Chancellor Angela Merkel has made a stinging attack on German auto executives, pressing them to innovate to secure jobs and win back trust lost by a diesel emissions scandal. As Laura Frykberg reports, it comes after Germany said it believes the European Commission will soon propose electric car quotas.
Her party is ahead in the polls.. But her latest comments may prove less popular with one sector. Chancellor Angela Merkel igniting her election campaign with an attack on the German auto industry. Warning them to save jobs, and restore public faith lost through dieselgate. SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL, SAYING: "Large parts of the automobile industry have gambled away unbelievable amounts of trust. That trust can only be regained by the industry itself. And I mean the business leaders." The statement marks a change in gear for Merkel - who's previously defended the diesel industry. And been accused by rivals of neglecting the scandal. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHIEF ECONOMIC ADVISER, CEBR, VICKY PRYCE, SAYING: "I think she's trying to do right now is to reassure the public that in fact she's on top of this and there will be a better solution for the future." Although she did reject one proposal by her Social Democrat rival last week... to introduce quotas for electric cars in Europe - as a way of forcing car companies to innovate. (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL, SAYING: "The quota for E-cars has not been well thought out. Europe would spend too long deciding what it would be - and what would happen if it wasn't adhered to." Such a move could also hurt Germany's auto industry. And - six weeks out from the election - Merkel's campaign which is focussed on the economy. The auto industry is the main driver of that. Not only is it Germany's largest exporter, it also provides about 800,000 jobs.