© Ton Thiele

Automotive and Suppliers Cluster: Leipzig is a centre of innovation and an important industrial location

Leipzig has established itself as a major centre for business and science, with the automotive industry and its suppliers playing a central role.
The foundations of this strong industry cluster were laid by Porsche more than two decades ago when the car manufacturer opened its plant in Leipzig. With the arrival of the BMW Group soon after, the region has since become a major centre for the automotive industry.

Today, Leipzig is synonymous in the industry with cutting-edge technology, electric mobility and innovation. We take a look at how this cluster has developed in Leipzig over the years and what makes this important centre of automotive expertise so special.

An economically strong centre of innovation for electric mobility

The numbers speak for themselves: the automotive and supplier industry in Leipzig employs around 20,000 people in a wide range of occupations in 765 companies. In 2022, this industrial sector generated a turnover of 1.9 billion euros.

Electric vehicles are produced in state-of-the-art, sustainable facilities for export around the world. The BMW Group’s Leipzig plant, for example, is regarded as the birthplace of the i Series and a pioneer in lightweight construction for electric mobility in the production network. Since November, the plant has also been producing the MINI Countryman, which will be available as an all-electric version from March 2024.

Electric mobility is also a current priority at Porsche. Production of the next generation of the Macan compact SUV, which will be all-electric, began this year. In addition, the Porsche plant in Leipzig is currently being expanded into a centre of excellence for electric mobility. However, this technology is not new to Porsche Leipzig: the first hybrid vehicle, the Cayenne S Hybrid, rolled off the production line back in 2010.

The modern production facilities of the two renowned car manufacturers are a boost for Leipzig as a business location and have earned it a high reputation in the industry worldwide. This, in turn, is attracting other companies such as mobility data management provider Webfleet and the battery manufacturer Dräxlmaier to the economic centre in Saxony.

Leipzig: International meeting place for the industry

To help shape the future of electric mobility and strengthen Leipzig as a business location, the city hosts international congresses in the field.

ITF Summit

Since 2008, the ITF Summit, the world’s largest meeting of transport ministers and the leading global platform for sharing ideas about transport policy, has been held at the Congress Center Leipzig. The OECD’s International Transport Forum (ITF) is a politically independent intergovernmental organisation with 66 member countries.
Its main task is to promote transport policy with the overall aim of creating a better understanding of the role of transport in achieving economic growth, protecting the environment and promoting social inclusion.

ACOD congress

Under the motto “Mastering challenges: Finding new partners, exploiting new opportunities and creating added value”, the annual congress of ACOD (Automotive Cluster Ostdeutschland) was held in September 2023 together with OptoNet e. V. at the Porsche Experience Center Leipzig.
Together, best-practice examples from companies were used to promote direct and personal dialogue with managers from car manufacturers, suppliers and researchers.

Intec trade fair

Every two years, Leipzig hosts the International Trade Fair for Machine Tools, Manufacturing and Automation, the most important meeting place for the European metal processing industry.
Intec presents innovative technologies for everyday production and creates an outstanding platform for first-class expertise, innovations, new impulses and networking for all industry players. This includes manufacturers, sales and service partners as well as decision makers and experts.

Parallel to Intec, the international subcontractor fair Z is held as a meeting place for the supplier industry, especially for medium-sized companies, as well as GrindTec, the international trade fair for tool machining and tool grinding.

Transforming the automotive industry – made in Leipzig

With all kinds of pioneering projects, Leipzig and the surrounding region stand for innovation, providing important impetus for the automotive industry’s transformation towards greater sustainability, responsibility and manageability for the end consumer.

Sicharge D: The fast-charging station for electric cars

Together with Leipzig University of Applied Sciences (HTWK), Siemens has developed a model for fast-charging stations for electric cars that has been delivered to customers in 38 countries.
In June 2023, the 1,000th charging station produced in Leipzig was handed over to the public utility company Stadtwerke Leipzig. Siemens is now planning to further expand production capacity for the lightning-fast chargers in Leipzig. Several thousand units of the Sicharge D system will then be produced each year.

The “Future Parking” and “Mobility – Leipzig in Transition” projects

Future Parking brings a new flexibility to parking by wirelessly locating available spaces indoors. The project, financed by the Free State of Saxony with EU funding, is investigating robust positioning methods in challenging environments such as multi-storey car parks. These methods will enable precise localisation and navigation and help to overcome logistical challenges and provide networked services in the city of Leipzig. As part of the project, the partners are working to develop a wireless sensor network (WSN) and an environmental radar system.

The pilot project Mobility – Leipzig in Transition (MoLeWa) focuses on alternative production processes and drive systems to meet the requirements of the energy transition and the goal of climate neutrality. The project is being funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action to the tune of 6 million euros and is the result of a strong partnership between various stakeholders. Besides the Automotive Cluster Ostdeutschland (ACOD), these include the City of Leipzig’s Office for Economic Development, the IG Metall trade union, the University of Leipzig and Leipzig Chamber of Industry and Commerce.
The latest technologies, electric mobility and innovation are the hallmarks of Leipzig’s automotive and supplier industry. The close cooperation and networking between all stakeholders also help to strengthen this sector of Leipzig’s economy.

In order to emphasise Leipzig’s appeal as a venue for national and international congresses, the main focus is on clearly defined industry clusters. In addition to the automotive and supplier industry and healthcare and biotechnology, these include the energy and environmental technology and IT, media and creative industries clusters.


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