Volkswagen CEO says German carmakers have only 50% chance of staying ahead

Germany’s carmakers only have a 50 per cent chance of surviving as leading players in the auto industry unless they transform to meet new regulations and adapt their supply chains, Volkswagen Chief Executive Herbert Diess said on Tuesday.

The need to produce batteries and electric cars, rather than combustion engines, and the emergence of new geopolitical threats, is forcing automakers to accelerate deep-seated reforms which pose an existential threat to some players, he said.

“From today’s point of view the chances are perhaps 50-50 that the German auto industry will still belong among the global elite in 10 years’ time,” he said.

The push to cut carbon dioxide pollution and nitrogen oxide emissions now amounts to a campaign against individual mobility and against cars, Diess said.

“We are all used to the fact that we have flourishing industrial metropolises around the central manufacturing plants of German carmakers and their suppliers, places where people like to live and work, but that’s not guaranteed for eternity,” Diess told a conference in Wolfsburg.

“If you look at the former bastions of the auto industry like Detroit, Oxford-Cowley or Turin, you understand what happens to cities when once powerful corporations and leading industries falter,” he added.


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