Threat or promise? E-auto boom could cost some industry jobs

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ZWICKAU, Germany (AP) - (5/22/19) - Over 115 years the auto industry in the east German town of Zwickau has lived through wrenching upheavals. Now it's facing more change: top employer Volkswagen's total shift into electric cars at the local plant.

The world's largest carmaker is creating its first all-electric plant and phasing out production of the internal combustion-engine cars built by generations of local workers.

The electric transformation raises questions about the long-term prospects of the auto industry, which employs 840,000 people in Germany and millions worldwide, as a source of jobs for communities like Zwickau.

Fewer workers will likely be needed, with different skills. And there is no mass market yet for battery-only cars. Volkswagen's investment is taken as a sign of hope for the community, but the longer term trends are less certain.

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