25 Jul 2017, 00:00
Benjamin Wehrmann Julian Wettengel

'End of car industry as we know it'/ EU criticises US sanction plans

Handelsblatt Online

If the allegations over a cartel formed by Germany’s five largest carmakers “are just to the slightest extent true, it’s the end of the car industry as we know it”, Markus Fasse writes in a commentary for Handelsblatt Online. Billions in fines, civil actions and the looming end of the diesel engine as a “cash cow” add up to a predicament for the entire industry, Fasse says. “At the same time, they have to invest billions in the development of e-cars and artificial intelligence to prepare for new competitors”, which have only waited for the mighty German carmakers to make a mistake, he argues. “Humbleness and the true will to change are the only things that can help the industry now,” Fasse says.

Read the commentary in German here (behind paywall).

See this CLEW article for Reactions to the allegations over a German carmaker cartel.

Focus Online

German car customers are losing interest in diesel engines as the evolving emissions scandal and looming driving bans in many German cities take their toll on the once dominant technology, Focus Online reports. Diesel registrations fell by 9.1 percent in the first half of 2017, the Focus article says, based on figures by the Federal Office for Motor Traffic (KBA). Registrations of cars with petrol engines grew by 11.7 percent compared to the same period last year. Registrations of cars with alternative engines grew even more, reaching triple-digit rates, the article says. “In the long run, nobody doubts that the days of the diesel and ultimately also the petrol engine are numbered,” the article says, adding that “this process will still take several decades”.

Read the article in German here.

Süddeutsche Zeitung

German carmaker Daimler was the first of the five major companies accused of forming a cartel to voluntarily disclose their activities to the authorities - anticipating a similar move by competitor and alleged accomplice VW, Thomas Fromm, Georg Mascolo and Klaus Ott write in Süddeutsche Zeitung. The self-indictment might help Daimler to avoid sanctions, should the EU Commission decide to impose a fine for illicit agreements made on suppliers, prices and technology, the article says. VW could only hope to get 50 percent off a possible fine if its own voluntary disclosure provided “evidence with substantial added value”, the authors write.

Read the article in German here.

See this CLEW article for Reactions to the allegations over a German carmaker cartel.

Welt Online

Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW and automotive industry supplier Continental contribute over 40 percent to the total revenue and one third to the profits of Germany’s stock index DAX, which comprises the country’s 30 largest market-listed companies, Daniel Eckert writes on Welt Online. “Anyone holding a Germany-equity fund” or an index-based pension fund “can almost be sure to be indirectly linked with one or more” of the car industry heavyweights, he says. The allegations over a possible cartel formed by VW, Daimler, BMW, Audi and Porsche “might cost the carmakers up to 19 billion euros, experts say”, Eckert writes. The carmakers themselves were “too big to fail” for Germany, asset manager Frank Wieser says. But this did not hold true for thousands of investors and smaller suppliers, he adds.

Read the article in German here.

See this CLEW article for Reactions to the allegations over a German carmaker cartel.

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is concerned about energy-related measures in the sanction proposals by the US against Russia, reports Ryan Heath for Politico. Juncker believes they could be used unfairly against European energy companies, according to an internal note. “The biggest affected interest [of the EU] would be the mooted Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, itself a source of political controversy in the EU,” writes Heath.

Read the article in English here.

For background, see the News Digest entries Germany and Austria say US sanction plans against Russia threaten Europe’s energy security and Merkel calls US gas sanctions against Russia “irregular behaviour”, and the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and its implications for international security.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

The sanction proposals directed at Russia, which the US House of Representatives will vote on on Tuesday, endanger the German-Russian gas pipeline project Nord Stream 2, writes Winand von Petersdorff in an opinion piece in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “Seldom have American lawmakers articulated so clearly that national commercial interests are more important to them than a fruitful cooperation with the European Union,” writes von Petersdorff. “The United States have no say when it comes to the European energy supply security. They should mind their own business.”

Read the opinion piece in German here.

For background, see the News Digest entries Germany and Austria say US sanction plans against Russia threaten Europe’s energy security and Merkel calls US gas sanctions against Russia “irregular behaviour”.


German Karlsruhe Institute of Technology's (KIT) spin-off company INERATEC has developed a compact power-to-liquid plant’s chemical reactor that converts hydrogen produced from solar power together with carbon dioxide into liquid fuels, writes KIT in a press release. The Finnish SOLETAIR pilot plant, tested over the summer, fits into a ship container and produces gasoline, diesel, and kerosene from regenerative hydrogen and carbon dioxide.

Find the KIT press release in English here and a SOLETAIR press release from June in English here.

For background, read the CLEW factsheet Technologies of Energiewende.


The G20 summits will continue to play an important role for climate protection, because “without the pressure on the political level, implementing and monitoring climate targets would hardly be possible in some countries”, write Susanne Dröge and Felix Schenuit from German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) in a guest article for EurActiv. Germany should work closely with Argentina, the coming G20 president, to ensure that climate policy remains high on the agenda. Saudi Arabia will preside over the G20 in 2020, while the US holds the presidency of the G7. “From today’s point of view, this pairing is not good news for climate diplomacy,” write Dröge and Schenuit.

Read the article in German here.

For background, read the CLEW articles Merkel wins respect for G20 climate result at "B-"-summit and Germany faces balancing act in climate leadership role.

dpa / Handelsblatt

The German government’s decision to determine support payments for bioenergy plants by auctions has almost amounted to “a slam on the brakes” for their operators, news agency dpa reports in an article carried by Handelsblatt Online. Horst Seide, head of the German Biogas Association, says operators needed “a combination of different revenue sources” to make ends meet, meaning they also have to use the heat produced by their plants or convert biogas to fuel.

Read the article in German here.

For background information, see the CLEW dossier Bioenergy in Germany.

All texts created by the Clean Energy Wire are available under a “Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY 4.0)” . They can be copied, shared and made publicly accessible by users so long as they give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made.
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