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Germany’s auto industry has to rethink its politics as Merkel leaves office

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At the last Frankfurt car show, Chancellor toured the Porsche stand, where she was invited to sit behind the wheel of the new Taycan electric model. She politely declined, sidestepping the pitfall of publicly endorsing an extravagant sports car.


The signature Merkel maneuver — a rapid risk review followed by a wry response — underscored her complicated relationship with a key industry that for the longest time has relied on the political patronage from the country’s chancellors.


As Merkel prepares to leave office after 16 years, automotive executives are left wondering what to expect from her successor, less than three weeks before general elections that remain a wide-open contest. Will it be detachment or endorsement? Maybe even open confrontation with a environmentally-minded government pushing carmakers and their suppliers to embrace change more emphatically or risk…

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