France to help auto sector with measures worth $8.8 billion

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PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday that measures announced to help the country’s car industry recover from the coronavirus crisis were worth more than 8 billion euros ($8.8 billion).

Macron said France wants to become the leading producer of clean cars in Europe.

“We need a motivational goal: Make France Europe’s top producer of clean vehicles by bringing output to more than 1 million electric and hybrid cars per year over the next five years,” Macron told a news conference at a Valeo parts factory in northern France.

France will increase the state bonus for consumers buying electric cars to 7,000 euros from 6,000 euros, Macron said, as part of 1 billion euros earmarked to boost demand after coronavirus lock downs. Plug-in hybrid vehicles will be eligible for a 2,000 euro bonus.

Some of that money will be set aside for car owners who trade-in older, higher-polluting cars for cleaner new or used ones. Macron said the program could fund 200,000 vehicles, starting on June 1.

Autonomous vehicles and electric vehicles will form a key part of the automotive sector after the coronavirus crisis, Macron said.

He also said that no car model currently produced in France should be manufactured in other countries.

Macron added that the government would not sign off on a planned 5 billion euro state loan for Renault until management and unions had concluded talks over the automaker’s French workforce and plants in France.

Renault will announce a cost-cutting plan on Friday.

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Saurabh Shukla

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