It is not only the 30 major corporations such as Siemens, Volkswagen, Allianz, SAP and BASF listed on the German share index (DAX) that make the country competitive internationally, but ten thousands of small and medium-sized enterprises (up to 500 employees) in manufacturing, in particular mechanical engineering, the supplier industry, as well as nano and biotechnology, which frequently form clusters.

The most important sectors of industry are automotive manufacture, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and chemicals. These four sectors alone provide work for 2.9 million people, who generate sales worth in excess of EUR 800 billion. Automotive manufacture is the innovation engine room: Around 30 percent of all internal company spending on R&D is in this sector. With the six manufacturers VW, Audi, BMW, Daimler, Porsche (VW) and Opel (General Motors) Germany, alongside Japan, China and the USA is one of the largest car producers – with a significant share of the upper mid-range and luxury market segments.

With a share of a good 13 percent, in terms of sales the almost 6,000 mechanical engineering companies are in second place after vehicle manufacture. As the largest employer in industry (965,000 jobs) and the leading export sector, mechanical engineering has a key position in the German economy.