America’s automakers hit rock bottom in the eyes of the public when their executives went to Washington in 2008 to beg for a bailout — in corporate jets.Now it’s the German car industry’s turn to suffer an image crisis and, as with General Motors Co. and Chrysler a decade ago, it couldn’t be happening at a less auspicious moment. Amid trade wars and plunging China sales, the number of cars rolling off Germany’s production lines has dropped by 12% this year and exports by 14%. European auto sales fell 3% in the first eight months of 2019. With demand expected to remain weak for a couple of years, the German parts supplier Continental AG isn’t ruling out cuts to working hours and jobs.It’s a bad time to be having a public relations nightmare too, but that is what’s happening in the country that invented the internal combustion engine. This month’s Frankfurt Motor Show was meant to give Germany’s mighty auto industry a platform to show off its expensive plans to build more electric vehicles.Instead, many international carmakers chose to stay away (some to save money) and Karl-Thomas Neumann, the ex-boss of Opel/Vauxhall, declared the event a “huge fail.” Compounding the… Read full this story
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