In The Fast Lane – Tiemeyer Gruppe

Milestone spoke to Tiemeyer Group’s CEO, Heinz-Dieter Tiemeyer about going green, driving success, and the future of the automobile industry.


The switch to electromobility will not only change your industry but also society. What do you expect from this paradigm shift?

We are experiencing a vital upheaval that has only just begun. In the coming years, the charging network and the associated infrastructure will become an increasingly involved part of our lives. Electromobility offers us many opportunities. For some time now, we have been preparing for customer needs in consulting and supply. As a company, we are realising our own “Green Mobility” concept; we are redesigning our locations, including the construction of photovoltaic systems and heat pumps. We are also dedicated to our tree-planting campaign and increasing awareness of important environmental issues.

Twenty years ago, you took over the company. What drives your success?

Thanks to my parents, automobiles have always been my passion and I enjoyed getting into the business. Over time, I realised that if you want to survive in the long-term, growth is necessary. Since the mid-nineties, it was foreseeable that globalisation would have an impact on local markets. Automotive manufacturers have pursued a clear strategy: to focus on large retail chains. Growth as a group in and around our own markets was the logical consequence. This has created synergies, which have contributed to further success. The experience of the last ten years has shown that we are steering an ever-larger ship, but we are still agile.

What role does the international market play for you?

The international market is becoming increasingly important and we want to expand here. Our market area is Europe. For example, we are already brokering vehicle fleets to France and Belgium in cooperation with local partners, but end customers from neighbouring countries are also welcome. Our business is becoming increasingly international. We are currently thinking about expanding into the Benelux countries.

Developments such as the 100% digital purchase initiation online without sales consultants or even new payment systems promote theseplans. Another current topic is the availability of goods. Never before has the networking of the “just-in-time” supply chains of world trade been so transparent. It’s all connected and we have to align our day-to-day business accordingly.

Are there still entrepreneurial goals you want to achieve?

The Tiemeyer Group is a growing family business. It is important to reconcile our philosophy of values as well as local presence and connection with the corporate structures. As in previous years, we will continue to pursue our growth strategy. We are already driving forward future-oriented projects, strategies, and new business areas and are confident that our long-term corporate strategy will enable us to continue as one of the largest automotive trading groups in Germany.

What is the future for the automobile?

The era of electrification has only just begun. The combustion engine is becoming less and less important. Currently, many customers are approaching electromobility via a hybrid vehicle. Nevertheless, the proportion of full-power generators is growing at an enormous rate. The decisive factor in the near future will be the progress of the expansion of the charging infrastructure. Ultimately, the customer decides, not only about the product but also with regard to who they buy the car from. I am therefore convinced that professional car dealers will continue to be indispensable in the future. The customer is looking for and wants fast digital solutions, whereby personal and good advice is extremely important, especially for private individual customers. The challenge is to perfectly harmonise the digital world with the personal consulting level that is important for the customer. Due to the increase in advice and information on electromobility, customer contact will remain an important factor.

How have you worked with your suppliers over the years to build stable partnerships?

We maintain trusting and intensive cooperation with the manufacturers of our Volkswagen brands, which we distribute. At the moment, for example, I’m pleased that SEAT has created a new attractive segment with the Cupra brand and has supported us during the introduction. In addition to the automobile manufacturers, with whom we are always in good contact, we work together with many other service companies that have been supporting us for years and have grown together with us. Good and open communication, fast decision-making processes, and flexibility – these are the qualities that we value in our business partners and that have made us great.

How has Covid-19 affected these relationships? What have you done to overcome these challenges?

Flexibility and speed are more important than ever. The situation of goods availability and delivery times had to be recorded on a daily basis and immediate measures had to be derived and implemented. A big advantage was that we have long been pushing digitalisation in all business areas, such as online sales. This has given us a competitive advantage, especially during the lockdown phases. Nevertheless, we also had to react at short notice. For example, we have consistently provided our customers with information and offers via digital channels, set up hotlines and offered additional services such as vehicle interior disinfection. We were also happy to show loyalty to our employees: everyone continued to be employed, even in the month of April, which was very critical. In order to relieve our workforce in the difficult situation, we distributed a total of three Corona premiums. In addition, we were always available for our customers, which was very important to us. We have therefore proven to be a reliable partner for our customers and employees.

Which business messages would you like to highlight?

For us, we have once again clearly focused on the claim of a lived corporate culture. Concrete goals that all employees can pursue in their own sphere of activity must be formulated precisely. In addition, in a company with strong growth, the existing structures must be questioned. Does our structure continue to fit the achieved company size? Where can we use even more synergies? Is there still potential for savings? One of the greatest added values is the exploitation of synergies, such as single centraliSation, which in turn favours further growth. In addition, the previously described strategic orientation “Green Mobility” and the advancement of electrification are the basis for us to achieve progress in the future. But the most important point of all is to meet the demands and wishes of our customers of today and tomorrow beyond their expectations.

Read and download the full article here.


About the Tiemeyer Group:

With over five million people, the Ruhr area is one of the largest conurbations in Europe. This is where the Tiemeyer Autohandels gruppe is headquartered. The company employs around 1,600 people at 27 locations. With a turnover of almost 800 million euros and 33,000 new and used vehicles of the Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda, Cupra brands sold last year, the company is one of the largest and most important car dealers in Germany.



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