Published On September 17, 2019
German Chancellor Angela Merkel came to Wuhan on September 7 with a German high-level business delegation to visit the new factory of Webasto Wuhan, a world-renowned automotive parts manufacturer.
After the relocation of the original rented plant to the new plant, Webasto's production capacity in Wuhan has tripled. The new plant, with a construction area of 41,000 square meters, will be the largest production base in the world.
It mainly produces automotive skylights, electric heaters and charging solutions. Its annual production capacity is 2 million sets, electric heaters 1.2 million sets and charging piles 600,000 sets.
This not only shows that China's manufacturing and R&D capabilities in auto parts have won the recognition of well-known foreign enterprises but also demonstrates the confidence of German leaders in further cooperation with China in the field of auto parts manufacturing.
It is not enough to have a high production capacity and low cost. If we Chinese auto parts want to have a place in the world market, we need to cooperate with advanced automobile countries to gradually master the core technology, so that Chinese products can meet or even exceed EU standards.
To keep our oxygen sensor ahead of the industry, F&S Always have established R&D centers in cooperation between Germany and Shanghai. One of the representative achievements is ceramics (core parts of the oxygen sensor).
Chery Automobile recently chose suburban Frankfurt as its research and development center, which opened at the end of last year. The team is mainly committed to the design and feasibility of the Wuhu parent company. In May, Geely opened a development center near Chery. It expects to employ about 300 engineers in its R&D business in the next few years and help accelerate the company's efforts in electrification and ultra-low emission vehicles.
This is reminiscent of a similar move by Hyundai Europe, which set up a technology center near Frankfurt in 2003 and a joint design studio with its sister brand, Kia, shortly thereafter. It was there that the ix35 compact cross-border vehicle and its platform brother Kia Sports Edition were developed.
Hyundai and Kia were able to build their own companies in Europe in a much shorter time than Toyota, partly because they had established local R&D operations in the early stages.
Chinese automakers are trying to gain prestige abroad, improve competitiveness and open up new sales channels, and invest in new design and engineering operations in Europe to enhance long-term prospects in the region and at home.
Over the years, Chinese companies have been trying to gain a foothold in Europe, and new engineering bases such as Great Wall Automobile in Germany can solve some of the shortcomings. Local R&D center helps manufacturers better understand market demand, understand the complexity of foreign certification procedures, and establish links with new suppliers.
The development center will certainly help to promote China's technological progress. If we can't develop products that meet the needs of Europe, Chinese products will have no chance to be recognized by the market. Industry experts also agree that small R&D centers help attract new design and engineering talent.