More than 100,000 jobs will be lost in the automotive trade

Working in the auto repair shop

The requirements are increasingly moving in the direction of digitalization.

(Photo: imago images/Westend61)

Dusseldorf Electromobility and digitization will ensure that more than 100,000 jobs will be lost in the automotive trade in Germany by 2040. That would correspond to almost 30 percent of the current job volume. This is the result of a new study presented by the Institute for the Automotive Industry (Ifa) and the Fraunhofer Society on Tuesday.

Accordingly, workshops and car dealerships have to open up new business areas. Around 435,000 people are still working in the German motor vehicle trade in a good 36,000 companies. According to the study, around 356,000 jobs and a good 29,000 companies will remain in a first step by 2030. The cuts will continue in the decade that follows. The study authors expect 312,000 employees and around 23,000 companies by 2040.

“Completely new requirements are being placed on companies and their employees,” said Florian Herrmann from the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering (IAO) at the presentation of the study. Electric cars and increasing digitization made a rethink in the automotive trade unavoidable.

Digitization not only directly affects the vehicles, but also the work processes at car dealers and their workshops. Car sales will change particularly strongly: With the comprehensive introduction of the agency model, manufacturers are increasingly pulling vehicle sales into their own hands. Car manufacturers will increasingly sell their new cars online via the Internet.

Ifa and the Fraunhofer Institute calculate that the car manufacturers will attract around 30 percent of the new car business by 2030. In 2040 it is expected to be around 45 percent. It’s currently less than 10 percent. “If the responsibility shifts more and more to the car manufacturer, there will be less work for the sales consultant in the car dealership,” concluded Benedikt Maier, deputy director of the Institute for the Automotive Industry.


In order to make the business model of the trade and workshops fit for the future, there are also high investment costs. In the long term, the study authors from the Fraunhofer Society and IfA Institute predict that non-brand-related companies will find it much more difficult to remain competitive, while brand-related companies will increasingly merge.

In contrast to independent companies, companies that are associated with a group can still count on a certain amount of support from the manufacturer. Independent car dealers have greater problems raising the money for the necessary investments. The workshops must be able to reliably repair the electric cars; this calls for new repair systems and tools.

More problems with independent companies

The figures from the study also show that independent companies will have a much harder time in the future. From the current 22,000 companies, around 13,000 will remain by 2040, a decline of more than 40 percent. In the case of make-related companies, it will drop from around 14,500 to around 10,000 companies by 2040, a drop of around 30 percent.

Ifa and Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft expect the sharpest decline in the number of employees with minus 36 percent in the central administration areas of car dealerships and workshops. In the direct vehicle trade, the authors of the study put the drop at 34 percent. With minus 24 percent, the workshops come off best. Employees without qualifications and training have to fear the most for their jobs.

>>Read here, which concentration processes are to be expected in the car trade.

Many components that can cause defects in combustion models are not used in e-vehicles. Along with far less wear and tear, this leads to fewer repairs. Many workshops still earn very well from changing the oil. This business will be completely eliminated in the future. New driver assistance systems will also make driving safer and help prevent accidents. Here, too, the motor vehicle trade will receive fewer orders.

Training and qualifications can help

Fraunhofer researcher Florian Herrmann recommends that companies face the transformation. Further training and qualification of the company’s own employees are key to making the car dealership or workshop future-proof. New business areas would also emerge, such as in the area of ​​mobility offers. True entrepreneurship is in demand here again, according to the Fraunhofer scientist.

In a first reaction to the publication of the study, the Central Association of the German Motor Trade (ZDK) called for stable political framework conditions, for example in the promotion of electric cars. “Ultimately, it is important to accompany and support the often medium-sized and owner-managed companies in the transformation,” said ZDK General Manager Kurt-Christian Scheel.

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