Economy, Auto

Merkel Tells German Carmakers to Regain Trust

German Chancellor Angela MerkelGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for action to be taken to repair the reputation of the country’s car industry.

Scandal and crisis have marred the auto sector since Volkswagen admitted to cheating US diesel emissions tests two years ago, Euronews reported.

Merkel made the statement in front of top car executives as she officially opened the Frankfurt Motor Show, where this year’s focus is on phasing out diesel cars in favor of electric or hybrid models.

In German known as the Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung, the show is the world’s largest automotive exhibition. Started on September 16, the show rounded up on Sunday.

With a week to go until a general election, the ‘dieselgate’ emissions cheating scandal has emerged as a top campaign issue and cast a shadow over the glitzy motor show.

Once nicknamed the “car chancellor” for her cozy relations to the industry, Merkel’s tone has shifted in recent weeks to include more robust attacks on auto company bosses.

“Auto industry firms excessively exploited regulatory loopholes, they haven’t only damaged themselves, but above all deceived and disappointed consumers and the authorities,” she said in stern remarks at the events opening ceremony.

But Merkel, who is on track to win a fourth term, was also careful not to alienate the car sector, highlighting its role as a “key industry” that employs some 870,000 people nationwide and is an important engine of growth for Germany and Europe.

“The auto industry must do its utmost to win back credibility and trust as soon as possible, in their own interest and in the interests of their employees and of Germany as a whole,” she said.

Her knuckle-rapping speech at the biennial IAA comes as pollution-plagued German cities mull diesel bans and voters worry about the resale value of their cars, while Merkel has herself faced criticism for going too easy on the sector in the past.

In the meantime, VW, BMW, Daimler, Audi and Porsche have all come under investigation for alleged anti-competitive collusion.


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