Automotive industry longs for restart: ‘Give customers subsidies on new cars’

A premium for car buyers, that is perhaps the most important measure that the German car industry hoped for in consultation with Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday. She called the bosses of major German manufacturers, such as Volkswagen, Mercedes and BMW.

German car manufacturers are not alone: ​​the other European car manufacturers also hope for help from taxpayers. Four umbrella European car organizations are advocating a new 25-point plan for aid to the car industry. Because sales have collapsed due to the corona crisis. Demand for new cars has also dried up in the Netherlands.

New figures released by the German motor vehicle service show that new car sales fell by 61 percent in April compared to a year earlier. Hence, the pressure on the German government, like that of other European car countries, is intensified.


“Restarting the car industry will function as an engine of overall economic recovery,” said Sigrid de Vries, the Dutch secretary-general of European suppliers, about the points plan. The car lobby points out that almost 14 million people, or 6% of all jobs in the EU, have something to do with the car industry. In the Netherlands, this mainly concerns suppliers.

There is criticism of the plan. Why deduct tax money for a purchase subsidy? “Hospitality and tourism are at least as large sectors and have also been hit hard by the crisis,” says former MEP Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy (D66).

He knows the car industry well from his time as European rapporteur on ‘Dieselgate’, the major emissions scandal from 2014. “It is still too early for these kinds of measures. Who knows, customers may only postpone their purchase for a few months and then buy them still a new car, while for example the catering industry has suffered losses that can no longer be made up. “

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