Increasing energy efficiency is one of the prime energy policy objectives of the German government and international institutions. A reduction, or at least a limit to the increase, in energy consumption will help to conserve resources. Here, the manufacturing sector, which is responsible for a considerable proportion of total energy consumption, has an important role to play. Yet a comparison with other countries shows that German industry is already particularly energy efficient. Moreover, a detailed analysis makes clear that the curbing of energy consumption is a result not only of growing efficiency but also of changes in the structure of industry: A number of energy-intensive sectors show a clear decline in gross added value as well as energy consumption. Energy policy must not result in progress in energy efficiency in Germany being achieved at the expense of certain industries reducing their domestic production due to increasing energy prices and a consequent loss of compet-itiveness.
The current debate on industrial policy vacillates between the extreme positions of an orthodoxy of rejecting state action and a naive belief in the state's ability to control structural change.
The automotive industry in Germany is currently facing several challenges. Car production had already fallen significantly before the Covid19 pandemic and in 2020 and 2021 suffered two slumps of historic proportions.