MUNICH (Reuters) - The head of Volkswagen’s (VOWG_p.DE) truck operations on Friday criticized Germany’s prolonged political deadlock as a risk to its commercial vehicle industry and the country’s international reputation.
Ten weeks after the Sept. 24 federal elections, Germany still lacks a new government and Chancellor Angela Merkel is casting around for a coalition partner.
A German government should be ready to tackle future challenges “in a creative, bold and forceful way, instead of merely administering our country for months in a caretaking way,” VW Truck & Bus Chief Executive Andreas Renschler told a truck industry conference.
“Germany can afford many things, but not an unstable government,” said Renschler, who sits on VW’s top management board. “We have a problem in Germany if we persist in that (instability). Our role in Europe but also in the world forbids that.”
Truck makers such as VW, Daimler (DAIGn.DE) and Volvo (VOLVb.ST) are being forced to transform as smart logistics, autonomous driving and electric vehicles become more important for fleet operators. They must also contend with tightening emissions and safety regulations.
Digital tools to improve traffic management require “bold and forward-looking” legal terms set by politicians and regulators, said Renschler, citing so-called “platooning” technology which allows digitally connected heavy trucks to save fuel by driving closely together.
“That’s why it is all the more important that we will get a stable government in Germany as fast as possible that sets the appropriate impulses for innovation and investment,” said Renschler, a former head of Daimler Trucks.
“Our appeal can only be to end the political deadlock as quickly as possible.”
Reporting by Andreas Cremer; editing by Jason Neely