Leistungen // Laterales Management

elon musk's investment in the eifel region

At our last meeting with our tax advisor, he told us about an acquaintance at Audi who is convinced that nothing will come of electric cars. Does this mean that the VW Group is starting a national press campaign about the digital future of the car and the amounts the Group – including Audi – will need to invest for this purpose while the company’s engineers seem to be less than convinced by this innovation?

This is certainly not the case for Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla and its major shareholder. Rumour has it that the company already has a million electric cars worldwide on the reserve list but can only produce 50,000 vehicles per year. Tesla wants to change this: it aims to produce 500,000 cars per year. This is why the company is now buying firms through out the world that are established automotive suppliers and, in particular, specialists in battery-powered production.

Eifel doesn’t sound much like Silicon Valley

One of these companies is Grohmann Engineering, which employs 700 staff and generates revenues of 120 million a year in Prüm in the Eifel, close to the Nürburgring. This is a long way from German cities, Cologne is approximately 70 kilometres away. Elon Musk had to fly to Luxembourg to sign the contract “in the sticks”.

The founder and inventor Klaus Grohmann moved his company from Düsseldorf to this tranquil, provincial spot 30 years ago. Together with other experts, he wanted to develop cutting-edge technology in peace and seclusion. His employees do not spend their mornings stuck in traffic and their families have all the benefits of country life. There are schools there too. The only things that are missing are theatres, museums and cinemas but in return land is cheap and there is space to have your own home. The area also attracts talent, since not everybody needs the density, the hectic pace and the noise of big cities. Klaus Grohmann is comfortable with this: his employees can concentrate on their work and are more productive.

Richard Florida or Hermann Simon?

At the beginning of 2000, the economist Richard Florida claimed to have found a statistical link between cities’ promotion of culture and innovation. At the time, Florida was the “talk of the town”: many municipalities had entire urban development schemes developed by Florida’s consultancy company.

Prüm in the Eifel had most probably not been included in his random sample, which only covered US cities, but at the same time vital clues could also be found in Hermann Simon’s book “Hidden Champions des 21. Jahrhunderts: Die Erfolgsstrategien unbekannter Weltmarktführer, where Klaus Grohmann gave detailed information on his own cultural concept.