In the last few years, the automotive industry had been facing important challenges, such as changing customer behaviors, changing regulation and politics and introducing new technologies. Now, COVID-19 has caused crucial problems for the entire global economy. The automotive industry is now confronted with many supply chain issues that have caused huge problems & losses at OEMs and suppliers.

The TU Wien as host of the Professional MBA Automotive Industry takes the current situation as an opportunity to discuss the current problems, solutions and future possibilities in an Online Expert Talk with the topic: “What are the consequences of the corona crisis in the automotive and supply Industry?”

The talk was followed by over 100 online participants and moderated by Prof. Wilfried Sihn, Academic Director of our Professional MBA Automotive Industry, opens an external URL in a new window. Three top-class experts were guests: Hon.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. h.c. Andreas Tostmann, member of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen brand with responsibility for production and logistics, Dipl.-Ing. Dietmar Schäfer, CEO of iSi Automotive Holding GmbH, and Dipl.-Ing. Marco Schlimpert, Senior Vice President Europe & Americas of Lenzing AG.

According to Mr. Tostmann, although Volkswagen AG was prepared for the financial crisis and other crises, the Corona crisis has a completely new dimension. He spoke of a "hard shutdown" and a "soft restart" in the Volkswagen Group and presenten a 100-point plan from Volkswagen to help itself and also its 40,000 suppliers out of the crisis. The company continued to work on innovations and digital solutions, such as 3D printing, Industrial Cloud and AGV's. As a final point he spoke about the recovery of the market using the example of the Chinese market and said that the market recovery depends on economic stimulus packages and incentives.

Mr. Schäfer started his talk with the global market forecast before COVID-19. According to forecasts in January and June 2020 almost 20 million cars less will be produced in 2020, which will cause significant effects on the financial planning of suppliers. He also spoke about the synchronization of the supply chain. A new strategy keeping cost effectiveness along with shorter and less global supply chains is required. He spoke about the aspects that need to be considered in the future, such as the impact of COVID-19 on supply chains, digitalization and individual mobility. The mobility and industry have been already in the transition, but the current crisis is accelerating the transformation.

For Mr Schlimpert, the great lesson of the COVID19 situation is that traditional cooperation between companies based on supply and demand power must change to partnerships based on mutual understanding. "We need emotionally intelligent leadership that is oriented towards the goals and the way of thinking of people, organizations and companies in order to be successful in the future. Companies along the value chain must be evaluated according to organizational agility vs. financial resilience in order to understand how this change can be achieved".

He also claimed that companies need to "ADAPT" - the abbreviation stands for "Anticipate / Drive / Accelerate / Partner / Trust". Mr. Schlimpert cited as an example the partnership Lenzing started with the company Rinspeed, which enabled them to offer new concepts for mobility in the automotive industry. In the fiber industry, Lenzing reacted to the corona crisis and entered into face mask production by founding Hygiene Austria AG together with Palmers Textil. For Mr. Schlimpert an example of agility and adaptability.

The Continuing Education Center expresses sincere thanks to the expert and participants. 

Click on the links below to see the presentations of the three experts:

  • Hon-Prof. Dr.-Ing. h.c. Andreas Tostmann: >>
  • Dipl.-Ing. Dietmar Schäfer >>
  • Dipl.-Ing. Marco Schlimpert >>

At the end of the talk, several participants had questions for to Dr. Tostmann. Click here to read his answers, opens an external URL in a new window.

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Expert Talk: What are the consequences of the corona crisis in the automotive and supply industry?

[Translate to English:] Online Session