France going green
In Paris, the French Ministry for industrial revcovery (Ministère du redressment productif) has announced in late July, that the government will support the French automobile industry in the production of green mobility technologies. The promotion of e-mobility and hybrid vehicles is said to re-boost the industry, which has been suffering from a crisis lately. Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault testified that France would not leave the industry in the lurch.
Production and sales within the French automobile industry had dramatically declined in recent years. The group PSA Peugeot Citroen had already publicly announced that a reduction of 8,000 positions was taken into consideration. Only a mere two million vehicles will be produced in 2012 in France. Compared to the 2005 figures this constitutes a reduction of around 40 percent. The situation seems precarious.
As a result, the government is investing millions of Euro into a green industry renaissance "Made in France". 250 million Euro will gor to small business owners developping new technologies; 350 million Euro will be put into research, 50 million Euro have been budgeted for the construction of charging stations for electric cars. There will also be tax rebates, which should make further developments more attractive.
But the green thoughts have to be promoted two-directionally. Buyers hence will also be rewarded with beneficial discounts on purchases of environmentally friendly cars. France intends to provide about 500 million Euro for buyers to choose carbon-neutral vehicles. The subvention amount for the purchase of an electric car will be increased from 5000 Euro to 7000 Euro, hybrid vehicle purchases will be supported with up to 4000 Euro as compared to 2000 Euro as of now.
Nonetheless there are some serious gaps in the system. Despite Peugeot being a pioneer in e-mobility, having occupied the field for more than 70 years and having put to market Europe's first electric standard car (the Peugeot iON), the foreign competition in the field is on the rise. Chances are that the monetary incentives will also support foreign green vehicle producers to a rather large extent. In short, there is no warranty for the French automotive industry to get back up on their feet.
Katrin Wellenberg, translation: Isabel Banzhaf