IAA: Angela Merkel sees automotive industry facing big tasks
The Chancellor's performance at the IAA trade fair was accompanied by protests. The critical speech of another politician was canceled.
Angela Merkel seeks a solidarity with the German automotive industry. The industry must remain leading and strong in global competition, said the Chancellor at the opening of the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt. "That must be our common goal." State and industry would have to cooperate very closely, as the industry has a big task ahead of it with the switch to climate-friendly drives.
The CDU politician did not directly respond to the protest of climate protection activists against cars with diesel and gasoline engines, but said: "Today, the automotive industry is a very important industry for the economic success of our country." It gives employment and security to hundreds of thousands of people.
During the Chancellor's tour of the exhibition, activists of the environmental organization Greenpeace literally climbed onto the roof of the car companies Volkswagen and BMW: they climbed onto roofs of flared cars with combustion engines and held up signs with the inscription "Klimakiller" as a burning car. "Please shut down diesel and gasoline when you make the climate package," one activist shouted.
One of the events is the climate protection plan of the Federal Government expected on 20 September. Environmental protection groups have called for Saturday's slogan to get off to a large-scale demonstration to pressure for an immediate stop on carbon-dioxide emitting cars. The group "Sand in gear" plans for Sunday to block the entrance to the IAA with hundreds of participants, but wants to remain peaceful.
Still #SUVs and diesel and gasoline cars are massively advertised. And that despite climate crisis. Climate killers have no future! #delete # iaa19 pic.twitter.com/zEZvwSOHaY- Greenpeace eV (@greenpeace_de) September 12, 2019
Two years ago, Merkel had used the opening of the car show to speak to the corporations in the conscience. At that time, the exhaust gas manipulation had just become known. Now she just noted that the discussion about inappropriate defeat devices "has led to a loss of confidence in the midst of a huge shift." She showed understanding that automakers have a "Herculean task" ahead of them by cutting CO2 emissions by 40% by 2030. The federal government wants to accompany the change politically, for example by helping the state even more in the construction of the charging infrastructure for electric cars. What is needed is a standard for autonomous driving and the handling of drivers' data.
Bernhard Mattes, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), called for the emissions limits adopted last year in the European Union not to be tightened. First, there should be sufficient charging infrastructure for electric cars. "Let us work off and achieve what has been agreed." The industry is committed to the Paris climate protection goals, he said. "Individual mobility and climate protection are not a contradiction."
More emissions worldwide than Germany
The German companies show at the IAA, the first production vehicles of a new generation of electric cars with a longer range - such as Volkswagen the ID.3, Daimler the Mercedes EQC or Opel the electric Corsa. Greenpeace criticized that only a quarter of the newly introduced cars at the IAA are pure electric cars. The cars produced by the three German car companies VW, Daimler and BMW worldwide alone would have caused more CO2 than Germany would emit in one year.
In disputes and podium discussions, the industry tries to convince its critics that its plans for many new electric cars are already on the way to climate-friendly mobility in the coming years. However, this also means that the electricity for cars will come from renewable energy sources in the future. Merkel said it was questionable whether the goal of 65 percent green electricity by 2030 in view of the slow line construction and the resistance of the population against wind energy to create and even sufficient.
Speech published on Facebook
The IAA suffers this year in addition to the protests exhibitor fading: The number of participating companies fell by a quarter to 800. Some large manufacturers such as Toyota or Fiat did not come. The organizer VDA, to which the automobile manufacturers and suppliers in Germany belong, wants to rethink the concept of the fair.
There is also another conflict: the mayor of Frankfurt am Main, Peter Feldmann (SPD), did not speak at the opening. Feldmann's office manager Nils Bremer of the Frankfurter Rundschau and the Hessischer Rundfunk said that the VDA had changed the protocol and no longer provided Feldmann as a speaker. Feldmann wanted to deal critically with the automotive industry in the speech. "Frankfurt needs more buses and trains, but not more SUVs," was therefore one of his demands in the manuscript, which he published on Facebook. In addition, the Lord Mayor wanted to thank the demonstrators against the IAA.