Press Releases

VDA Managing Director Lindemann: Individual mobility generates social and economic benefit

Berlin, 10 June 2013

“A mobile society is essential to growth and employment, and thus to prosperity. This prosperity has to be safeguarded and expanded. The German automotive industry is making a contribution here because it has a major influence on the economic development and export strength of our country and is the number one motor driving innovation,” said Dr Kay Lindemann, Managing Director of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA). He was taking part in a discussion with the German motoring club ADAC on the topic of “Mobility, motor for employment – how does road traffic contribute to prosperity?” in Berlin. German manufacturers and suppliers make annual investments of around 22 billion euro in research and new technologies, which is more than other sectors of industry provide. A large proportion of these investments flows into the development of economical and alternative drive trains.

A key driver of innovation was the premium sector, the VDA Managing Director added. The share of the world market going to German premium brands is 80 per cent. Lindemann continued: “Our strength in the premium segment secures value-added and employment in Germany. Over 200,000 jobs depend on premium vehicles at our passenger car manufacturers alone.”

Today passenger cars account for around 80 per cent of passenger transportation. The Federal Transport Ministry forecasts a similar level for 2025. “In the coming decade, private cars will remain the first choice for people travelling in Germany. Individual mobility not only secures economic prosperity, but also ensures that people participate in society. The vehicles of the future will fulfil both of these functions using even less fuel and with even better CO2 levels,” Lindemann said. Today, he explained, the German automotive industry already had more than 600 models on offer with an average standard consumption of around 5.3 litres of fuel over 100 kilometres.

Lindemann added that it was up to politicians to make possible and to preserve individual mobility for all sections of society. “Driving a car must not become more expensive and thus turn into a privilege for only a few sectors of the population,” he said. For this reason we cannot allow the costs of building and maintaining roads, and the costs relating to congestion, accidents and the environment, to be passed on to the users to a greater degree than before. “So-called external road traffic costs must not be used as an excuse for making driving more expensive. Today motorists in Germany are already paying more than 50 billion euro in tax and levies every year. This means that the passenger car toll has already become an economic reality. Less than one third of this revenue – about 15 billion euro – flows back into the roads. The difference of around 35 billion euro would provide sufficient funding to cover other social costs of road traffic,” Lindemann stressed. For example, the Cologne Institute for Economic Research has calculated external costs of road traffic – including freight traffic – of 38 billion euro annually for Germany. “This means that road traffic already almost covers in full the costs it causes.”

Instead of imposing additional burdens on transport and individual mobility, measures should be implemented to reduce the negative effects on the economy in general, such as constructing noise protection barriers, low-noise road surfaces and needs-driven expansion and maintenance of the infrastructure.

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