Merkel to hold talks with crisis-hit auto sector

Chancellor Angela Merkel will discuss the future of Germany's key automotive sector with industry representatives on Tuesday, at a time of crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The video conference is scheduled to take place from 7-9 pm (1700-1900 GMT), dpa reported.


Merkel has been holding regular talks with carmakers since late 2019 as part of her government's focus on the development of digital technologies that allow automated and connected driving. But those political ambitions for sustainable and high-tech car manufacturing have come up against a harsh economic reality for the sector, which was dealt a severe blow by lockdown measures earlier this year. Demand has also plunged during the pandemic.

Top German carmakers Volkswagen and Daimler suffered severe losses in the second quarter, when the brunt of the restrictions hit the German economy, while smaller parts suppliers have been left fighting for survival.

Prior to Merkel's meeting with industry representatives, there were calls for greater government support for the auto sector, a key driver in Europe's largest economy.

Trade union giant IG Metall joined forces with the Greens and the Social Democrats (SPD) to call for a state investment fund to keep small- and medium-sized companies in the industry afloat.

In June, carmakers failed to persuade the government to include state-funded subsidies for the purchase of new vehicles in a coronavirus aid package, following pushback from the SPD and outcry from environmentalists.


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