The 2010 "Weltfaktor Normung" Gala

Over 300 guests attended the gala event "Weltfaktor Normung" (Standardization: A global factor) on 18 November 2010 in the Eugen-Gutmann-Haus on Berlin's Pariser Platz.

The evening's guest speaker was Matthias Wissmann, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA). Following the opening speech by DIN President Prof. Dr. Klaus Homann, Prof. Dr. Dieter Ameling was ceremoniously welcomed to the Waldemar-Hellmich-Kreis, the honorary Senate of DIN. Prof. Ameling was President of the German Steel Federation and Chairman of the German Steel Institute (VDEh) until 2008. During the subsequent awards ceremony laudatory speeches were held by DIN Director Dr. Torsten Bahke and Heinz Gaub, member of the DIN Management Board.

The VDA President began his lively, much applauded speech by outlining the long-standing cooperation between DIN and the German automobile industry. A precursor to today's automotive standards committee in DIN, NAAutomobil, was founded as early as 1925. At that time standardization was just as much a pioneering success factor for the introduction of the automobile as it is today for the rapid, efficient introduction of new technologies, emphasized Wissmann.

In his overview of the current economic situation as regards future mobility, Wissmann identified strong export demand as being the main cause of the significant upswing in the German automobile sector. The presence of the latter in important growth markets is one of the major factors for the success of German companies, and almost every fifth car produced worldwide is a German model. Wissmann said that the economic crisis was effectively overcome thanks to the extraordinarily well-functioning cooperation between industry and government.

Wissmann discussed new drive technologies, stressing the fact that the long path "away from oil" will not be based on a single technology, but on a number of approaches. The automobile industry is therefore following a three-fold strategy involving saving, supplementing and substituting.

For the German economy and workforce it is important that there are comparable conditions of competition. Governments in Europe, the US and Asia are contributing heavily towards the creation of a market for electric vehicles. Germany's success will depend on whether its government is prepared to face the challenges these new technologies will bring for development, production, the market and the infrastructure. Wissmann emphasized that "we are not calling for subventions, but we need a level playing field, at least in Europe".

Shaping the future of mobility is also presenting standardization with major challenges. Being a globally active industry, the automotive sector has a great interest in globally valid standards, because unilateral or regional actions often lead to increased cost and effort. Standardization must nevertheless be carried out with a sense of proportion, said Wissmann; especially in the case of electromobility, it is not about developing many standards, but the right ones.