Munich / Berlin (dpa) – Almost two weeks before the next main meeting on the state of the automotive industry, Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder is proposing significantly extended purchase premiums for electric and hybrid vehicles.
“It is important that we maintain orders for a long time,” the CSU politician told a “Handelsblatt” online conference on Thursday.
Currently, the order books are well full in the hybrid and electronic business, thanks to increased subsidies in the summer. In view of the turmoil in the industry and the crisis in the crown, it must now be a matter of further stabilizing the automotive sector. But there are also doubts as to whether additional subsidies are decisive or whether the framework conditions for electric mobility should improve.
With regard to alternative units, the motto should be, according to Söder: “Extend, expand and perhaps establish more.” He named a period until at least 2024 or 2025. Until now, the premiums are valid until the end of 2021. The expanded financing for electric and hybrid cars could also have a “broader effect” of the measures for the entire automotive industry and, at the same time, “greater social acceptance” Achieve, believes the Prime Minister.
Another “automobile summit” between the federal government, industry representatives and trade unionists, as well as the heads of government of the three “automobile countries”, Bavaria, Lower Saxony and Baden-Württemberg, is scheduled for November 17. Parallel to the general decline in demand due to the pandemic, the industry is struggling with the costly switch to alternative units and increased digitization in production and products. Many jobs are at risk, especially with smaller providers. “We want to achieve transformation,” said the Bavarian head of government, in whose state the headquarters of BMW, Audi and MAN are located.
The premium for buying electric cars, which was already widened in the summer, generated a record 32,324 requests for financing in Germany in October, three times more than a year ago. 23,158 new electric cars were registered, meaning that one in twelve new vehicle registrations had only one electric motor. In general, state subsidies are limited to cars with alternative propulsion. Pure electric cars, for example, are financed according to the above concept with 9,000 euros: the federal government pays 6,000 euros, manufacturers the rest. Since mid-November, buyers can take advantage of federal and state programs at the same time.
Söder explained: “We still have to add and increase.” In the beginning, it had also asked for bonuses for the purchase of modern cars of pure diesel and gasoline to cushion the drop in sales caused by the virus crisis. Now he is campaigning for a ban on fossil burners from 2035: “I think that would be a good target. The climate pandemic will last longer than the corona pandemic. “
For Bearing Point management consultancy auto expert Stefan Penthin, premiums alone are neither ecologically nor economically successful. If politicians want to help car manufacturers and suppliers in the crisis, they are sometimes “bypassing the market” because they only affect 15 percent of vehicles. Due to high but limited subsidies, there are long wait times. And because it is not the purchase date but the registration date that is decisive, sales could collapse in mid-2021. Policy could improve here.
Also, automakers should do more to make sure there are enough charging stations, according to Penthin. Many consumers would still have doubts about the range. Furthermore, the environmental balance depends on the combination of electricity: with coal-fired electricity, electric cars could pollute the climate more than diesel.
Volkswagen, but also BMW, Daimler and Opel are significantly expanding their range of electric vehicles. VW’s flagship brand, for example, recently launched the Golf-class ID.3, and the ID.4 compact SUV will follow at the turn of the year. According to CEO Herbert Diess, the British luxury arm Bentley should also become an electric brand in the next four to five years.
In the interests of the auto industry, “a fundamental debate on Germany as an industrial location” is also necessary, Söder said, with a cut in corporate taxes of up to a quarter. Energy costs should also decrease. He said of the funding program planned by the federal government for auto suppliers: “I can only support that.”
The FDP is critical of the focus on additional premiums. “The German auto industry does not need any subsidies from Söder, but finally fair framework conditions,” said the vice-chairman of the Bundestag parliamentary group, Michael Theurer. Battery cars should not be trusted “unilaterally”. However, Söder also stressed that he thought it was important to be open to fuel cell technology and synthetic fuels.