Sun. Apr 5th, 2020

European leadership in the automotive sector faces the perfect storm

European leadership in the automotive sector faces the perfect storm


Correspondent in BerlinUpdated:

"This is going to happen, I can not say one hundred percent, but I can say 50%," predicts the executive director of Volkswagen, Herbert Diess, who continues that "the German automotive industry can not only lose its leadership in the world market due to too strict political positions, but in ten years it may not be among the ten best in the world". This was said this week at an event in Wolfsburg also attended by political leaders in the region who warned that "and we already know what happens in old bastions like Detroit, Oxford-Cowley or Turin when companies once leaders fall." He calculates that only his company and only in Germany will have to cut 100,000 jobs.

As if it were not enough with the diesel scandal and the new tariffs of the era Trump, Diess now focuses on the threat of "regulators hitherto unknown to us who legislate against individual mobility or who are in a hurry to force us to adopt technologies that still do not exist". "It is not about stoking unfounded fears, but about realistically seeing the task that is imposed on this sector," he said in an unusually harsh tone. "I am talking about almost hysterical discussions about emissions in the center of cities and about prohibitions that I hope will dissolve by themselves in the next years»He asserted.

Doubtful balance

Diess reasoned about the established political deadlines and calculated that the new EU guidelines to reduce CO2 emissions by 30% by 2030 they assume that only a third of pure electric cars will be able to circulate. «That would not serve to improve the environmental balance, I do not see how Germany could obtain its primary energy up to 2030 without CO2. Germany feeds on coal and if the pressure on gasoline and diesel increases we will indirectly increase emissions, "he said.

The problem is not confined to Germany alone and affects all of Europe. The number of cars registered in the EU was already significantly reduced in September and the culprit, according to the sector, is the WLTP, from English Worldwide Harmonized Light-Duty Vehicles Test Procedures, (Globally Harmonized Procedures for Testing Light Vehicles), an international body that establishes the new universal standards and procedures to determine the levels of pollutants and CO2 emissions, fuel consumption and autonomy of electric vehicles. In the month in which the application of the WLTP, the decline in new car registrations has fallen by 23.5% to 1.09 million units, according to the Acea Association. And it is expected that October is not a better month. "Everything is put together, there are models that are not certified for the new test standard and therefore not available for the market, and it happens at the same time that the diesel and gasoline engines suffer almost harassment by the administrations", complain from Renault, which lost 27% of sales in September. In Fiat, the decrease is 32%.

"The blow is even stronger than that of diesel," admit sources at Volkswagen, a group that registered a 48% drop in new registrations last month. Volkswagen, as a brand, loses 52% of sales. BMW 8.6%, Daimler 11.8% and Opel 11.2%. The part of this disaster attributable exclusively to diesel is easy to calculate. Records of new registrations of diesel cars fell by 40% in the five largest European markets: Germany, United Kingdom, France, Italy and Spain, more than the general market, which contracted 22% on average in those countries. The scandal has spread to Opel, the only brand that was saved so far in Germany, with records at its headquarters in Rüsselsheim and Audi has agreed, according to an agreement with the prosecutors of Munich, to pay 800 million and end the court case.

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