In the United States, we take it for granted that we'll find out how much executives are paid, whether or not we think it's too much.
That's because the SEC requires publicly traded companies to disclose the compensation paid to top execs. And most automakers and big suppliers fall into that category.
That hasn't always been the case in Europe, where execs typically are paid a fraction of what their U.S. counterparts earn. Slowly, other countries have encouraged -- or required -- their industrialists to reveal their pay.
Now, Germany is the only major country where companies refuse to disclose how much their honchos are paid. The companies say it is a private matter.
But that could change soon, according Automobilwoche, a sister publication of Automotive News. For the first time, Volkswagen will disclose the compensation information in next year's financial report.
Once VW does it, it should be only a matter of time until Porsche, DaimlerChrysler and BMW feel the public pressure and do the same.