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Cheats, bubbles, green lust: "Audi receives a fraud bill"


Chief VW Diess talked through talk shows and entered into perhaps even more expensive legal bastards. Audi's daughter too is in trouble. Tesla, on the other hand, is surprised by the positive – but only at first glance, as the auto expert Helmut Becker says. The exhaust gases in the automotive industry remains a perennial. VW Herbert Diess, head of the VW company, has recently been interviewed several times and given instructions. Is this a sign of repentance or did the VW finally recognize the signs of the time?

Helmut Becker: (Laughter) Each leader has his own style. And without the desire to succumb to Mr Diess: that now tingling through the talk shows, of course, is also due to his personal vanity and not just the cause of the VW.

It was either wrong or wrong.

All right! The biggest was when he frankly admitted that what VW likes to underestimate as a "diesel question" is fraud. Of course, this word "fraud" has more weight and perhaps new legal implications for society.

"Betrogene" VW diesel drivers can now expect this with compensation payments than in the US?

This could be a possible consequence. At least we can assume that the term "scam" will again fall to the feet.

VW Audi also found new discoveries related to the diesel scandal aon your feet, Ingolstadt allegedly used up to four fraudulent software in their vehicles.

Vorsprung durch Technik is not easy to have (Laughter)This suggests that the entire VW group, at least German branch, is involved in the exhaust gas scandal – and that it is the source of these manipulations in Ingolstadt. Audi is obviously the inventor of this special emission control, by the way, Mr Stadler is still in custody. And this is happening now, as VW's daughter does not even put all the cards on the table, but gradually reveals it to the public. This is of course a disaster for the image of a top-notch manufacturer.

Not only the suffering of the image, but also the sales figures: in the US, they have noticeably declined.

Audi is obviously downhill. What is not surprising to me is that the company has been working for itself for four years, with concealment strategies, not with competition or building new innovative driving concepts and cars. Audi receives an account for it. By the way, BMW and Daimler also went through similar phases when they had to lick the financial wounds of their terrible unsuccessful mergers with Rover or Chrysler. The racks are "in the house", not in the market. Then it says that to avoid hell, you do not have a sense of competition and new technologies or models for the future. This is the fate Audi currently has to wear. Since the force is sufficient only for show cars and special models, there is nothing for normal use.

However, it seems that VW is even bigger in this regard: the mother, Audi, sold several new cars in the US for a few months to deal with the general market trend. Why is this? Is the exhaustion scandal already over and is "business as usual"?

On the one hand, this is the result of low sales in the past year, which makes today's growth rates better today. On the other hand, in his model policy, VW approached the American customer better, and better suited to the taste of the terrain, for example, with paragraph. In addition, we must not forget that VW is still synonymous with high quality and reliable cars that are worth their money. Nevertheless, I would not talk about a turnaround, as VW is still a niche supplier in the United States with lower sales volumes than the BMW and Daimler premium brands. The main selling market for VW, like almost all car manufacturers, is still China.

How is the Chinese car market currently taking place?

The Chinese automotive market has experienced structural growth over the past 30 years, which has not yet been seen by the world. The same goes for the Chinese economy as a whole. Meanwhile, the People's Republic dominates the automotive world market: its market share is about 30 percent, and the annual sales are about 26 million vehicles. But this one-time growth, this process of completion is over. Even in China, the trees do not grow in the sky: 250 to 300 cars have already reached 1000 inhabitants, there are around 500 in Europe, and 600 in the United States. Two-digit growth rates have been in the past. There is growth, but at a much lower level.

What is the situation in Germany and Europe? Brexit is not done yet …

Everything is still open and in doubt that Brexit came at an inappropriate time. As cars in Germany and Europe are in a downward trend. But it sounds worse than it really is. The wisdom of an old economist says: where there is no sales boom, there is no sustainable recession. In Germany, the market for new cars has been traveling for some 3.5 million sales, without ups and downs, for several years now, always in this region. Sometimes it's 100,000 more, sometimes 100,000 less. Cyclical fluctuations? They are not. What's next? There is not and will not be a real fall – at least from a market-technical point of view. However, if the political situation deteriorates significantly – the key words: Iran, the Sino-American Trade War – of course, seems different.

How good would German car manufacturers be prepared for this?

It's hard to say. Where: Manufacturers have a range in their capacity, the so-called buffer. Production and employment can breathe here, they have the option of varying to adjust production to about 20 to 30 percent. Only with a severe decline in sales would the workforce be seriously affected and would come to Kurzarbeit à la 2009, less to redundancies. But, as I said, as long as political interference is not degenerate, we are far from it.

What about suppliers?

International global players, such as Conti, Bosch or ZF, can compensate fluctuations from one market to another, which prevents them and thus alleviates potential negative consequences. Smaller, medium-sized suppliers are under pressure. Here are the first bankruptcies in progress.

Back to car manufacturers: Tesla recently surprised with stronger than expected, unsuccessful sales figures. Almost 100,000 electric cars were in the second quarter, including almost 80,000 models based on the mass market.

No, I do not think so. About Tesla there are too many contradictions. This is not a serious automobile company, as we know it from the German scene, but it is more like Zockerbude. On the one hand, there is currently a very positive development of sales, which is obviously under the influence of production backlogs and unfinished orders from the past. On the other hand, Elon Musk has always set new "reflections" to the world, such as upcoming price increases, millions of robotic cars in 2020, entry into the production of battery cells against their Panasonic partner and so on. The greatest dismay is the permanent emigration of executives, such as the technical committee, the development committee and the new head of the European sales office. These are not good signs. In addition, customers complain about the poor quality of cars, such as gaps, which would allow Ferdinand Piëch to quickly breath away. This is due to the fact that vehicles are pushed to the market on the basis of quarterly data. Such a thing does not last long. Tesla is far from the mountain!

The collection plans also led to a reversal. Only the cheap trading trick of the founder of the company and the head of Elon Musk?

Yes, Roncalli is clean! Illusions, which should attract the attention of the company and musk and provide shareholders. Every day after tomorrow everything is out of the table again. For example, have you ever heard of an e-truck that was once portrayed? I do not. For me, Elon Musk is a master of bubbles.

Helmut Becker writes for the monthly column around the automotive market. Becker was for 24 years the chief economist of BMW and it operates

Helmut Becker writes a monthly column for For 24 years, he was the chief economist of BMW. Today he heads the "Institute for Economic Analysis and Communication" (IWK) and advises businesses on issues related to the automotive industry.

Speaking of a soap bubble: Political could be in Germany in possible new elections, change in power in the house. According to research, a federal government is possible under the leadership of the Greens. Would the car industry have to dress warmly?

No, I do not believe that much cooler clothes would have been announced. Only calm blood, even in the Dorado Baden-Württemberg car, the sky with Green Prime Minister Kretschmann did not collapse. The automotive industry did not turn its back on the state, on the contrary. Baden-Württemberg is proof for me that there is also a common sense among the Greens. Greens also know that effective environmental protection can not be achieved by the automotive industry, but only with it. They also know what they have in the automotive industry with Germany: About 20 percent of our wealth in this country extends to the automotive industry. An automatic policy can not afford any federal government, not green, with great losses of prosperity.

Thomas Badtke spoke to Helmut Becker

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