OPINION: Europe is a car crash ready to happen as China puts its foot on the EV accelerator – by Eric Reguly (Globe and Mail – May 13, 2023)


When you think of Germany, you think of cars. Germany invented the automobile and its leading car makers – Volkswagen, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche – are exalted global brands, have been for decades. These companies and their suppliers form the backbone of German industry, with more than 800,000 direct jobs and hundreds of thousands of indirect ones.

How many of these jobs will remain in a decade or two? Germany and other European countries where building cars forms an essential part of the industrial and innovation fabric – France, Italy, Slovakia, Czechia – could crash as China, and the United States, to a lesser extent, come to dominate the market for electric vehicles.

The European automotive giants, especially the German ones, are lumbering beasts who came late to the EV revolution. At the same time, China has pretty much locked up some of the critical metals, such as cobalt, that no car battery can go without.

There will be pain. The European auto makers may not be able to overcome the competitive disadvantages they created for themselves, aided and abetted by climate-obsessed governments that did not realize that net-zero goals could trigger rapid deindustrialization, not the opposite.

For the rest of this column: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/commentary/article-europe-is-a-car-crash-ready-to-happen-as-china-puts-its-foot-on-the-ev/