The German auto industry not only had an easier socio-political position, it started with the Munich International Motor Show. The IAA was once the glamorous high mass of a famous industry, now the question of what kind of events the city should prepare for is under discussion. Constructive and dialogue? Or escalation and violence? Manufacturer’s marketing strategists have argued for decades that cars should trigger emotions. But immediately so emotional?
This is not about stationing medium-range nuclear missiles on Munich’s Odeonsplatz. This is the topic of mobility.
However, the feud at the IAA shows once again that the industry’s image has been badly damaged since the VW diesel scandal at the latest. In addition to the industry’s poor image, there is now the historic reorganization of the entire system, moving away from fossil fuels towards more sustainable mobility. The corporate realignment is devouring billions, as Chinese automakers like BYD, Geely and Brilliance have long been poised to lead VWs and Daimlers in parade around the world.
This is one of the reasons why the industry has always been able to count on the generous help of politicians in recent years. With scrapping bounties against the financial crisis, with billions against the consequences of the corona pandemic and for the sale of more environmentally friendly cars, and finally with a “future fund” of several billion for more. electromobility and digitization in 2025. The structural change and the associated image campaigns will of course be complete, always subsidized by the State.
It is obvious that the industry must completely change and drastically reduce its emissions of carbon dioxide (CO₂) harmful for the climate in cities and on highways. It is about the future of the planet. The only question is: why do we have to fund what is needed with billions of taxpayer dollars? According to calculations by consulting firm EY, the world’s 16 largest automakers achieved operating profits totaling 71.5 billion euros between January and the end of June of this year – a record figure. Just one year after the Great Corona Depression, automakers are more profitable than they were before the pandemic.
German manufacturers have won particularly well
The Germans made a particularly large sum of money – BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen alone made more than 30 billion euros in profit. Crisis? You’re kidding, you’re serious when you say that. Record numbers, rising forecasts, bright prospects. This is because many have already wiped out their factories with massive austerity programs. But also with the fact that more money can be made with bigger sedans and SUVs. In any case, companies do not currently require care. So why this very generous political support?
The case of the American electric car maker Tesla, which is not only building its electric car plant in Europe in Grünheide near Berlin, but also wants to start manufacturing battery cells on a large scale there, is also worth mentioning. An important signal for Europe, for Berlin as a location and the job market there – and a major strategic announcement: battery cells don’t have to be imported from China or South Korea, they can also to be very well made here and in this way to maintain their independence.
However, the case is not in vain: According to reports, the Californian automaker is expected to receive state subsidies of around 1.1 billion euros under a European battery cell program. A billion euros would be a lot of money. It’s not surprising ; Tesla boss Elon Musk is seen as a savvy negotiator and tactician – and a representative of a world in which everything comes at a price. However: The multi-billionaire is one of the richest people in the world, his company recently had a market value of over $ 730 billion. Do Tesla and his boss really need 1.1 billion euros to build battery cells in Grünheide?
There are certainly industries that could very well use the funding in these times. But the auto industry is not one of them at the moment.