Regional Development „par excellence“
As its mobile cranes advanced to become global market leaders, the Liebherr company needed to expand production capacity at its Ehingen site by adding a new assembly line. In March 1998, the company informed the local authorities of its intention to expand its site by 20 hectares.
For Ehingen the challenge lay in clearing the way for Liebherr’s plans, making rapid and transparent decisions and demonstrating an awareness of its responsibility for safeguarding local jobs – Liebherr employs 1,800 people at the site.
The authorities were also keen to set a precedent for the future, as failure to act with due speed would have driven Liebherr to move its activities abroad, with the loss of valuable workplaces in Ehingen. To facilitate matters, the regional authorities in Tübingen brought the decisionmakers together for round-table talks designed to avoid any duplication of effort. As a result, local and regional authorities approved final plans for the extension of the Liebherr site in record time demonstrating the competitive capabilities of the town as an industrial location against international and local competition, and Liebherr management were able to give the go-ahead for extension work to begin in December of the same year.
The main challenge then lay in assuring ecological compensation for the building measures, to avoid lasting consequences for the town’s environment and leisure value. Appropriate habitats are being created for the affected flora and fauna at a cost of some DM 2 million.
The example of the Liebherr extension illustrates how the political and administrative spheres can work together efficiently, pursuing far-sighted policies and reacting with flexibility to domestic and global developments.