A mechanic works on the production line of Volkswagen e-Golf in the Glaeserne Manufaktur plant in Dresden, Germany on May 8 2018. File Picture: REUTERS/MATTHIAS RIETSCHEL
A mechanic works on the production line of Volkswagen e-Golf in the Glaeserne Manufaktur plant in Dresden, Germany on May 8 2018. File Picture: REUTERS/MATTHIAS RIETSCHEL

Frankfurt — Germany's car makers only have a 50% chance of surviving as leading players in the vehicle industry unless they transform to meet new regulations and adapt their supply chains, Volkswagen (VW) CEO Herbert Diess said on Tuesday.

The need to produce batteries and electric cars, rather than combustion engines, and the emergence of new geopolitical threats, is forcing car makers to accelerate deep-seated reforms that pose an existential threat to some players, he said.

"From today's point of view the chances are perhaps 50-50 that the German auto industry will still belong among the global elite in 10 years' time," he said.

The push to cut carbon dioxide pollution and nitrogen oxide emissions now amounts to a campaign against individual mobility and against cars, Diess said.

"We are all used to the fact that we have flourishing industrial metropolises around the central manufacturing plants of German car makers and their suppliers, places where people like to live and work, but that's not guaranteed for eternity," Diess told a conference in Wolfsburg.

"If you look at the former bastions of the auto industry such as Detroit, Oxford-Cowley or Turin, you understand what happens to cities when once powerful corporations and leading industries falter," he added. 

Reuters