News 07/19/2023

Hirschvogel is Successfully Transforming Itself – and Moving Closer to its Market Regions

Cars all over the world are on the move with steel and aluminum components from the Hirschvogel Group. To ensure that this remains the case despite the mobility and climate change, the global Group is transforming itself into a component manufacturer for the green mobility of tomorrow and, at the same time, is striving for sustainable production.

In 2022, global sales of 1.4 billion euros were generated. While this result is positive, the lead plant in Denklingen, Upper Bavaria, is not satisfied. The tense global political situation, corona lockdowns in China, the war in Ukraine, the energy crisis, and inflation in Europe have driven up costs. Nevertheless, the family-owned company remains committed to its planned investments. In 2022 alone, around 120 million euros were invested, with a significant proportion of this flowing into the European sites. Investment sums will continue to rise until 2025 – after all, the company is on a path that is proving successful.

“The mobility change in the automotive industry holds opportunities that we are taking advantage of together with our employees,” says Jörg Rückauf, CEO at Hirschvogel. “The transformation of our automotive portfolio is already well underway. By 2025, more than half of the steel and aluminum components we sell will be drive-independent ortailored to e-mobility. As a next step, we – as a global player – are aligning ourselves even more closely to our market regions in order to maximize potential and strengthen our resilience to economic and political crises.”

The reason for this measure lies in the differing dynamics within the regional automotive markets. Whereas growth potential is emerging in the North American and Asian markets thanks to investment-friendly conditions and high demand volumes, the market in Europe is

expected to stagnate. This is a problem that is being exacerbated in international competition by the disadvantages of Europe as a business location, such as energy costs and carbon pricing. Capacity utilization and strengthening competitiveness are therefore among the top priorities here in the coming years.

Alongside its business in the automotive sector, the Hirschvogel Group is also expanding its product portfolio to include sustainable micromobility. In 2022, a dedicated Business Unit was founded for this purpose. Currently, the first series product is rolling of the production line under the brand name AXIMO. According to Walter Bauer, CFO at Hirschvogel, this future market still lacks suitable vehicle components in many cases: “New mobility requires new vehicles, and new vehicles require new components. Our AXIMO team has developed a modular system of components and product systems that enables us to implement sustainable vehicle concepts in a cost-efficient way. In so doing, we want to contribute to the increasing market acceptance of small and light electric vehicles. We are particularly pleased that our first series product, the AXIMO drive axle, is going straight into a cargo bike from the renowned CUBE brand.” Further series ramp-ups are imminent, e.g., for an e-bike drive system.

The future demands sustainability. Hirschvogel is pursuing a holistic approach here and has anchored its sustainability efforts in its strategy. Decarbonization of production, which is being driven forward by clearly defined breakthrough targets, plays a central role here. “By 2023, we want to halve Group-wide emissions compared to 2019 – for instance, by switching from natural gas to electricity in our heat treatment processes for every new investment. One example is our CO2-neutral heat treatment facility for our new differential bevel gear production, which is powered by green electricity and has a heating capacity of 680 kW. In three-shift operation, this saves us up to 800 t of CO2 per year compared to a gas-fired facility,” says Dr. Dirk Landgrebe, COO at Hirschvogel.

Another important lever for reducing emissions lies in energy supply. The percentage of electricity generated from renewable energy sources is to be further increased throughout the Group. However, reliability and cost-effectiveness must be guaranteed. Depending on the location and in cooperation with regional operators, Hirschvogel is focusing primarily on photovoltaics. In addition, the topics of wind power, hydropower, and green hydrogen are also being pursued.

Transformation and decarbonization are not the only challenges facing the Group; the weakening of Europe as a business location is also a factor. Business development in 2023 has been positive so far but remains below expectations despite full order books. The continuing chip shortage among car manufacturers here is causing high volatility in call-offs for components in the e-mobility sector, while good figures are being reported in the combustion engine business – gasoline and diesel vehicles are still in demand on the market.

Due to volatile customer call-offs and subdued market forecasts, the company is currently taking a measured approach to new hires in Germany. “Nevertheless, we are clearly feeling the shortage of skilled workers,” says Annette Teusen-Eichin, Vice President Corporate Human Resources and Corporate Marketing & Communication. “We are countering this through our apprentice training concept and through extensive qualification and professional development opportunities. As a family-owned company, we want to transform together with our employees – a transformation, by the way, that includes not only the product world but also the working world. Globalization and digitalization are changing the ways we work and collaborate. This is not only reflected in our production operations, but also in the administrative areas, where we are currently introducing New Work.” Future orientation has many facets at Hirschvogel.


Fig. 1: The Management Board of Hirschvogel Holding GmbH (from left: Jörg Rückauf – CEO, Walter Bauer – CFO, and Dr. Dirk Landgrebe – COO) © Hirschvogel Holding

Fig. 2: The Management Board of Hirschvogel Holding GmbH (from left: Walter Bauer – CFO, Jörg Rückauf – CEO, and Dr. Dirk Landgrebe – COO) © Hirschvogel Holding

Fig. 3: Annette Teusen-Eichin, Vice President Corporate Human Resources and Corporate Marketing & Communication © Hirschvogel Holding

Fig. 4: At Hirschvogel Komponenten GmbH in Schongau, rotor shafts for e-mobility are produced in large series. © Hirschvogel Holding

Fig. 5: AXIMO pedelec wheel hub motor with a peak torque of 60 Nm © Hirschvogel E-Solutions

Fig. 6-11: The new company building at the Denklingen site offers a company restaurant, a health center, and offices based on the New Work concept. © Hirschvogel Holding

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