The future on wheels

Mobility

Germany’s biggest industry – cars – is in the early stages of a revolution, as batteries take over from combustion and as vehicles start navigating themselves. The implications – for safety, jobs, urban planning, the environment, and our way of life – are huge. We cover them here.

Dieselgate Collusion

Watchdog and Industry Accomplice?

Germany's top auto industry watchdog may have helped carmakers cheat on emissions testing.

Etihad Subsidiary

Air Berlin Throws in the Towel

Germany’s second-largest airline has filed for insolvency. The government will keep it alive – for now.

TOLL SYSTEM

Who Will Rule Germany’s Roads?

Mercedes-maker Daimler plans to relinquish its stake in Germany's truck toll operator. Interest in collecting road levies is strong and comes from the likes of IBM, Shell, Eventim and Abertis.

'NO TRICKS'

Ford’s Diesel Bluster Put to the Test

The German government has ordered an investigation into whether a popular Ford model is using clever software to pass emissions tests.

Plentiful supply

After Dieselgate, VW Presses Search for Batteries

VW reckons there will be a dramatic rise in demand for lithium, the key ingredient in electric car batteries

Opinion

The Price of Poor Ethics

The lack of business ethics among top German managers is exposing leadership problems and could cause long-term damage at companies.

Diesel Dilemma

Foreign Carmakers Silent on Emissions

Foreign auto brands are under mounting pressure to contribute to reducing harmful diesel emissions in Germany. Some don’t see why they should.

Electric cars

The Quota Question

After reports that the EU was considering a quota for e-cars, two auto correspondents battle it out over whether that would make sense.

SHAKEUP LOOMS

Audi Management in the Crosshairs

Documents show that discussions of how to handle diesel emissions problems reached the company’s management board, along with potentially illicit cooperation agreements with rival carmakers.

Conflict of Interest?

State’s Cozy Ties with Volkswagen in the Spotlight

The premier of the automaker’s home state of Lower Saxony has come under fire for not supervising the company more closely at a time when he must fight a re-election battle.

Dieselgate fallout

Politicians Squabble Over Class-Action Suits

The diesel scandal has triggered calls for the adoption of US-style class-action lawsuits in Germany, making this an election issue. Some fear such changes would effectively legalize extortion.

Dieselgate Scandal

Carmakers Stuck Between Rock and a Hard Place

The German financial regulator is investigating whether two of the country’s biggest carmakers failed to inform investors in a timely manner about a scandal their actions inspired.

BINDING QUOTAS

EU Gives Carmakers Electric Shock

Brussels may force the auto industry to sell more low-emission vehicles by imposing minimum targets, but the proposal divides Germany’s government.

airline design

Low Ticket Prices Create Cabin Pressure

For airlines and passengers every millimeter counts as fliers occupy some of the world’s costliest space. That is tough for airlines, but great for seat makers.

dieselgate, diesel summit, greenpeace, berlin, diesel gipfel

Dieselgate

The Hangover

While environmentalists criticize the deal struck between carmakers and the government as inadequate, the diesel debate is set to become a core issue in Germany's general election in September.

german car industry in crisis

Diesel Summit

Our National Responsibility

The diesel crisis has destroyed a lot of confidence in German automakers, but the industry is too big, and too important, to fail.

Mergers & Acquisitions

Zero Hour for Opel

After 88 years as a GM subsidiary, Opel is now French. The new owner is deploying two top managers from Paris to the chronically unprofitable brand.

Diesel Summit

Called the Axles of Evil, Carmakers Offer Diesel Compromise

A pact between the German government and auto industry requires software updates, trade-in bonuses and a €1 billion fund for clean transport.

DIESEL SUMMIT

Band-Aid Fix for Germany’s Emissions Problem

German carmakers and politicians are set to agree on a quick repair for the diesel problem, hoping to avoid driving bans weeks before parliamentary elections, but have not solved the country's long-term car problems

Electric Mobility

Unions Jolt German Automakers

Auto industry employees know their jobs hang in the balance of the e-car revolution. Unions are kicking up a fuss to protect workers' rights.

VW Brand

Absolving the Sins of Dieselgate

Volkswagen is going all out to redeem its image. In case adored soccer stars behind the wheel of its e-cars aren’t enough, the embattled carmaker is even turning God.

Diesel Scandal

Germany’s 10-Percent Solution

Pressure is mounting for compensation to diesel car buyers but German law doesn’t allow an across-the-board payment of 10 percent of the car price or even a class-action lawsuit.

DIRE STRAITS

A Plan to Save Audi

Consumed by the emissions scandal, the VW subsidiary has fallen behind the competition in electric cars. It now plans to cut deep to free up money for the future.

emissions cheating

An Engineer Prepares to Tell All

The Volkswagen manager who loved cars and America more than anything is preparing to plead guilty for lying to environmental regulators.

Unauthorized devices

A New Diesel Headache for Volkswagen

Germany says it is banning new registrations of the Porsche SUV, while VW ups the number of recalled cars to 4 million.

Carmaker-government breakup

The End of the Affair?

The German auto industry has always enjoyed a cozy, mutually beneficial relationship with the government. But its multiple scandals could force ministers to cut the cord.

Cartel Suspicions

Carmakers May Have Colluded

As the Dieselgate scandal continues to unfold, media report that German automakers may also be at the center of one of the biggest antitrust cases in German history.

HANDELSBLATT EXCLUSIVE

Germany Proposes €500 Million Pollution Fund

Aiming to avoid diesel driving bans in cities, the costs will be split between German carmakers and the federal government.

Handelsblatt Explains

How VW Rose so High and Fell so Low

Conceived by Hitler in the 1930s, Volkswagen became the symbol of Made in Germany and the world’s largest car maker. Then it crashed into Dieselgate.

Diesel's future

On the Road to Nowhere

Decades after staking its future on diesel, Germany's auto industry is clinging on to the technology despite pollution clampdowns, growing e-car sales and the Dieselgate scandal. Is it time to cut the cord?

Pollution ruling

The Diesel Decision

The future of diesel in Germany may lie in the hands of a single judge in Stuttgart. As a key case on the issue opened in the city, he didn't sound sympathetic to carmakers.

EMISSION CONCERNS

A Long Farewell to Diesel

A push in Germany to restrict diesel vehicles has automaker Porsche questioning the engine's future.

Mittelstand

The Sum of its Parts

You won't have heard the name, but most people rely on parts made by Schunk every day, whether hidden in cars, gadgets, tools or even airplanes. Meet the mid-size firm whose focus on niche markets keeps Germany moving.

Electro Mobility

Scooting Over Here

Chinese e-scooter makers want to crack the German market but will find a market already crowded with European rivals, among them BMW.

ETHICAL ALGORITHMS  

Can Machines Have Morals?

Self-driving cars, security robots and smart, networked toys. Whoever manages the machines' software wields an awful lot of power.

car sharing

Blocking A Home-Grown Uber

A small village in Bavaria is testing an intelligent ridesharing service, in collaboration with a German start-up. But the rest of the country is too mired in red tape over mobility to let the sector grow.

environmental regulation

Clamp Down on Carmakers

Politicians and carmakers should man up to make mobility more environmentally friendly, writes Handelsblatt correspondent Daniel Delhaes.

From Our Magazine

Zipping Along in the Sharing Economy

First bikes. Then cars. Now, electric scooters are the latest addition to the urban sharing economy. They’re helping clean the air and get cars off the road.

Angela Merkel, Germany's chancellor, connects an electric charging cable to a VW E-Golf automobile, produced by Volkswagen AG, following the German-Chinese signing ceremony at Volkswagen AG's headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany, on Monday, April 24, 2012. Volkswagen AG , EuropeÕs biggest carmaker, plans to open a new assembly plant in western China in 2015 to strengthen its position in the manufacturerÕs largest market. Photographer: Michele Tantussi/Bloomberg *** Local Caption *** Angela Merkel

Handelsblatt Exclusive

E-Cars Won’t Power Up Until 2025

Forget the hype over Tesla and generous government subsidies: Electric cars will not gain a substantial market share before 2025, according to a new study.

huGO-BildID: 46247574 Scoot Networks Scooter

California Venture

German E-Scooters Roll Into San Francisco

Scooter sharing is becoming trendy in high-tech San Francisco and the Munich-based firm Govecs is supplying the electric two-wheelers.

Car Sharing

Rent My Benz

Daimler is taking on car rental companies with a new sharing service that allows Mercedes owners to rent out their vehicles.

Frenemies Cooperate

Daimler to Provide Uber with Robot Cars

Automaker Daimler and cab-hailing service Uber are teaming up in a partnership that will see self-driving Mercedes Benz cars made available on the mobility platform.

Deutsche Bahn Investment

Around the World in Three Words

Deutsche Bahn Digital Ventures, the newly-created venture capital subsidiary of Germany’s state-owned railway operator, will buy a stake in London-based geocoding startup What3words, aiming to improve its offering for corporate customers.

Uber fight

Daimler, BMW to Merge Car-Sharing Firms

Daimler and BMW plan to merge their car-sharing subsidiaries Car2Go and DriveNow to save costs and defend their turf against U.S. rivals such as Uber. But Sixt, a big shareholder in DriveNow, is opposed to the merger.

Google car for distort dpa_effect

Safe Money

Big Money in Networked Mobility

Smart investors should be focusing on the tech firms leading the charge in the connected car market, says our author.

Fiz Future BMW PR

Mobility Research

A Bavarian Bid for Mindshare

The battle for automotive dominance will be fought by the best tech minds in the world. Audi and BMW plan to attract them to southern Germany with research and development facilities to rival those of Silicon Valley.

Mobility

Norway’s Electric Bet

Norway plans to do away with combustion engines by 2025. The country is way ahead of the curve when it comes to green mobility – but is the model sustainable?

EMISSIONS SCANDAL

VW Exec Tunes In to ‘Jailhouse Rock’

Oliver Schmidt will plead guilty to US charges arising from VW’s cheating on emissions tests as prosecutors in Germany and worldwide probe the highest levels of German automaker.

ELECTRIC CARS

A Mini Victory for Britain

German carmaker BMW decides to keep assembly of the new model in the UK, in spite of Brexit uncertainties as competition for electric cars heats up.

Emissions Scandal

Diesel Probe Catches Up With Daimler

The maker of Mercedes cars faces a criminal investigation into cheating on diesel emissions in the scandal that has engulfed VW and its subsidiaries.

CHECKERED HISTORY

VW, Torture and Brazil’s Dictatorship

A subsidiary of the Wolfsburg firm is accused of spying on employees and turning them over for torture. The company says it expects its own inquiry to be released later this year

Dieselgate scandal

VW Workers Ready to Rat Out Bosses

As US prosecutors turn the screws on VW managers involved in the Dieselgate deception, concerns are mounting in Germany that they may start spilling beans.

Emissions Scandal

Report: VW Faces More Questions In US

New reports suggest US courts could once again look at just how much Volkswagen's former chief executive Martin Winterkorn knew about the cheat software his engineers installed on diesel engines to falsify emissions data.

Emissions

VW Signals Defeat in German Diesel Buybacks

VW has so far fought off calls to compensate German customers for its diesel cars, but in not appealing a domestic court ruling, the company indicates it may be backing down on the issue.

CAR COLLUSION

Anatomy of a (Possible) Cartel

Allegations of collusion among Germany's top carmakers go well beyond the issue of illegal emissions. The widening scandal may result in fines that could dwarf those from Dieselgate.

Car Collusion

Anger and Astonishment

Industry figures and politicians have reacted with horror to accusations of wide-ranging collusion in the German car industry, possibly going back two decades.

Dieselgate

A Smart Maneuver

A voluntary recall is the only chance Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche has to keep active control of his company amid a growing diesel crisis.

German carmakers

Diesel Junkie Nation

No other country is clinging to diesels as hard as Germany. With their collective dependence, automakers and lawmakers are turning the former cash cow into a cluster risk.

Future Proofing

Schaeffler Recharges its Leadership

Investors are skeptical about Schaeffler following a profit warning in June. The shift to electric mobility is a huge challenge for the auto parts group.

Dieselgate

Good News for Gearheads

VW has agreed to cover the costs of reinstallation and recertification of any performance tuning software erased by its Dieselgate software corrections.

Hella Auto Parts

Lighting Up in Self-Driving Cars

German auto parts supplier Hella is about more than headlights. As a world leader in radar sensors, camera software and energy-saving bulbs, the outlook for shareholders is bright.

Online auto repairs

Good Under the Hood

Berlin start-up Caroobi wants to help car owners navigate the shark-infested waters of the auto-repair industry. It's even attracted investment from BMW.

Emissions Scandal

Dieselgate Probe Widens to Porsche

Amid scrutiny of Volkswagen and Audi, German prosecutors are investigating possible fraud in the VW unit’s diesel SUV model.

DB Schenker

Trucking Around Bavaria on Autopilot

Deutsche Bahn’s logistics subsidiary Schenker plans to send 40-ton trucks onto the autobahn with a computer in the driver’s seat by early next year.

Tesla Competition

BMW Throttles Back on Indirect Costs

Soaring R&D costs for electric and driverless vehicles forces the Munich carmaker to pinch pennies in other sectors.

Handelsblatt Exclusive

BMW Set to Introduce Electric Sedan

Feeling the heat from Tesla, BMW plans to introduce a fully electric 3-Series in September.

Dieselgate Scandal

Prosecutors Probe Bosch Employees

German prosecutors are investigating individuals at auto parts supplier Bosch, opening a new chapter in the VW's diesel emissions rigging.

Mobility Transition

Split the Old from the New

Auto suppliers should take a leaf from the energy companies’ book and split their combustion engine business from electric vehicles, the author argues.

Expert Concerns

Tesla Cars Unsafe, Says German Watchdog

A report by a car inspection agency warns that Tesla Model S vehicles are equipped with a potentially harmful Autopilot system.

Dieselgate Fallout

The Knives Come Out at German Carmakers

Daimler confessed to antitrust activity in 2014 and now apparently hopes to avoid a fine, but other companies feel betrayed.

DIESEL SCANDAL

Top Priority in Brussels

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker orders a top-to-bottom review of pollution, consumer compensation and possible antitrust action against German carmakers.

Electric Flop

Why E-Mobility is Failing in Germany

A leading figure in Germany’s push for electromobility says the current strategy is failing, as electric cars aren't catching on and Germany falls behind China.

Suing carmakers

From Trucks to Bucks

A novel lawsuit that forced a cartel of German truckmakers to compensate customers is being touted as a blueprint for car owners to win billions in payouts from companies caught up in diesel scandals.

Stuttgart Ruling

Diesel Ban Hits Home

A ban on diesel cars in the home city of Mercedes and Porsche came one step closer today following a precedent-setting court ruling.

Air Pollution

Stuttgart Bans Diesel Cars

Stuttgart holds the record as the German city with the highest air pollution. The state has disallowed older diesel vehicles starting next year.

Pollution Alert

Daimler Agrees to Diesel Car Recall

The German automaker will pay €220 million to upgrade older cars so that air pollution is reduced.

Diesel Scandal

Automakers on Hook to Avoid Driving Bans

Berlin warns Germany’s carmakers they have the responsibility to avoid diesel bans by taking quick action to update models.

Diesel's future

Hanging in the Balance

Hammered by urban bans, strict pollution targets and the fallout from Dieselgate, German carmakers are fighting to save their lucrative diesel models. Their latest proposal is to recall older cars to make their engines cleaner.

Dieselgate

Merkel Downshifts

Once frequent visitors to the chancellery, chief executives of car companies were invited to meet with Angela Merkel less often after the Dieselgate scandal.

P&L check

A Railway Company Runs in Vicious Circles

German rail operator Deutsche Bahn wants more passengers and more trains. But the multi-billion-euro rail operator is finding it increasingly difficult to finance the investment it needs to get them.

Logistics Overhaul

From Sky High to Door to Door

With myAirCargo, Lufthansa Cargo is getting in on a revolutionary business model that just might make traditional shipping obsolete.

Arabic Tie-up

Hapag Lloyd’s Journey into the Unknown

Hapag Lloyd's planned shipping merger with Dubai rival UASC, designed to boost earnings at what will be the world’s fifth-largest shipping company, has actually led to a 2016 loss of €97 million even before the deal's conclusion.

Luxury accessories

Porsche Design Changes Lanes

Porsche’s fashion and accessories subsidiary wants to work more closely with its high-powered roadster principal. This means it’ll leave its women’s fashion line in the ditch.

RESTRUCTURING PLAN

Bombardier Cuts Deep

The Canadian train manufacturer has announced even deeper cuts to its German workforce, but has agreed not to close any plants.

Hapag-Lloyd sale

Goodbye Container Ships, Hello Cruise Liners

German travel and tourism company TUI has left the container shipping industry to focus solely on tourism.

german budget airlines eurowings

Budget Airlines

Eurowings Flying High on Merger Rumors

Lufthansa hopes to make its low-cost subsidiary Eurowings a major player on the continent, possibly by absorbing Air Berlin and other smaller German carriers.

labor law

Squeezing Smaller Unions

A law curtailing the power of smaller trade unions in companies with multiple options for worker representation will stay on the books, but minority unions aren’t stripped of their powers.

under pressure

Competition Hurts Deutsche Bahn

Germany’s state-owned railway operator had lost market share to private competitors in the areas of freight and passenger transportation, but change might be on the horizon.

FUTURE AVIATION

Airbus Faces Start Up Challengers

A new generation of fast, agile and digital aerospace companies are forcing Airbus to modernize fast.

Turbulent Skies

Air Berlin Sends an SOS

A major pillar of the restructuring plan for Germany’s second-largest airline, Air Berlin, has collapsed. Now, the carrier may not be able to survive without state help.

European Defense

Desperately Seeking Combat Aircraft

Airbus is pushing governments to make decisions, but the looming election is slowing things down in Germany.

cabin chaos

Air Berlin Staff Reach Breaking Point

Losses, cancelled flights, a radical restructuring - Germany's second-largest airline already has plenty of problems. Now its cabin crews have had enough.

AIRBUS DEAL

China Business Takes Wing

A mega order for 140 planes is another sign of a closer alliance between Europe and China as partnership with the US falters.

Revolving Doors

Dabbling in Corporate Governance

Sitting politicians should not serve on supervisory boards, writes the head of Handelsblatt’s finance desk.