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  • Prime location in the heart of Europe and exemplary infrastructure also a multitude of highly specialised modern economy.

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Friday, 25-06-2021,


In Europe's heartland the Cologne region is an attractive business location and a popular area of investment for many German and international companies.

The Cologne region has been a centre of trade and commerce for two millennia and a dynamic industrial location for over 200 years. In terms of total revenue, the Cologne region is Germany's fifth-largest industrial region. And every fifth worker subject to social insurance contributions in the region is employed in the manufacturing industry - in spite of ongoing structural change.

Some 900 industrial enterprises with more than 20 staff employ 134,000 workers subject to social insurance contributions - this equates to 10 per cent of all industrial workers in North Rhine-Westphalia. Foreign trade is steadily increasing at the same time, with the export quota in the region last running at 48 per cent.

The chemical sector alone numbers 150 companies here, including 7 Chemieparks and approximately 70,000 employees. The Ford European headquarters in Cologne and the German headquarters of Citroen, Mazda, Renault, Toyota, Volvo and more than 130 suppliers make the region a premier location for the automotive industry in Germany, with mechanical and plant engineering following close behind. Biotechnology is also becoming increasingly established as an up-and-coming sector for the future in the region. If one also takes into account the many providers of services to industry, ranging from corporate consultancy to the security trade, the importance of industry in the region becomes even greater still.

Automotive industry and components suppliers

The Cologne region is an important centre for the motor industry, with 23 companies, 27,186 employees and an export ratio in excess of 70 per cent. The Cologne/Bonn region is one of the leading centres for the European automotive industry and its components suppliers. The history of the motor engine began in Cologne in the year 1864, when the first engine foundry was opened in the city - 140 years later, nearly every fourth new car registered in Germany comes from the region. A host of reputable car manufacturers have their production plants or their main international sales and marketing offices here.

The automotive industry has a long tradition in Cologne. Car manufacturers had their companies or subsidiaries here from the very outset. The automotive industry started in Cologne in 1864 with the foundation of N.A. Otto Cie, the city's first engine works, from which Klöckner-Humboltd-Deutz AG (KHD) emerged in 1938. KHD later became the present-day Deutz AG. Horch, which subsequently grew into AUDI, was likewise founded in Cologne. 

Today numerous motor vehicle manufacturers have their German headquarters in the Cologne region. These include Volvo, Mazda, Citroen, DAF Trucks Deutschland GmbH, Renault Deutschland AG and Nissan Center Europe GmbH. Toyota Deutschland GmbH has been located in Cologne since 9 October 1970 - the Formula 1 racing team is also based near to its headquarters.

Ford Werke GmbH, one of the world's largest motor vehicle manufacturers, moved to Cologne in 1931. With a workforce of 18,500, Ford is one of Cologne's biggest employers. The Ford engine plant is Europe's biggest engine exporter, with an annual capacity of around 680,000 units.

Biotech and Life Siences

Cologne has a distinguished and high-calibre research and academic community in the fields of medicine and biotechnology.

With over 20 companies in the municipality and over 40 in the region as a whole working in the biotechnology sector alone, Cologne is a shining example of successful development in an emerging sector. Links are in place with the nearby pharmaceutical and chemical industry in the so-called "Cologne chemical industry belt".

The proximity to research and an excellent range of laboratory and office space provide a foundation for businesses seeking a new base and for expanding companies in the life sciences and biotechnology sector.

Cologne offers the up-coming biotechnology sector excellent locational conditions. The proximity to science and research as well as the industry networks Bio Cologne or BioPartners promote the development.

Chemicals and Pharma

Cologne is one of the Federal Republic's leading regions for chemicals and pharmaceuticals – some 230 chemical companies of every shape and size have settled in this well-known area for the chemical industry.

With around 48 companies and almost 23,000 employees, the chemical industry is a leading sector in the Cologne region. As a central supplier of materials and investigator of innovation, the chemical industry is a major driving force behind industry as a whole in the region. As well as the refinery/petrochemicals segment, more or less the whole spectrum of the chemical industry is represented. Reputable concerns and firms in this sector are based here or run essential production plants.

The Cologne region offers attractive locations for investors in the chemical industry - the chemical and industrial parks offer virtually every branch of the chemical industry and the chemical processing industry excellent conditions in which to become established. These include the Currenta CHEMPARKS in Leverkusen, the Chemiepark Knapsack and the Industriepark Köln-Nord.

ChemCologne, a joint initiative run by numerous chemical companies from the Cologne area, employer associations in the chemical industry, Regio Köln/Bonn und Nachbarn e.V., the city of Cologne and the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, has made it its mission to strengthen the region's chemical industry within the framework of proactive marketing of the location.

Mechanical engineering

The production of machines and plants has a long tradition in Cologne - the famous Otto-Motor has been invented 1876 in Cologne.

Electrical and mechanical engineering round off the industrial range at the Cologne location. New technologies and trends also play an important role here. For example, classical mechanical engineering is increasingly investing in medicinal engineering in cooperation with electrical engineering. Photo: dapd

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