Heilbronn is one of the most important industrial locations in the Federal State of Baden-Württemberg. The state’s sixth-largest city is the social and commercial centre of the Heilbronn-Franken “region of global market leaders” with more than 880,000 inhabitants (2011) and a GDP of more than Euro 31bn (2010), making it number five among the twelve regions of the federal state of Baden-Württemberg. Almost twice as large as Luxemburg or the German Federal State of Saarland, its economic performance compares to European countries such as Serbia or Lithuania.
The strong economic growth of this large region is truly remarkable, as over the past forty years its labour market and economy have consistently outperformed all other regions in the south-west of Germany. Since 1973, the number of persons employed has grown by 50 per cent while the sales and export performance of the manufacturing industry have increased at twice the average rate of the federal state.
The city of Heilbronn and the Heilbronn-Franken region are part of the European Metropolitan Region of Stuttgart, one of the strongest economic areas in Europe with more than 5.3m inhabitants and the home of global players such as Daimler, Bosch or Porsche. Renowned companies such as Unilever (Knorr production and development site), Audi, Intersport Deutschland (German headquarters), Kaufland (German hypermarket chain), Baier & Schneider (Brunnen-branded calendars and exercise books) or Friesland Campina (German headquarters of the Dutch dairy cooperative) are based in Heilbronn itself. In addition, the city is home to a broad range of medium-sized companies and a vibrant start-up scene.
Over the past few years, knowledge-based service providers, medical engineering companies and the creative industry (mainly advertising agencies and architecture practices) have gained in importance. The economic region’s largest employer, however, still is Audi AG, manufacturing the A6, A7 and A8 premium cars as well as the R8 super sports car in the Neckarsulm plant. The R8 body shop and assembly facilities will be relocated to the new Audi site at Heilbronn’s Böllinger Höfe industrial estate in 2014.
Critical success factors for the innovative strength of Heilbronn as an industrial location are the University of Applied Sciences with a focus on engineering, economics and information technology, the Heilbronn campus of the Mosbach Baden-Württemberg Cooperative State University, the German Graduate School of Management and Law (GGS), the Innovationsfabrik Heilbronn (IFH) start-up centre and the Wohlgelegen Future Park industrial estate which first-and-foremost attracts young high-tech companies from the medical engineering and information technology industries.
Thanks to its innovative spirit, pro-business strategy and open arms policy, the city of Heilbronn will continue to meet the highest expectations expressed by companies, professionals and executive staff from all over the world.