German automotive industry should clean its act, think microelectronics suppliers

June 19, 2017 // By Julien Happich
Being part of the automotive supplier industry, the microtechnology industry has a great interest in a strong automotive industry, though not at all costs, reveals a recent survey from the IVAM Executive Panel, a the trend indicator for the micro- and nanotechnology industry.

Representatives of these suppliers, represented in the IVAM Executive Panel, believe that the interests of the German automotive industry should not be protected under all conditions: no concessions should be made to climate protection in the interest of the industry and the economy; fraud attempts such as exhaust gas manipulation should not be tolerated; and they ought to work more intensively on alternative drive technologies.

Occasion for the short survey among the IVAM Executive Panel – a group of executives from the microtechnology sector – in May 2017, was the disclosure of diesel exhaust gas manipulations at VW and other car manufacturers in Germany, who intended to obscure the fact that the exhaust emissions of their cars exceeded environmental standards.

The automotive industry is one of the strongest economic sectors in Germany. Seventy percent of value added can be attributed to suppliers, which include the microtechnology sector. Leading politicians including German chancellor Angela Merkel do not want to overburden and weaken the industry with high environmental standards.

But only a third of the representatives of the microtechnology industry agree to this. The survey reveals that almost sixty percent believe that climate protection must have priority over the interests of the automotive industry.

Regardless of environmental policy and the disputable issue of whether the climate needs to be protected, the microtechnology industry is calling for a faster development of alternative drive technologies. The German automotive industry should have done more for the development of more eco-friendly drives. Even if it is not soundly proven that emissions of exhaust gas affect the climate, it is necessary to develop clean alternatives to the combustion engine. Environmental standards are helpful because they create the necessary innovation pressure.