October 20, 2020

The German Car Industry Musters for a New Tech Battle

Having spent years—and tens of billions of dollars—preparing for a shift in production toward electric vehicles, German car makers are expressing a new angst: that digitally “connected cars” could prove even more disruptive to their traditional strengths. This second leg of their race against Tesla could become a fresh excuse to squander investors’ capital.

Daimler set two priorities for technological leadership in a new strategy for its


brand this week: electric drive and car software. For the latter, the company is working on an entire operating system, MB.OS, that from 2024 will run not just Mercedes’s proprietary infotainment system and its mobile broadband connection but also crucial elements of the driving experience, including self-driving features and battery management.

The company will partner with technology specialists for specific applications, notably


for automated driving. Yet the closer the software gets to the customer experience, the more Daimler wants to do

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German car industry counts cost of Covid and technological change

Under overcast skies, a scythe-wielding man dressed as the Grim Reaper led hundreds of masked protesters out of the gates of one of Germany’s oldest manufacturing sites in the Bavarian city of Nuremberg.

In what local unions termed “a declaration of war”, the Volkswagen-owned Man Group announced this month that it would cut 9,500 roles, more than a quarter of its workforce, and consider closing production sites across Germany and Austria.

After a summer in which the country’s car industry remained in suspended animation, the protesting staff at Man’s Nuremberg truck and bus factory are among tens of thousands of employees in the strategically-important sector whose jobs are in jeopardy.

Germany’s car industry supports more than 2m domestic jobs and directly accounts for more than 5 per cent of gross domestic product. It is concentrated in the states of Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg and Lower Saxony, whose economies are likely to suffer

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