The automobile industry is a vital part of the German economy, accounting for about 20% of all industrial activity in that country. Today, Germany is home to such world class auto manufacturers as BMW, Audi, Mercedes, and Volkswagen. Combined, they employ nearly 800,000 workers. Hundreds of thousands more work for outside suppliers or in car sales, vehicle maintenance, and automobile financing. Economically, what’s good for the German car industry is good for Germany.
That’s a problem for regulators. While every single nation in the world (except the US) thinks the emission reduction goals agreed to in Paris in 2015 are vital to slowing global warming, nobody wants to be kill the goose that laid the golden egg. According to influential German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, representatives from various German car companies have been quite successful lately at obtaining face to face meetings with regulators to talk about future emissions standards. Environmentalist groups complain they have been shut out of those conversations.