FACTS publishes opinions with a wide range of perspectives to encourage constructive discussions.
The automotive industry is at a crossroads – the industry needs a radical change. Also in Germany – if he wants to survive and remain among the first in the world. But what exactly is change?
"These are very difficult times for the industry – it has to invest billions in new technologies that initially will not win, and at the same time, almost all major markets are shrinking – especially in China," said Markus Beret of Ronald Berger.
620 thousand fewer jobs
But is the future of the automotive industry in electromobility? Experts say that even if manufacturers can bring mass electric vehicles to market, this will cost many job losses. The reason is very simple: the production of electric vehicles is considerably simpler than the conventional car with an internal combustion engine. The electric motor does not need as many items as expensive as the internal combustion engine. In this regard, the head of Volkswagen, Herbert Dys, expects this to lead to a labor intensity of 30 percent lower. A study by the Ifo Institute concludes that the internal gas bans in 2030 in Germany will result in the closure of 620,000 jobs.
There is another trend: in the future, many people will stop buying their own cars, but will use car-sharing services or stand-alone cars. This will significantly reduce the number of vehicles. A study from the Technical University of Munich shows that the massive shift to autonomous cars to share, the number of vehicles will fall by up to 90 percent.
The world's largest automaker, Volkswagen, still suffers from the effects of Dieselgate. However, he has very ambitious plans for the future: by 2025, 1/4 of all cars sold to the company must be electric or hybrid. To that end, 44 billion euros will be invested in the electromobility sector by 2023. The standardized platform, called MEV, developed in a joint venture, will also be available from other manufacturers. The German company is currently negotiating with American Ford to jointly use the MEV platform. Both concerns want to produce minibuses and pickups together.
According to Markus Beret, the new strategy of the German auto industry to cooperate with other manufacturers is the right way. "Even the largest in the industry can not afford the necessary investments, it does not make sense that 10 or 15 companies reopen the chassis or the engine," he says.
Volkswagen has made new alliances in the field of scanning, for example with Amazon and Microsoft. In this way, the concern wants to mobilize all available resources and increase the productivity of electric vehicles. In terms of these billion dollar investments, however, Volkswagen will not be able to escape without the economy and the job cuts: five to seven thousand jobs are expected to be closed in the next five years. By automating routine production processes, saving materials and limiting the palette of models, cost optimization needs to be considerably optimized from 2023 – an estimated saving of 5.9 billion euros per year.
What do others do?
BMW loses ground under your feet. Munich concern has announced that this year's profits have fallen. The concern is to try to further reduce its costs so that it can invest in electromobility and autonomous mobility. "The transformation of our industry is in full swing," said Bulgarian National Bank chief of staff Nicholas Peter. The company is developing a new austerity program that also includes job cuts. The program is expected to save at least 12 billion euros by 2022. The company, however, is determined to implement the austerity program to understand the closure of jobs at the lowest possible social cost: so far, 1,500 company employees have accepted the proposed early retirement.
And another development deserves attention: no one imagined that the two big competitors, Daimler and BMW, could cooperate in some areas of production. A few weeks ago, the two companies announced the merger of their car-sharing service. And by the end of February, we know they will also join forces in the sphere of the autonomous movement. BMW is currently testing the world with 70 stand-alone vehicles, including BMW. in Munich.
In development, the concern cooperates with Intel, FiatChrysler, Continental and Magna. Daimler works with Bosch in Silicon Valley and wants to launch standalone cars without a steering wheel and an accelerator. Daimler and BMW are also working to expand their cooperation in other areas.
The policy does not do enough
Automobile expert Stefan Bratzel argues that, in addition to the drastic measures taken by companies, policy intervention is also required not to fall into the German automotive industry. "Policy should create the framework conditions for future manufacturers of industry feasibility, control and sanction, and in practice this means introducing rigid exhaust prescriptions and protecting the environment rather than promoting certain technologies such as electromobility.
Long-term decarbonisation of road transport is also an indispensable goal for vehicle manufacturers. It is sensible, in this regard, to introduce a zero carbon emission quota system. At the same time, the promotion of new concepts of intermodal mobility is also forward-looking. These concepts are not limited to Carsharing or Carpooling, but also include the introduction of taxi robots in cities. "In this respect, German politics can put serious accents and especially in cities with polluted air and permanent congestion," adds Bratzel.