The car manufacturing industry is traditionally one of Brussels’ strongest, and has a particularly German flavour. But the recent scandal engulfing Volkswagen (VW – who also make Audi) and potentially others shows that if Europe is serious about regulating the car industry and protecting public health and the climate, it needs to stand up to the car lobby rather than allowing those resisting regulation to write it.
In 2014, car manufacturers and their trade associations spent more than €18 million lobbying in Brussels. The website LobbyFacts.eu, based on the Commission’s transparency register, shows that the top three industry spenders are well-known German manufacturers Volkswagen, BMW and Daimler. Volkswagen is by far the biggest spender, with almost €3.5 million spend in 2014, almost five times the spending of the biggest non-German manufacturer, Fiat-Chrysler (€700,000).
Boots on the ground – how many lobbyists
In terms of personnel, Volkswagen is also miles ahead of its competitors – Daimler has 14 staff lobbying in the Belgian capital while BMW has 8. VW has 43, almost double both combined. The highest non-German manufacturer is Honda, with 10 lobbyists.