VW boss Herbert Diess warns 30,000 auto workers might lose their job
This is a serious problem, but no one is taking it seriously
The transition towards electric mobility poses many questions that remain unanswered, and there are several collateral issues that no one is taking seriously. For the umpteenth time, here we are, once again, with the chairman of a large car group - VW in this instance - warning that “we may have to cut 30,000 jobs. And that’s in Germany alone.” VW currently employs over 600,000 people worldwide.
According to German magazine Handelsblatt, the shareholders, board members, institutions and the unions were “caught by surprise”. This, apparently, is because they had not been warned in advance about this, and, I’m afraid, because they’re apparently living on the Moon. Because that’s like saying “I wasn’t told water would freeze if I put it in the freezer”.
Electric vehicles require fewer components, and different service intervals. Furthermore, assembling an electric car takes less time, and fewer workers. Automakers know this. It‘s a serious problem, but no one is taking it seriously. One of the main issues, in my humble opinion, is that automakers have played nice for too long, failing to comprehensively explain the consequences of the ”EVs at all costs” policies that legislators have been putting in place.
In recent times, Akio Toyoda (Toyota), Carlos Tavares (Stellantis) and now Diess have all said - in various forms - that the electric transition will cause real-world issues, especially if we move too quickly and with no planning, and that the “full lifecycle analysis“ is what truly matters, [when it comes to carbon footprint] - “not just the tailpipe emissions.” But it’s too little and probably too late.
Technological progress always kills some jobs and creates new ones - we all know that - but this transition is being legislated, it isn‘t happening organically.
I know many people dislike EVs because they like V8s but this is a lot more complex than that. What is the end goal here? We all sort of assumed that using batteries instead of petrol was a means to an end. But it feels like institutions have got it into their heads that the ICE must go - at all costs - and it’ll have to be replaced by BEVs, and nothing else. At all costs.
You and I can’t do much about it, those of us who live in areas where petrol cаrs are banned will simply have to comply. On the other hand, manufacturers can do something about it, and if they think there are better, more sensible and less disruptive solutions to lower our carbon footprint without causing massive social and industrial problems in the process - and they clearly do - they should speak to their governments, not just to shareholders to share bad news that was welcomed with raised eyebrows and outrage, instead of a simple, much more appropriate “duh”.