Luxembourg's automotive sector is a prime example of how research-driven companies can use the Grand Duchy as a base in Europe. With estimates showing that between half and two-thirds of the value of a car is now designed and made by component companies, the responsibility for innovation in the industry is being outsourced by the manufacturers. Luxembourg has become a key location for first and second tier suppliers to the automotive industry and needs to be at the cutting edge of technological development. A central location and a multinational workforce means that Luxembourg-based companies are able to build close relationships with their clients, adapting products precisely to their individual needs. Luxembourg's stable economy with industrial action virtually unkown fits well with firms' “just-in-time” delivery requirements and the government is keen to back good R&D projects with both moral and financial help.
Around 9,000 people are employed in this sector by more than 30 companies which generate over €1.5bn turnover. Around one-fifth of activity is devoted to research and development. A shining example is Luxembourg’s IEE whose sensing products have almost become standard features in most cars sold around the world. Multinational tyre manufacturer Goodyear has one of its global research centres here, as does American firm Guardian Industries which develops and produces high-specification glass for the automotive and construction industries. Delphi Automotive has a Customer Technology Centre in the south of the country along with its Global Powertrain and European Thermal Division HQs. All have found Luxembourg's unique mix irresistible.