Industrial Production

Cologne and The Rhineland are industrial heavyweights

Traditionally, Cologne is one of Germany's strongholds for industrial production. The automobile pioneer Nicolaus Otto invented the four-stroke engine in Cologne in the 1860s and in 1901, one of the world's first mass-produced cars rolled off the production line at Audi founder August Horch's factory in Cologne-Ehrenfeld.

More than 9,600 companies make up Cologne's manufacturing sector. The city's leading market also includes skilled trades and construction, as well as other companies involved in the processing of goods. Together they employ approximately 113,000 people and generate a turnover of 58 billion Euros each year. Nineteen percent of all employees in Cologne are engaged in some form of manufacturing, fabrication or skilled manual labour. The sector generates 29 percent of sales in Cologne's overall economy, which makes it the city's most important market in economic terms.

9600.00 Companies
112000.00 Employees
58.00 bil Euros revenue/year

Cologne's industrial sector is a broad church

Industrial production encompasses a broad mix of sub-sectors in Cologne. The most important of those is the automotive industry, which is accelerating the electromobility revolution. Cologne is actually the centre of European electric car production for Ford-Werke GmbH. The US carmaker, which has pledged to abandon the internal combustion engine in their production lines by 2030, is planning to invest one billion euros in Cologne by 2023 for this reason. The second largest automobile manufacturer in the world, Toyota Deutschland GmbH, also has a sales company in Cologne. Furthermore, important suppliers for the national and international automotive industry including Deutz AG and Marelli are situated here.

Drivers of innovation and enterprise

The Rhineland is also one of the largest chemical production sites in Europe. Leading global conglomerates such as Lanxess AG, ExxonMobil Chemical, Ineos and Bayer AG are located either in Cologne or in the immediate vicinity. Shell runs Germany's biggest refinery in the south of the city. Companies such as Leybold GmbH or the machine tool manufacturer Alfred H. Schütte GmbH & Co. KG also make Cologne an important location for mechanical engineering in Germany. The local backbone of Cologne's manufacturing industry consists of a large number of small and medium-sized craft enterprises. In addition, there are numerous startups in the region – often with innovative, technology-based solutions – which act as drivers for digitalisation and sustainability across the sector.

Being one of the most important international tradeshow cities, Cologne is also a centre for various key manufacturing events such as the International Hardware Fair, Intermot motorcycle trade fair and polisMOBILITY.

Any questions?

Our industry experts are happy to help you.
Malu Kröger

Foreign Investment Advisor


Züleyha Kurt

Foreign Investment Advisor