Verband der Automobilindustrie (VDA) president designate, Matthias Wissman, has been criticised for belonging to a national association for environmental protection, the Bund Naturschutz (BUND). BUND is reportedly a major opponent of the automotive industry.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper reported at the weekend that senior automotive managers have said that he cannt be a member of the VDA and BUND at the same time.

Wissmann takes over as president of the VDA in June but is not planning to give up his membership of BUND.  A BUND spokesperson said, “We must stop seeing economics and ecology as opponents of one another. Environmental bodies recognise nowadays that mobility without cars is not possible.”

BUND is hoping that Wissmann will be able to break away between the VDA’s hard set  politics and become a little more reasonable.

Wissmann is a former transport minister and belongs the Christian Democratic (CDU) party and has a good relationship with the chancellor, Angela Merkel.

Porsche CEO, Wendelin Wiedeking, a critic of former president Bernd Gottschalk, has set out a list of measures that he expects Wissmann to carry out. They include:

• presenting the performance and innovativeness of the German automotive industry in the right light
• improving communication
• take long-term ownership of ‘symbolic issues’
• position German vehicle manufacturers as taking action, at national and EU level
• advise on the politics of all legislative processes that impact on the automotive industry with the necessary experience and expertise

Wiedeking said that Wissmann has his full support to do all of these things.

Suppliers have other concerns. One VDA member told Automobilwoche that Wissmann should ensure that vehicle manufacturers share the cost of rising raw material prices and development costs.