Renault chief highlights Franco-German BEV subsidy dichotomy

Different European countries’ BEV incentive schemes are complicating the market

Renault chief highlights Franco-German BEV subsidy dichotomy
Germany's new BEV sales advantage over France hobbled by changing attitudes to subsidies

The European BEV market has become “in the last few months, a little bit more complicated for everyone,” says Luca de Meo, the Italian CEO of France’s Renault of a slowdown in demand growth. “It is actually changing geographically,” he notes.

In particular, he draws a contrast between Germany’s Europe’s largest BEV market, and France, Renault’s home turf and the third-largest national market in Europe.

“For example, the decision was made in Germany to take off subventions, which of course had an impact. On the other side, you have France that is pushing with subventions and the market is very dynamic.”

According to data from the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association, or Acea, in the 20 months from the start of 2022 until August last year, new German BEV sales outstripped those seen in France by at least 32pc in every month bar one — and that was in January ’23 when Germany reduced the generosity of its subsidies (see main image).

In the month prior to that, 73pc more new BEVs were sold in Germany than in France, as Germany consumers anticipated the change in incentives. Ahead of another reduction in German largesse at the end of August last year, German BEV sales outstripped those in France by 77pc. On average, over the 20 months between January ’22 and August ‘23, German BEV sales were 54pc higher than in France.

But in September, German volumes cratered in response to the further tweak in the incentive regime, and were less than 5pc higher than those seen in France that month. And, in December, Germany’s support for BEV buyers was cut again.

Across the Q4 months, the larger German economy has still outsold France in terms of BEVs, but at a consistent level of just under 32pc. Across the last four months of 2023, Germany’s new BEV sales advantage over France was slashed to an average of just 27pc.

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