When you talk to automotive executives about whether the German government should give financial aid to Opel, you run into unanimous opposition, unless you talk to a General Motors manager.
The arguments against state help for Opel are understandable, but they are also a little hypocritical.
It's true that a job made secure with state help at Opel makes a job at Volkswagen, Ford of Europe or Daimler less secure.
But the arguments against helping Opel are hypocritical because the same people opposing Opel aid often vehemently demand government incentives for electric vehicles.
They want the help for electric cars in the form of sales or research incentives, depending on their companies' vehicles' state of development.
Across the globe, a rush to subsidies has broken out. In the U.S., a $7,500 tax incentive beckons electric-car buyers. In France, buyers will receive 5,000 euros. China plans bonuses of 6,500 to 9,000 euros.
Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn, a staunch advocate of the electric car, says his company will focus on markets with the highest subsidies.
No one is asking the essential question any more: Why is the electric car getting this kind of financial help?
The electric car has long since become the fetish of green mobility. But it isn't worthy of the honor. Germany gets a high proportion of its electricity from power stations fuelled by coal. So an electric car is no cleaner than an advanced gasoline- or diesel-fueled car here.
The situation is even worse in China. The Chinese government is promoting electric mobility to strengthen its auto industry and to reduce its dependence on imported oil, not to help the environment.
China wants to turn is gigantic coal deposits into electricity. But if coal powers our vehicles, polar bears will be soon be getting sunburn.
France's nuclear power stations don't seem to be the greenest solution either.
Nonetheless, it's considered a settled matter that the electric car is the future.
Guido Reinking is editor of Automobilwoche.