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23 Apr 2020, 13:51
Sören Amelang

Economy minister calls for tying car industry support to emissions

Clean Energy Wire

Government support for the German car industry should not lose sight of the fight against climate change, according to economy minister Peter Altmaier. "We must also help the car industry to overcome the collapse of economies around the world," Altmaier told the newspaper Passauer Neue Presse according to a report by dpa newswire carried by Focus Online. "This is only possible with new and innovative solutions that will ultimately lead to us achieving the German government's climate targets faster and better," he added. Asked whether buyers' premiums for new vehicles would be the right way to go, Altmaier said: "There will be no one-to-one repetition of earlier measures. We should encourage the purchase of cars with low CO2 emissions."

The German car industry has called for a buyers' premium to boost car demand, but it's a moot point whether these should be limited to low-emission propulsion systems. According to the report, the government will discuss support mechanisms with the car industry on 5 May. In the wake of the global financial crisis 2008, the German government introduced a controversial cash-for-clunkers programme to subsidise new car purchases that was not tied to low-emission technologies. VW COO Ralf Brandstätter has also said a premium could be aligned with the CO₂ emissions of the individual model, adding that the premium should also include modern combustion engines.

"If the government and Volkswagen are in agreement, there is a high probability that the proposals will be implemented," wrote Frank-Thomas Wenzel in Frankfurter Rundschau. He adds there are discussions within the industry about tying the premium to emissions – the lower the emission, the higher the premium. This would mean electric cars would get the highest support, but the government already has a buyers' premium for electric cars in place. A scheme along those lines would boost the demand for small vehicles, which would mainly benefit the Volkswagen group, but might not help Daimler and BMW much, Wenzel writes. "The premium could come practically simultaneously with the introduction of the electric car ID3 from VW - the ID3 is the big hope of the group."

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