Germany’s economy is on the ropes – and its car industry even more so

As everyone knows, the European economy is in trouble, but just how much may not yet be widely appreciated. Thanks to a sharp fall in German production, eurozone manufacturing output is declining for the first time in six years, survey evidence suggests. Most commentators regard this as just a temporary setback, caused by a sharp slowdown in car exports to China and the after effects of Germany’s diesel scandal. These setbacks are expected to pass.

Or maybe not. As is ever more obvious, the problems of Europe’s car industry are as much structural as cyclical. Put simply, Europe is behind the curve on the switch to electric vehicles, and also on the infrastructure needed to support the transition….