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Date: February 6, 2024
Pedro Kaiser
By Pedro Kaiser
Italy
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Italy’s leaders vs Stellantis CEO: Incentives for EVs spark new debate

Lacking legislative progress regarding the electric car industry and charging infrastructure, Italy plans to allocate 1 billion euros to encourage purchases in the sector. What are the key points of the discussion?
Carlos Tavares, CEO of Stellantis in Italy.
Carlos Tavares, CEO of Stellantis.

Recently, there was a clash of statements stemming from the criticisms of Carlos Tavares, CEO of Stellantis, towards the Italian government.

The assessments of the businessman arose after Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni demanded the multinational industrial group increase the production of electric vehicles in the national territory.

Carlos Tavares, CEO of Stellantis.

“Italy should do more to protect jobs in the automotive sector instead of looking for scapegoats and attacking Stellantis NV, the owner of Fiat,” Tavares responds.

Furthermore, the company representative adds that the political leadership is “trying to avoid taking responsibility.”

What is the reason for this?

The businessman affirms that if subsidies for the purchase of electric vehicles are not granted, Italian plants are at risk.

It is worth noting that the producer manufactured a total of 751,384 low and zero-emission cars in the country throughout 2023.

This represents an increase of 9,6 per cent compared to 2022.

Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.
Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

However, Meloni is not satisfied and demands that the units increase to at least one million.

In this sense, the Prime Minister criticizes the business conglomerate for its intentions to move car production to lower-cost countries at a crucial moment in the electrification transition in Italy.

In addition, the Portuguese businessman is not afraid to make assessments of the national situation: “The electric vehicle market in the country is very small. It is a direct consequence of the government not incentivizing the purchase of these types of cars.”

It is worth emphasizing that in 2023, the country reached 1.57 million new registrations of low and zero-emission cars, according to data from the Ministry of Transport.

Nevertheless, the market share for electric vehicles is only four per cent, positioning it below the regional average, which is around 14 per cent.

In this regard, local authorities are considering allocating 930 million euros to encourage purchases of domestically produced EVs.

Specifically, one of the main objectives of the plan is to encourage lower-income families to embrace electromobility.

The proposed financial incentives would have a value of up to 13,750 euros to enable citizens with annual incomes below 30,000 euros to transition from a traditional combustion engine personal vehicle to a pure electric model.

Read more: Italy could allocate €930 million to boost EV purchases. Justified measure?

Tavares’s statements did not go unnoticed, and there were replies.

Minister of Industry Adolfo Urso.

Italian Minister of Industry Adolfo Urso states, “If Tavares believes that Italy should do as France did, which increased its active participation in Stellantis, let him ask us.”

“The difference between France and us is that they are involved in the group’s capital, and we are not. Make a request, and we can discuss it together,” adds Urso.

It is worth remembering that France holds a 6.1 per cent stake in Stellantis through Bpifrance, state-owned, and has representatives on the company’s board of directors; benefits that Italy lacks.

The conglomerate based in Amsterdam operates in more than 40 countries and has 14 brands, including Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Citroën, DS, Fiat, Jeep, Lancia, Maserati, Opel, Peugeot, Ram, and Vauxhall.

How did Italy contribute to the development of national electromobility?

Since electric vehicles entered the global transportation conversation, a series of legislations have been implemented in the southern country to encourage this sector.

Among them, the purchase grant stands out, which provides incentives to consumers who acquire vehicles with CO2 emissions of 60 g/km or less.

Furthermore, according to the Italian budget law for 2020, public administrators, when renewing their fleet, must reserve 50 per cent of the quota for the purchase or rental of electric, hybrid, or hydrogen vehicles.

On the other hand, in most Italian regions, users of low or zero-emission cars enjoy tax reductions.

Among other benefits, it is worth highlighting free parking or the freedom to drive in restricted traffic areas. However, these benefits exist at the local level and not nationally.

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