You would have thought the left and the Greens would be very hostile to the Germany economy in general and its car industry in particular. Germany burns a lot of coal and depends on manufacturing to a considerable extent. You might have thought that the EU, a well known leader in trying to curb carbon emissions and excess remuneration, would turn its full attack onto the car industry. After all, it has made its hostility to banks and bankers ever clearer, seeking to regulate their pay, stop some of their activites, and tax others. So much so that many in the UK now think the EU has been picking on its lead activity to do it harm.
The German car industry has been very successful at making large fast cars that appeal to rich people. Indeed, you have to be seriously rich to be able to afford the £100,000 for a top of the range BMW or Porsche, or the £165,000 for the S class Mercedes AMG. No, I am not thinking of buying one, as they are well beyond my budget for a car. I have never yearned for one. Nor am I jealous of those who like them and can afford them. That’s because I am no carbon campaigning green or an envious socialist.
If you do dislike people being too rich and think they ought to be taxed, then taxing luxury cars more heavily would surely be a good place to start. After all, it brings you two gains in your jealous universe. It hits the rich directly, and it may cut the number of high emission large engined cars sold.
In fairness to the EU, they have tried a bit of this. German lobbying and influence, however, has been most astute at ensuring the EU’s carbon attacks do not drive BMW, Mercedes, Porsche and Audi out of business at the luxury end.
Motor manufacturers are also famous for paying their senior executives very high pay. This has not become such a big issue as bankers pay has become, again owing to excellent news management and lobbying. The CEO of VW earned $23m in his best year. Remuneration in excess of $10m a year is common at the top end of the industry. So far there have been no EU proposals to cut this pay.
It all goes to show being good at EU politics is important if you wish to keep these contentious industries and activities going and if your country stays in the EU.