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Motor shows, how we have missed them. Auto Shanghai 2021 has been underway all week and there has been a very real sense of excitement about the event, especially as it’s the first major, non-virtual auto show since the Covid-19 pandemic took hold in early 2020.

KIRCHHOFF Automotive GmbH is one of the many German companies that have been showing off their new technologies and services in the Official German Pavilion. The family-owned company was established in 1785, today it is a part of the KIRCHHOFF Group.

It is a global player that manufactures complex body components for cars and commercial vehicles. 

On this week’s Mobility Moments we talk to CTO, Dr. Thorsten Gaitzsch, whose background is in mechanical engineering and has 25 years of experience in the global automotive industry.

Describe KIRCHHOFF Automotive and its key services

With 9.000 employees in 26 Global production plants (in Europe, North America and Asia), KIRCHHOFF Automotive develops and produces body-in-white and chassis parts and complex assemblies, made out of steel, aluminum and hybrid materials.

Our customers are more or less all passenger car OEMs and some coming from the heavy truck business.

What are products and new technologies that you are showing off at Auto Shanghai 2021?

Our focus is on safe and lightweight products not only but especially designed for electric mobility. Amongst others, this includes, for example, crash management systems, battery housings, cross car beams, etc.

How do your products make mobility safer?

The complete structure of a passenger car changes due to electric mobility. The former engine as a crash absorber is not anymore in place, this is why the structure for such a frontend needs to be designed in a completely different way.

That’s what we have been doing over the last months and the results, we do present in Shanghai.


How important is the Chinese market for your company?

Currently, China is the biggest automotive market in the world and the growth rate, too, is higher than in all the other regions. In addition, the ‘Auto Shanghai’ is the biggest auto show in the world. This underlines the importance for the automotive industry as well as for our company.

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Do you think autonomous transport will be viable this century?

I’m quite confident that autonomous driving will come up in the next years and decades. If not in the 2020s, it will be the case in the 2030s, at the latest.

What will urban mobility in Europe look like by 2030?

The urban mobility will be completely different compared to what we are familiar with today. Connectivity, electric mobility, shared mobility and the beginning of autonomous driving will have a huge impact.

Cars for urban mobility will be different from cars for the countryside. That means they will be much smaller, easy to handle, limited in speed and acceleration, etc.

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