Fit for the future

16. February 2024

Pierburg’s Ústí nad Labem site in Czechia is dedicated to the automotive industry. The future is set to bring some challenges for the supplier – challenges that it is addressing through technical expertise and an exemplary corporate culture.

Pierburg s.r.o. Ústí

An automotive specialist in the heart of Europe: Pierburg s.r.o. was established in Ústí nad Labem in the Czech Republic in April 2004. The company forms part of Rheinmetall AG’s “Power Systems” division.

Business Areas

Pierburg s.r.o.’s products are mainly intended for sub-systems used in emission reduction and air supply management, including actuators, control units, exhaust gas recirculation systems, secondary pumps and exhaust dampers. The company is also increasingly focusing on components for electric vehicles.




Dr Andreas Müller und Sascha Günther

Ústí nad Labem, around 60 kilometres from Dresden, is home to the Eastern European branch of Pierburg s.r.o. For the past 20 years, the site in Czechia has mainly produced exhaust, control and recirculation systems for cars and trucks. The spotlessly clean halls contain 21 assembly lines turning out up to 160 different products. Customers include car manufacturers like Renault, Mazda and Volkswagen. The site currently generates nine-digit annual sales. Around 135 of the plant’s 286 employees are assembly workers.

The fact that the company is stable and healthy is not something that can be taken for granted, especially given the difficult situation affecting the entire industry at present. Like its competitors, Pierburg in Ústí has faced challenges like the diesel crisis, the coronavirus pandemic and supply bottlenecks for electronic components. “But we have overcome all of them,” says Sascha Günther, Managing Director and head of the Pierburg plant in Ústí.

Ready for Change

For many years, the aforementioned challenges in the mobility industry have been accompanied by an elephant in the room: the future of the combustion engine. Pierburg has been actively diversifying its portfolio for some time now so that it is no longer wholly dependent on combustion engines. “Rheinmetall is a very strong parent group that backs us and provides us with the necessary financial means to embrace this technological change,” explains Sascha Günther. “Four years from now, we intend to generate around forty percent of our sales from components for electric vehicles and a further quarter from truck applications.”

Starting from 2026, Pierburg’s Ústí plant will manufacture a high-voltage protection device for electric vehicles developed in conjunction with BMW. In simple terms, the device cuts off the power supply to the electric car in the event of a crash, making salvage work significantly easier. But even with all the hype surrounding electric mobility, the head of the site does not expect electric cars to fully take over the automotive market any time soon. “Trucks will continue to use combustion engines or alternative drive systems like hydrogen for a long time to come.”

Company Culture Guarantees Success

Sascha Günther’s optimism for the future is based on more than just the economic outlook. “Our corporate culture and the quality of our workforce at the site are one of the most import­ant factors in our success.” Employees form the basis for every successful company, and this maxim has been taken to heart in Ústí. With Czechia currently having the lowest unemployment rate in the European Union at 2.8 percent, the management team has had to come up with some innovative ideas for attracting good employees.

“We encourage our employees’ creativity and invest in their personal development. We also give employees the leeway to use their abilities as effectively as possible for the company’s bene­fit in line with the Rheinmetall values of trust, respect and openness,” says Sascha Günther. The workplace atmosphere and the corporate culture are aspects about which the 51-year-old Koblenz native clearly feels strongly – and he is proud that the company has embraced them like it has. “We pursue a culture of togetherness and team spirit. And our employees give us back a great deal in return – a fact that is also reflected in our EFQM results.” Those results speak for themselves: In November 2023, Pierburg s.r.o. Ústí took second place in the Czech National Quality Award for EFQM.

Holistic Qualitiy Management

The EFQM quality management system (see box) has been applied at Pierburg s.r.o. in Ústí since 2015. It enables a holistic approach to quality management. By evaluating factors such as leadership, processes and results, EFQM identifies the strengths and weakness of a company’s organisation as a means of enabling targeted improvements. “Permanent improvement is the core principle behind EFQM,” explains Sascha Günther. In 2020, the business studies graduate actually trained as an EFQM assessor himself, and he evaluates other companies in this role.

It goes without saying that a well-run company benefits customers as well as employees. Sascha Günther sees Pierburg not only as a supplier, but as a partner to the automotive industry. This good cooperation is another important factor in the company’s success. With this in mind, Sascha Günther is confident that “Pierburg will remain a relevant partner to the automotive industry in the future.” With a focus on change and driving innovation, Ústí is ready for what­ever the future may bring.


The “European Foundation for Quality Management” (EFQM) is one of the most established approaches for measuring company performance. The model is based on three pillars:
Direction of the company in terms of its purpose, vision, strategy, organisational culture and leadership.
Execution of improvements in line with certain criteria, including management, policy and strategy, employees, processes, partnerships and resources.

Results: The maximum score a company can achieve is 1,000 points. A score of over 500 is considered to be very good. In 2019, Pierburg s.r.o. in Ústí was awarded five stars for excellence with a score of 538 points, placing it fourth in the Czech National Quality Award. In 2023, the company took second place. The target for 2024 is 600 points – and a push for first place.

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