Baden-Württemberg is considered one of the economically strongest and most competitive regions in Europe. Globally active large corporations have their headquarters here, as do numerous medium-sized family businesses – often hidden champions. Typical for the economy in the Ländle is the high share of industry. Car manufacturing, car supply and mechanical engineering are particularly important. This is also reflected in our list of three local German market leaders. The presented companies belong to the largest companies in Baden-Württemberg.
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1. ZF Friedrichshafen AG, Friedrichshafen: €32.6 billion in sales
ZF Friedrichshafen was founded in 1915 as Zahnradfabrik GmbH for the production of gears and transmissions. This business model still exists – in a modernized form. Today, ZF Friedrichshafen is one of the world’s leading companies in the field of driveline and chassis technology. In Germany, it is the undisputed number 1. The company has approximately 153,000 employees. The main owner with a share of over 90 percent is the Zeppelin Foundation, which is administered by the city of Friedrichshafen. Despite this close relationship between the city and the company, ZF Friedrichshafen has a global orientation. It has 260 locations in 41 countries.
2. Daimler AG, Stuttgart: 154.3 billion euros in revenue
Daimler is Germany’s second largest carmaker and the market leader in premium vehicles. The company’s history began back in 1883 with Mannheim-based Benz & Cie – the world’s first automobile manufacturer. The company is still committed to this tradition today. Daimler produces passenger cars and commercial vehicles worldwide. With plants in Stuttgart, Sindelfingen and Rastatt, the company also has large production facilities in Baden-Württemberg. The group has over 288,000 employees. In the future, the Daimler Group will be split into two companies. The commercial vehicle subsidiary Daimler Truck AG will be floated on the stock exchange as an independent company. The passenger car division will continue to operate independently – Daimler will then change its name to Mercedes-Benz.
3. Robert Bosch GmbH, Stuttgart: 71.5 billion euros in sales
Bosch started in 1886 as a backyard workshop in Stuttgart. Today, Robert Bosch-GmbH is a globally operating conglomerate with a diverse technical product range. Bosch produces electrical and electronic components for the automotive industry, as well as power tools, household appliances, industrial technology (Rexroth subgroup), and energy and building technology. The automotive supply sector accounts for almost 60 percent of the group’s sales. Bosch is not only the German, but also the global market leader in automotive supplies. The company employs almost 400,000 associates, some 132,000 of them in Germany. The Robert Bosch Stiftung holds 94 percent of the company’s capital – but without voting rights. The descendants of the company’s founder Robert Bosch have significant influence through their voting rights.