IG Metall and VDA symposium at 66th IAA Cars
“Employee representatives and companies are united by a key common interest: the success of the automotive industry and maintaining value creation along with secure, quality jobs in Germany and Europe. Politicians in Brussels and Berlin must create a stable framework for this,” stressed Detlef Wetzel, President of the German trade union IG Metall, and Matthias Wissmann, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA). They were speaking to a large high-caliber audience from business and trade unions at a joint IAA symposium in Frankfurt on Monday.
Wetzel and Wissmann also emphasized, “The industry and IG Metall are agreed that Germany can be the leading provider of electric cars and an important market for them. Politicians, businesses and the unions have formulated the goal of making Germany the leading market for electric mobility. By 2020 there should be one million electric cars on Germany’s roads – that is the will of the policy-makers. Furthermore, 30,000 additional jobs should be created that are associated with electric mobility. If the politicians are serious about seizing the opportunity of becoming the ‘leading market,’ they must take rapid and decisive action to put the necessary framework in place, otherwise the project will fail.”
Wissmann and Wetzel stated that the companies with their employees had made good progress on the other major goal – that of becoming the leading provider of electric cars – and added, “At the IAA the German manufacturers are presenting 22 electric car models that are currently available. By the end of the year there will be 29. The German industry has invested more than 17 billion euros in developing them. To expand the strong position as leading provider, these investments for the future will have to be given a more permanent basis. Public funding could provide leverage here.”
“At this time the most important thing is to give strong incentives to get electric cars onto the roads,” IG Metall President Wetzel underscored. He explained it was necessary to provide items such as tax benefits supporting the market ramp-up. At the same time, the charging infrastructure had to grow. “We are therefore calling for an immediate program to set up 10,000 charging pillars – the state and private enterprise should each invest 50 million euros. The public procurement initiatives can also give the market a great boost. The Government should set a good example,” Wetzel said.
In addition, VDA President Wissmann spoke about new challenges facing the automotive industry: “We are not resting on our laurels, but instead are seizing the opportunities presented by connectivity and digitization. The policy-makers, especially the Europeans, should contribute. It makes sense to draw up effective and expedient rules, for connectivity and for the digital infrastructure, in the European context. During the coming years we may expect changes both in technology and in business models. Treading new paths will be inevitable if we are to hold on to our top position in the automotive industry. And here one resource in particular is crucial – the employees in our companies.”