The Future of Employment in the Automotive Industry in Central and Eastern Europe

The Automotive Sector in Upheaval

The automotive industry is of enormous economic importance for the Visegrad countries and Romania. In addition, it employs many thousands of people. But the pressure on the industry is growing: through digitalization, new forms of car use and higher environmental standards. China and the Silicon Valley are pushing aggressively onto the international market. Also, the higher CO2 emission targets that were recently adopted by the European Union have forced the automobile manufacturers to take action. The same applies for its suppliers. Due to the dependence of the automotive industry in Central and Eastern Europe on foreign capital they encounter themselves in a twice as difficult position because strategic decisions, for instance where new products will be produced, are taken by the parent company in Western Europe or elsewhere.

Pressure through Megatrends

The pressure to change is caused mainly by four megatrends: Digitalization, urbanization, sustainability and individualization. On top of this come technological innovations which revolutionize the automotive industry rapidly: The electric engine will sooner or later replace the combustion engine. The European automotive industry must prove itself in the global competition against China and the Silicon Valley. This requires a completely new thinking: The business model of the future does not focus on just the car, but on mobility overall.

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