27 Oct 2016, 00:00
Sören Amelang Julian Wettengel

VW brand profits plunge / Call to extend nuclear fuel tax


Third-quarter operating profit at the VW brand plunged more than half to 363 million euros, underlinding the need for savings to finance the transition to electric cars, according to a Reuters report. The figure is well below analysts’ forecasts.  “The results reinforce the need for cost cuts at the VW brand,” Commerzbank analyst Sascha Gommel told the newswire. The entire group posted a higher-than-expected profit of 3.3 billion euros thanks to strong gains at Porsche, and said it expected annual revenue to match last year’s 213 billion euros.

Read the report in English here.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

VW’s future will be sealed in the coming weeks during negotiations between management and unions about a “future pact” to make the company fit for the pending mobility transformation, writes Carsten Germis in a commentary for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. VW’s core brand requires a radical overhaul and will have to produce more with less people to withstand new competitors, according to Germis. But the powerful unions will defend vested interests and only allow cuts where they don’t hurt anyone. “Even so, without radical change there might soon be nothing left to defend,” writes the author.

For background on the mobility challenges for the car industry, read the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers and the factsheet Dieselgate forces VW to embrace green mobility.

German Bundestag

The Green group in the federal parliament (Bundestag) calls for extending and raising the nuclear fuel tax beyond the end of this year, according to a parliamentary motion. “With the nuclear fuel tax, or nuclear fuel rod tax, we have a target-oriented and effective instrument to have the nuclear industry appropriately contribute to the social costs” of the nuclear clean-up, says the motion. The tax is payable by nuclear power station operators whenever they use new fuel elements in their reactors and is currently to run out at the end of this year.

Find the motion in German here.

For background, read the CLEW dossier The challenges of Germany’s nuclear phase-out.

manager magazin

It is increasingly clear that carmakers have become serious about electric mobility as the German car industry reinvents itself, writes Nils-Viktor Sorge in manager magazin.  Suppliers and employees focusing on combustion-engine technology face an existential crisis. The production of battery cells on a large scale could partly make up for the loss. But the car industry - with around 800,000 employees - shies away from a decision on whether to enter this costly business. If the entire German production of six million cars per year became electric, the production of the required batteries could secure around 75,000 jobs, estimates Sorge, with reference to other large-scale battery factories.

Read the article in German here.

Ernst & Young

Germany remains in fifth place in business consultancy Ernst & Young’s (EY) renewable energy country attractiveness index (RECAI). EY ranks 40 countries on their attractiveness for renewables investment and deployment opportunities, based on energy market and technology indicators. USA, China, India, and Chile continue to top the list, unchanged from the May issue.

Find the index in English here.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Federal economy minister Sigmar Gabriel calls on the European Commission to publish a legislative catalogue regarding the “central challenges” of the EU’s energy policy this autumn, writes Andreas Mihm in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ). In a letter to Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, Gabriel demands a “comprehensive, reliable, clear and transparent framework for investments and innovation” in the near future. “We cannot afford to postpone difficult decisions,” writes Gabriel. He calls for more influence by the Council of the EU, as well as the European Parliament, according to Mihm. The EU Commission had issued its Energy Union communication in February 2015 and is expected to publish more proposals with a “winter package” in December.

For background read the CLEW dossier Germany's energy transition in the European context.


The federal economy ministry has proposed merging existing energy legislation in the heating and building sector into one “Building Energy Law”, writes Reinhart Bünger in Der Tagesspiegel. One of the main goals is to change the way energy efficiency in buildings is assessed, according to a BMWi concept, seen by Tagesspiegel. The efficiency should not only be based on energy consumption, but also on how the energy was generated and transported. A reform is necessary because of the grand coalition agreement for this legislative period and requirements from the EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, writes Tagesspiegel. A legislative draft does not yet exist.

Read the article in German here.

Read the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and Efficiency for background.

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