Düsseldorf How quickly a dream job can sometimes turn into a nightmare. A manager of a media company from southern Germany promised her that she could have an international career.
What the top manager was not told: For them, the internationality ended in Austria and Switzerland. There were already responsible managers for all other markets. When an alternative offer was received by the 47-year-old, she was quickly gone. Like so many top performers who are disappointed by their employer.
Losing good employees is always painful. According to a labor market study by the personnel service provider Robert Half, 80 percent of German executives are concerned, even in times of the Corona, that they will not be able to retain qualified employees in the long term. Managers often have it in their own hands to keep their best people.
BMW is one of the most successful automobile companies. But the Bavarians are annoyed that Tesla turns their nose with the electric drives. The car manufacturer wants to fight back with the i4. We accompany the prototype trials of the bearer of hope exclusively.
Berlin The importance of the Chinese market for the German automotive industry has risen to a new record level. Four out of ten new cars are exported to China, reported the “Augsburger Allgemeine” on Saturday with reference to a study by the Center Automotive Research by the car expert Ferdinand Dudenhöffer.
In 2020, the German car groups Volkswagen, Daimler and the BMW Group exported 5.4 million vehicles to China. That was 38.2 percent of the total of 14.16 million new vehicles sold worldwide.
“The Chinese share of German car manufacturers has never been so high and it will continue to rise,” Dudenhöffer told the newspaper. Accordingly, the export share rose, although the actual sales figures for German vehicles on the Chinese market fell slightly by 250,000 new vehicles.
While BMW and Mercedes increased their sales, the VW group sold 383,600 fewer cars in China. BMW increased its Chinese export share in 2020 compared to the previous year from 28.5 to 33.4 percent, Daimler from 25.3 percent to 30.6 percent and among the car brands of the Volkswagen Group, the share of the Chinese business is now 41.4 Percent, after 38.6 percent in the previous year.
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VW and Audi are no longer imaginable without the China business, said Dudenhöffer. The importance of BMW is also growing. “The success and growth of the German auto industry, like economic growth in Germany, is shaped by China.”
More: BMW achieves CO2 targets – but the EU is already working on even stricter rules
Munich The BMW Group wants to realign its sales. “In 2025, around a quarter of our sales will be online,” said Sales Director Pieter Nota on Friday in Munich. In addition, BMW intends to significantly expand its business with “over the air” updates. With these retrospectively bookable services, customers can, for example, buy additional battery power or special light and sound packages already draws very high margins.
The realignment of sales is part of the Group’s ongoing transformation towards electromobility and digitization. BMW wants to have at least twelve all-electric models and as many plug-in hybrids on the market by 2023. In addition, the model range should gradually get a new operating system and thus become “update-capable”.
BMW can already refresh some models with software, but the Munich-based company still has some catching up to do with Tesla. The challenger from California keeps its entire range of models up-to-date with software updates and is already drawing considerable income from it. In addition, Tesla is currently building a factory in Brandenburg and will add even more force to BMW on the European market from next year.
Nota mainly places his hopes in new models. This year, the “i4” and the “iNEXT” are two electric cars with which BMW wants to stop the Tesla advance. The electric SUV “iNEXT” has a completely new on-board network and operating system, which is then transferred to all sedans and SUVs. The new services are to be used on a large scale for the first time in the “iNEXT”. Among other things, the cars should be connected via the new 5G mobile communications standard and thus be able to send and process large amounts of data in real time.
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More cars are expected to be sold again in 2021
Born in the Netherlands, he has been Head of Sales at BMW since 2018, before that Nota worked at the electronics group Philips and Beiersdorf. Together with Jens Thiemer, Head of Marketing, who has changed from Mercedes, Nota is supposed to make marketing and sales much more efficient and powerful. In addition to the challenge from Tesla, the main competitors Mercedes and Audi remain, which are also preparing strongly for electromobility and the digitalization of their business models.
BMW closed 2020 with its Mini and Rolls-Royce brands with a worldwide sales decline of 8.4 percent. In the first half of the year, the factories were temporarily shut down due to the corona pandemic, and the dealerships were also closed. In the second half of the year, however, the company caught up strongly. In the fourth quarter, the group sold more than 600,000 cars for the first time. For the current year BMW is aiming for “profitable growth”, but Nota did not want to commit any further.
In addition to the corona pandemic, the auto industry is currently being slowed down by the global shortage of chips and electronic components. The reason are delivery and production problems in the semiconductor industry. There is already a threat of production interruptions in the VW Group because the cars can no longer be built. “Production is currently running,” says Nota. “We ordered from our suppliers on time.”
More: Lack of chips slows down car manufacturers – Daimler continues to cut production, short-time work at VW
Frankfurt, Düsseldorf The course for a reorganization of the Telekom supervisory board had been set: after 13 years in office, the incumbent Ulrich Lehner wanted to introduce his successor to the annual general meeting on April 1, who should replace him next year. Harald Krüger was planned as a sure candidate. The ex-boss of the car manufacturer BMW has the necessary experience and is already on the supervisory board. The 55-year-old had already agreed.
This carefully prepared planning is now collapsing: Harald Krüger has now rejected the post after all, as several people familiar with the events reported to the Handelsblatt. The reason for the U-turn are personal reasons.
Beijing, Berlin, Düsseldorf Mostly once a year, China’s head of state and party leader Xi Jinping gives a speech to high-ranking ministry and provincial leaders at the Central University of the Communist Party, which sets the course for the year. But this time it had a special meaning. Because the five-year plan is currently being finalized, which should set the course for the economy in the People’s Republic from March to 2025.
Foreign company representatives may not have liked what Xi said behind closed doors earlier this week. “The most essential feature of building a new development pattern is to achieve a high level of self-sufficiency and self-improvement,” says Xi. ”
Düsseldorf, Munich, Frankfurt With the online car dealer Auto1 Group, one of Germany’s most valuable start-ups is striving to go public. The group, which includes the wirkaufendeinauto.de portal, plans to be listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in the first quarter. “With today’s announcement we are opening a new chapter in the history of the Auto1 Group,” said managing director and co-founder Christian Bertermann on Wednesday. Auto1 intends to raise around one billion euros with the IPO and, above all, finance further growth.
According to financial circles, the value of the Auto1 Group is currently six to eight billion euros – significantly more than in the last public assessment, which came to 2.9 billion euros in 2018. One reason for the increase in goodwill is the overall better rating of technology companies.
In addition, Auto1 has grown massively over the years. With a volume of around 90 billion euros, the market for used cars in Germany is almost as large as that for new cars. In addition to the previous core business of buying up and brokering used vehicles to car dealers, Auto1 is expanding the sale of used vehicles directly to private individuals. That is the growth vision that should be realized with the money from the IPO, said CFO Markus Boser.
The President of the Federal Association of German Startups, Christian Miele, sees the IPO announcement of Auto1 as “an important and strong signal for Germany”. The local start-up scene could also produce stock market candidates – and not only from the Rocket Internet environment. “Auto 1 is just the beginning,” said Miele. With its business model, the company is aiming at the digitization of the car trade, which the big car companies have been reluctant to tackle so far.
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Expansion of the platforms
Auto 1 wants to use the proceeds from a targeted IPO for further market transformation and “create the best platform to buy and sell cars online,” said CEO Christian Bertermann on Wednesday. The online platforms Mobile.de and Autoscout 24 have dominated 90 percent so far. Volkswagen and Heycar have been trying to break this duopoly for several years in order to protect their own dealers and control pricing in the used car market.
Unlike Autoscout and Mobile.de, Auto 1 is primarily a car dealer. Auto 1 collects used cars from private individuals via “wirkaufendeinauto.de”; So far, the brokerage of used cars through dealers to private individuals has been smaller. The Berliners increasingly want to sell vehicles to private customers via the “Autohero” platform.
The company does not see this as a competitive business to the dealers on the platform. “The standard that we have defined for Autohero are cars with a value of 12,000 to 13,000 euros, no more than five to six years old,” says Bertermann. The vehicles sold by Autohero should not have more than 100,000 kilometers on the clock. According to the company, the merchandise of the partner dealers is usually worth 6000 to 8000 euros and older.
The used car market is huge. In terms of sales figures, it is twice as large as the market for new cars in Germany with seven million vehicles per year. According to the Federal Statistical Office, sales in Germany alone were almost 90 billion euros in 2019. In comparison: the industry has a turnover of 121 billion euros with new cars.
In the 2020 pandemic, the used car market experienced a particular momentum: According to Deutscher Automobil Treuhand, sales were 2.4 percent below the previous year. But for comparison: New car sales fell by more than 16 percent. On the one hand, many people buy a car again for fear of coronavirus infections on buses and trains. On the other hand, because of the uncertain times, they did without expensive new cars.
The company has a wealth of data
However, the segment is frayed. The trade in new vehicles is mainly distributed among the branches of the car manufacturers and large dealer chains. As a rule, they also take on the marketing of “young used vehicles” that are sold on to private customers as year-old vehicles and leasing returns.
There are also a myriad of small and medium-sized dealers who sell older cars with higher mileage. None of them has a market share of over one percent, as the industry says. The segment is therefore attractive for Auto 1 and other platforms, as the market can be rearranged.
The key to Auto 1’s growth so far has been to bring together more used vehicles than anyone else in Europe. “We have shown that we can scale our business with strong partnerships with customers and professional dealers,” says Christian Bertermann.
The result is a great treasure trove of data. “The addressable market for used cars in Europe is 600 billion euros,” enthuses the Auto-1 boss. The model is, among other things, the listed US used car dealer Carvana. The company is growing rapidly, a trademark is the celebration of car deliveries, for example in glass trucks.
Auto 1 was founded in 2012 by Christian Bertermann and Hakan Koc, who withdrew from operational business at the end of last year and moved to the supervisory board. According to the start-up database Crunchbase, a total of 1.15 billion euros has been invested in the Berlin company to date. The company is now active in over 30 countries.
In 2019 alone, Auto 1 sold more than 615,000 used cars. According to its own information, Auto 1 sells around twice as many used cars within the European Union as the next largest competitor. At the end of the third quarter of last year, CFO Markus Boser, a member of the two-person management board alongside Bertermann, presented some business figures.
According to this, the online car dealer sold almost 120,000 cars from the beginning of July to the end of September 2020, made 769 million euros in sales and achieved an operating profit of 16 million euros. When presenting these figures, the company was probably only concerned with proving that the business model can be profitable – before investing heavily again.
Most recently, in the summer of 2020, the company raised money through a convertible loan to accelerate the growth of Autohero. The IPO should now bring additional capital for expansion. “We believe this is a great opportunity for us that we can take advantage of with our existing platform,” said CFO Boser.
Specifically, the schedule for going public on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange looks like this: The shares should be listed on the regulated market (Prime Standard). The offer is expected to include newly created shares from a capital increase and existing shares, as well as shares in connection with a possible over-allotment, which is covered by an option to top up certain selling shareholders. The Auto 1 roadshow is planned as an online event.
Long list of investors
Among other things, the Softbank Vision Fund should benefit from the IPO – after losing investments in WeWork, among others. Two years ago, the Japanese entered Auto 1 with just under half a billion euros. Today Softbank is the second largest shareholder after the founders with around 20 percent. The stake is now worth between 1.2 and 1.6 billion euros.
One of the company’s first donors was the Berlin seed investor Cherry Ventures, led by Zalando co-founder Filip Dames. The long list of investors includes Hong Kong-based technology investor DST Global and London-based venture capital firms (VC) DN Global and Piton Capital.
The open question is whether the general trend towards online trading can also be transferred to the car market beyond the Corona period. The sale of cars in Germany is still largely analogous. According to industry estimates, not even three percent of all new cars per year in Germany were ordered online before the corona crisis.
In the case of used vehicles, the online sales share is likely to be at least twice as high, but that is still very little compared to other industries. Every fourth trip in this country is booked online.
However, the pandemic has roused even the biggest online skeptics in the auto industry. Those who were not digitally present hardly generated any sales for weeks as a result of lockdowns. Many of the around 36,000 German classic car dealerships are struggling to survive. In contrast, the business of digital leasing providers and brokers is booming.
Mobile.de and Autoscout 24 compete for online car buyers with different business models than Auto 1, their approach is that of the traditional advertising market.
Like Auto 1, these marketplaces are a great danger for car manufacturers because they are losing their role as contact points for car buyers. With the start-up HeyCar, Volkswagen, Daimler and the automotive industry have been trying to counter this risk for several years. The Munich BMW Group is also working on a new sales strategy that relies significantly more on digital contacts. With the IPO of Auto 1, the urgency of such projects should increase significantly.
More: “Our business model works”: With these figures, the Auto1 chief financial officer wants to convince the skeptics.
NEW – On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of its roadster, the German manufacturer is marketing a limited collector’s series inspired by the initial concept of Detroit.
At Porsche, the vein is inexhaustible. The historic models and the most emblematic of its history now feed a special range where the naturally aspirated engine, which was believed to be forever banned on the altar of pollution control standards, is a common denominator. Recently, followers of the Swabian brand were treated to an exciting Speedster 911 made from the 911 R and produced in just 1,948 units, in reference to the first Porsche, the 356/1 roadster which dates from 1948.
The new special model of the Porsche family is even more exclusive. Developed from the Boxster GTS 4.0, it will result in a limited and numbered series of 1,250 units. It is no coincidence that this model is coming now. It celebrates the 25th anniversary of this roadster whose mission was, at the time, to boost sales and get out of the 911 monoculture.
When he entered the market in 1996, Detlev von Platen, then director of Sonauto Porsche, told Le Figaro that “The Boxster gives a slightly less elitist image of the brand. He’s nicer, more socially acceptable. ” A major stake for the brand, which touched the abyss in the early 1990s with sales that collapsed to 14,000 units in 1993 at the height of the crisis, the Boxster is the first real new car to come out of the Porsche factories since 18 years. The production model is close to the concept unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show in 1993 and which was intended to be a modern reinterpretation of the spyder 550 and the 718 RS 60. At the time, when the famous 911 started at 545,000 francs, the Boxster is sold for 278,000 francs. History has proven Porsche right.
From the first months, the manufacturer is overwhelmed with orders, with delivery times stretching to nearly four months in some countries. Produced at 357,000 units since its launch in 1996, the Boxster made a major contribution to Porsche’s success. As a tribute to this saga already in its fourth generation, the German sports car manufacturer has therefore developed an anniversary version which borrows many stylistic elements from the 1993 concept. Starting with the center of the rims, the air intakes and a blade of the front bumper rediscovering the Neodymium shade, a slightly coppery brown. This color pairs perfectly with the body color GT Silver Metallic, dark red leather upholstery and red soft top. A departure from history, the 25-year-old Boxster will also be offered in metallic black and Carrera white metallic.
But what makes this Anniversary Boxster so desirable is inevitably its atmospheric flat-six. Borrowed from the 718 Boxster GTS 4.0, this flat six-cylinder engine produces 400 horsepower. It is paired with either a six-speed manual transmission or a seven-speed dual-clutch PDK gearbox. More than the top speed of 293 km / h, this Boxster announces exhilarating sensations linked to the extension and high revs of its atmospheric engine. Particularly well equipped, this numbered model benefits from the 10mm lowered chassis with electronic suspension tuning Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) and the Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV) torque vector control system with mechanical limited-slip rear differential. The first deliveries of this collector’s edition will begin next spring, at a price of 96,918 euros.
Düsseldorf At the end of the year, Deutsche Post outdid itself this time. Mainly thanks to a rapidly growing e-commerce business before Christmas, the logistics group exceeded its own annual forecast. Since most of the German shops had to close at the beginning of November due to the pandemic, the volume of parcels at Swiss Post increased by an incredible 23 percent in the fourth quarter compared to the same period last year.
E-commerce abroad, which is still in the process of being set up, increased by 33 percent at the festival and delivered 80 million euros in operating profit – after a loss in the corresponding quarter of the previous year.
Overall, after the preliminary annual figures published surprisingly on Tuesday, the Dax group exceeded its forecast, which was only raised in October. Instead of the prospect of 4.1 to 4.4 billion euros, CEO Frank Appel presented an operating profit before interest and taxes (EBIT) of 4.84 billion euros. Before the corona crisis, of course, he had promised an EBIT of more than five billion euros for 2020.
In view of the strong catching up after the first lockdown in the spring, Appel increased his earnings forecasts for the next few years on Tuesday. Accordingly, the group EBIT in 2021 should be higher than the EBIT in 2020 adjusted for special effects of around 5.4 billion euros.
Appel announced that it will go even higher in 2022. The company will provide a detailed outlook for the financial years 2021 and 2023 when the full annual results are announced on March 9.
Although the warehouse logistics business, which includes automotive customers such as BMW, was weakening in the group, group sales rose by five percent in 2020 to 66.8 billion euros. In addition to the parcel business, the express business also contributed to growth, increasing by twelve percent in the past year and by as much as 20 percent in the Christmas quarter. Here, too, the main drivers were express consignments to private households, while traditional B2B business made only moderate progress.
DHL expands aircraft fleet
“2020 was an extraordinary year: Despite the numerous challenges, we were able to achieve record results,” emphasized Frank Appel. The Post’s business model has proven to be resilient even in turbulent times. Now the group is concentrating on transporting the Covid-19 vaccine around the world.
For shareholders, it should be particularly important that Appel improved the outlook for the accumulated free cash flow in the years 2020-2022, from which the dividends will be paid in the end. Instead of the five to six billion previously forecast, it should now be “more than six billion euros”.
Deutsche Post now specifies the expected gross investments in the same period at around 9.5 billion euros, compared to 8.5 to 9.5 billion euros previously. This includes the new order for eight additional Boeing 777 air cargo planes, which Appel announced on Tuesday. They are to be used in the express division. The first machines are to be delivered in 2022.
After the figures were announced, the Deutsche Post share closed 1.48 percent up. At EUR 41.70 it was almost at an all-time high.
Bernstein Research left Deutsche Post on the rating “outperform” and named a price target of 50 euros. The group clearly exceeded expectations in the fourth quarter, wrote analyst Daniel Roeska in a study published on Tuesday.
More: How the parcel services cope with the record numbers in lockdown.
Frankfurt/New York Some investors return to Wall Street on Tuesday in the hope of a breath of fresh air for the US economy. The Dow Jones Index of Standard Values gained 0.2 percent to 31,068 points. The technology-heavy Nasdaq advanced 0.3 percent to 13,072 points and the broad S&P 500 closed barely changed at 3801 points.
At the beginning of the week, the leading indices had lost up to 1.3 percent on Monday. The main reason for this was speculation that impeachment proceedings against the outgoing US President Donald Trump could hinder the adoption of new economic aid to cushion the consequences of the coronavirus.
“Even if the aid package were to be delayed, it would only be a matter of days or weeks, not months,” said portfolio manager Keith Buchanan of wealth manager Globalt. In addition, the upcoming financial season is moving more and more into the focus of investors.