Summit ends without new car awards

Ban or save gasoline cars? Politicians are on their toes – and could get involved in companies themselves.

Activists protest in front of the car summit.

FThe capital is getting tight for cars with internal combustion engines: in winter, the red-red-green Berlin state government declared a climate emergency. Now the Green Transport Senator Regine Günther wants to create a “zero emission zone”: Cars with internal combustion engines will soon no longer be allowed to drive into the city center.

The Berlin coalition partners are arguing about what “soon” means, and a decision was postponed on Tuesday. In any case, pedestrians, cyclists, bus and train users should have it better than car drivers. Therefore, a city toll for cars of 5 to 8 euros is being considered.

Not only the Berlin state politicians are fighting for the climate and clean air, the topic is also high on the agenda in the European Union. It cannot be ruled out that the EU Commission will tighten the CO2 fleet limits for 2030 once again in the course of its more ambitious climate requirements.

Others want to save it

But while some are fighting the car, others want to save it. Sometimes it is even the same as FDP parliamentary deputy Michael Theurer criticizes: “The federal government cannot dead-regulate the automotive industry on the one hand and keep it alive with taxpayers’ money on the other. The hand that holds the microphone in Berlin while German ministers complain about the threat of job losses was also the hand that went up in Brussels when the drastic wrong regulation was decided. “

In the federal government, concerns about Germany’s leading industry, about manufacturers and suppliers who still employ a good 830,000 people, currently predominate. On Tuesday evening, the representatives of the industry had an appointment with Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and several federal ministers for a video conference, for the virtual car summit.

It should actually be about artificial intelligence, autonomous driving and the use of mobility data. But even before the phone call, everything was overshadowed by the new rescue debate.

“Stepping up again makes no sense”

The Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) took over the spokesman part for the countries with important production sites and again demanded a purchase bonus for vehicles with combustion engines – a subsidy that the coalition partners did not want to get through in the economic stimulus package at the beginning of June. Although Söder bit granite at Merkel and the SPD again, he reiterated his demand.

On the morning of the summit, CSU Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer jumped to the side. “There are a lot of modern vehicles on the dump. They have to come from the farm, ”he said.

In the automotive industry, expectations of new premiums were low before the meeting, but high of new incentives. The chairman of the employers’ association Südwestmetall and chairman of the board of the supplier ElringKlinger, Stefan Wolf, said on Tuesday on the broadcaster “rbb” that the government had made a different decision on the combustion engine bonus. “It makes no sense to follow suit now.”

There are other ways to help small and medium-sized businesses. “We have the highest labor costs ever and here relief is the order of the day,” said Wolf. But Wolf rejected a medium-sized fund like the one proposed by the SPD, Greens and IG Metall. BDI General Manager Joachim Lang also called for a “strong signal from the government in support of key industries”. One euro of added value in the automotive industry is followed by one euro from suppliers and another euro of added value across all economic sectors. “Low-emission combustion engines with CO2-neutral fuels will continue to play a central role in the future. It needs market-economy and technology-open impulses to enable the ramp-up of all climate-friendly technologies. “