Should the billion dollar auto industry in the corona crisis be supported by German taxpayers' money? Before the auto summit on Tuesday, the industry is appealing for a purchase bonus.
Berlin - Before the top talk with Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) on Tuesday, the auto industry demanded a quick decision on purchase premiums for new cars. The president of the industry association VDA, Hildegard Müller, demanded quick clarity about the premium - otherwise the lull in the industry would be aggravated because consumers would further delay their purchase decision. VW boss Herbert Diess asked for purchase premiums for all new vehicles , not just for environmentally friendly e-cars . Opposition came from SPD leader Norbert Walter-Borjans and the Greens.
Before the auto summit on Tuesday: industry is pushing for a stimulus package
VDA President Müller urged a decision in WamS in May or early June. Müller complained of a current "double reluctance" of potential car buyers: They were not only unsettled because of the Corona crisis , but also because of the uncertainty whether they should wait for a government purchase premium . "Political decisions have to be taken promptly so that there is clarity in the market," said Müller. However, she does not assume that at the auto summit on Tuesday there will already be talk of specific amounts in euros. Then, according to a government spokeswoman, Chancellor Merkel wants to speak to representatives of the automotive industry about the "effects of the corona pandemic * on the production and sales of the industry".
Lobbyist Müller emphasized that her association wanted " broad support " not only for electric and hybrid cars, but also for vehicles with internal combustion engines. "But we could imagine a tiered model in which certain drives receive additional bonuses."
As is to be expected, the online interview creates violent headwinds. Many users defend themselves against multi-billion dollar support for the automotive industry, including comedian Michael Mittermeier, who opposes another “scrappage bonus”:
Dear Marion, I think there are as many people who need your car as there are people who need your bike. We in the country, for example. Nevertheless, I think the scrapping practice is a mistake. Because it reinforces that. We lose time in the environment, climate and technology- Marcus Mittermeier (@MMittermeier) May 3, 2020
First # put the purchase premium into play #Vda and then customers are unsettled because there is no political decision.
To ensure security, I would refuse a purchase premium for cars. Other industries have been hit much harder.
VW chief Diess also urged a decision "in the next few weeks" in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung . Now is not the time for "fundamental discussions"; Rather, a "focus on the economy and pace" is necessary. The premium is not specifically about the car industry, but about the economy as a whole. This emphasized that the premium should not only apply to electric cars: "We need the premium regardless of the type of drive , for the entire product range."
The demands of the car industry are causing criticism in politics
The demands of the automotive industry met with skepticism in politics. SPD leader Norbert Walter-Borjans declined new purchase premiums for new cars with reference to "the rich profits of recent years" in the auto industry. "To consider taxpayers as guarantors for the dividends of shareholders is absurd," said Walter-Borjans to Business Insider .
Green leader Robert Habeck demanded that a purchase bonus should only be given for ecologically exemplary vehicles . In addition, bonuses and dividends from the companies in question would have to be withheld in the event of government funding, he said on Deutschlandfunk.
Habeck was generally skeptical about the need for help in the automotive industry . "On the one hand, the automotive industry brags about how well it is doing, what profits it has made," he said. "On the other hand, she wants taxpayers' money to save her companies. That doesn't go together."
Loosening of the corona requirements: pressure also from the catering trade
Chancellor Merkel wants to advise the car industry on Tuesday, and on Wednesday Chancellor and Prime Ministers want to decide on further steps to relax corona requirements in public life. BDI boss Dieter Kempf warned of a noticeable opening: "Our companies want and need to know in which stages social and economic life should start again," he told the Funke newspapers.
The hotel and restaurant association also put pressure. On Wednesday, "a clear roadmap for my industry and a rescue fund would have to be decided," CEO Ingrid Hartges told Bild am Sonntag . However, Merkel had already announced that easing in the catering industry should only be discussed at the next federal and state consultations.
Coronavirus infections worldwide are worrying citizens. There is another pathogen that currently represents a far greater danger *.
dpa / pf
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