July 31st, 2012
in Op Ed
by Hilary Barnes, Euro Politico Twitting
France's government plans to save the fortunes of the flagging French auto industry by persuading it to produce cars that cannot be sold on commercial terms in any known market by increasing the subsidy on every electric car produced from €5000 to €7000 and on hybrids from €2000 to €4000.
This appears to compound climate madness by a policy of industrial delirium.
The minister for bankrupting industries, er, sorry, read 'industrial redresssement', was reported as describing this as “enabling the French to acquire low cost cars without increasing the household's debt.”
Click on picture for larger image of Citroen C-Zero Electric car.
If the households do not pay, who does? The state? No. The state is the intermediary only. Correct answer of course: the lucky taxpayers, all those householders who do not exploit the offer of a car with a €4,000 or a €7,000 subsidy.
The only way to revive the French industry is for the French industry to improve its competitiveness. For Peugeot this means initially a plan to cut costs, partly by reducing the headcount. Making unmarketable cars is the antithesis of improving competitiveness.
Incidentally, despite government pressure, Peugeot's in its half year financial statement last week, maintains it programme for reducing employment in France by 8,000 over the next 18 months or so
Hilary Barnes is a veteran economics and business writer. He was for 25 years the Copenhagen Correspondent of the Financial Times, Nordic Correspondent of The Economist for part of that time, and published a paper newsletter, sold to international companies in the Nordic countries, called The Scandinavian Economies for over 30 years.