 European countries from May 23 to 26. Vote for Europe!