German Chancellor Angela Merkel launched her re-election campaign with a scathing attack on German auto bosses on Saturday yet the electorate is unlikely to have been inspired by the criticism, according to ING Germany's chief economist.
Merkel, campaigning to secure a fourth term in office, accused auto industry chiefs of "destroying trust" in the sector after the emissions scandal. Meanwhile, Merkel's political rival at next month's general election, socialist Martin Schulz, also targeted auto executives during his first official campaign speech. He suggested they had been putting the industry at risk by failing to prepare for the future.
Carsten Brzeski, chief economist at ING Germany, said Merkel and Schulz were both failing to generate support with their comments criticizing the auto industry. Instead, he argued they were simply "ticking the box of a spin doctor's manual."
"It's a bit like 'Trump-bashing' these days. You have to do it because the electorate likes it but it will hardly move votes from one party to the other. The problem is that the voters know about the interaction and ties between the automotive industry and politicos. This makes it hard for Schulz or Merkel to really distance themselves," Brzeski added.