Automotive sector: time for a profound transformation

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While Bruno Le Maire announced on May 18th that a recovery plan for the automotive sector would be implemented within a fortnight and that Emmanuel Macron will announce tomorrow his support plan for the automotive sector, the Nicolas Hulot Foundation publishes "What strategy for the automotive sector in France after the Covid-19 crisis? ”. In this note, the FNH presents its diagnosis of this unprecedented shutdown and sets out the conditions for a recovery that is compatible with the ecological and social challenges to be met. One out of five jobs has been cut in ten years in the automotive sector, the sector does not respect France's climate commitments: Bruno Le Maire's support plan must put an end to these inconsistencies! The FNH explains how.

For the Nicolas Hulot Foundation, the support plan should be composed of short-term measures to encourage the purchase of electric vehicles (and therefore under no circumstances diesel or petrol vehicles), but also a specific endowment fund to enable local authorities to invest in recharging stations and to deploy electric vehicle sharing services. In the medium term, this aid must be made conditional on the definition of a new sector contract that will make it possible to halt the loss of jobs in the region while at the same time being in line with France's climate commitments.

Targeted emergency measures for electricity

For the Nicolas Hulot Foundation, aid for the purchase of vehicles for households and companies, intended to boost the market, cannot be yet another scrappage bonus, without any environmental criteria or social concerns. Any aid for the purchase of new vehicles, whether diesel or petrol, would be a historic misunderstanding. They should therefore all be focused solely on electric vehicles (bonuses, conversion premiums, interest-free loans, retrofits, etc.).
In addition, an exceptional fund is to be voted for local authorities to enable them to invest massively in the network of recharging stations, as well as in the deployment of electric vehicle sharing services. These are the means to create long-term jobs in the regions.

Long-term measures to transform the sector in favour of employment and environmental objectives

The request of the High Council for the Climate must be heard: the strategies of companies in the automotive sector must be aligned with the objectives of the national low-carbon strategy. This is a minimum counterpart to the public aid granted to the sector. At present, there is no commitment to do so. However, the money injected must make it possible to define environmental and social criteria in purchasing policies to support the local integration of the sector and the sustainability of jobs (1 job in 5 has been eliminated in 10 years), or to finance training plans adapted to new needs.

In order to precisely define this new sector contract, it could be interesting to provide for example for the organisation of the sector's Estates General. But more than that, we need to invest in what has value for the future: it is time to reinforce the investments of the State and the main principals in the Alliance for Batteries. It is the new battery production projects, the location in France of the production of small electric vehicles, recycling activities...that will create the jobs of tomorrow.

Read the note " What strategy for the automotive industry in France after the COVID-19 crisis? "

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Source : Nicolas Hulot Foundation for Nature and Mankind

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