Macron unveils €8bn French auto rescue, champions electric cars

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French President Emmanuel Macron wears a face mask, as he speaks to a worker during a visit at the Valeo manufacturer plant, in Etaples, northern France, Tuesday 26 May 2020

President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday announced an €8bn (US$8.8bn) plan to revive France’s auto industry by making it the European leader in electric cars, boosting a sector brought to its knees by the coronavirus.

Macron said the package would include one billion euros in subsidies to encourage purchases of electric and hybrid cars and set a target of France producing a million green cars annually by 2025.

The “historic” intervention will aim to turn France’s rechargeable car industry into Europe’s biggest, the president said.

Visiting a car factory in Etaples in northern France, Macron said his government would seek to boost flagging customer demand with a subsidy of 7,000 euros for each individual buying an electric car, 5,000 for each company purchase, and 2,000 per hybrid rechargeable car.

Starting 1 June, there would also be an aid of €3,000 for converting from a petrol-fuelled car to a less-polluting one – and as much as €5,000 to upgrade to an electric vehicle, the president said.

He said that some three quarters of French people would be eligible for the incentives.

“In total, the state will provide a bit more than €8bn in aid to the sector,” said Macron.