Italy's scrapping incentive is boosting car sales even more than expected. Sales in April shot up more than 50 percent year-on-year. Spain is enjoying the benefits of a similar scheme.
The temptation to renew these incentives will be strong.
But look what happened in France after nearly two years of incentives ended last autumn. Sales plummeted and a price war began. Carmakers are forced to make up part of the expired government price cut. Customers demand it.
One reason for France's hard landing was that incentives went on too long. They were renewed in 1995.
The current round of incentives gives the Italian and Spanish markets a needed boost. They improve the environment and show the benefits of modern small cars to buyers who own and operate vehicles with out-of-date technology. But government-sponsored incentives are dangerously addictive.
Carmakers in Italy and Spain need them today, but must be prepared to live without them tomorrow.