BRAUNSCHWEIG (dpa-AFX) - In the opinion of IG Metall boss Christiane Benner, German car manufacturers are offering affordable vehicles too late. This is particularly important because of the growing competition from China, Benner told the "Braunschweiger Zeitung"/"Wolfsburger Nachrichten" in an interview.

She reportedly did not accept the argument that labor costs in Germany are too high. German car manufacturers were still generating high, in some cases double-digit returns. Instead of tightening the wage screw, it is important to reduce costs internally in other areas: "Just looking at wage costs does not help. You need a good product that is accepted by the customer."

With regard to Volkswagen, the IG Metall boss said: "VW is a beacon of co-determination. In difficult times, it has always succeeded in finding good and sustainable solutions together." Nevertheless, the company must do its homework and offer affordable e-cars, for example.

Benner defended IG Metall's demands in the current round of collective bargaining in the steel industry. The union is demanding an 8.5 percent wage increase and a reduction in working hours with full pay compensation. "Our colleagues in the steel industry are also suffering from inflation. These price increases are no fun," she said. The reduction in working hours could help to keep more people in the steel industry in employment./sl/DP/nas