FRANKFURT -- Billionaire investor Wilbur Ross called for a Europewide car scrapping program to help the industry avoid a forecast decline in demand of more than 1 million units in 2010.
“I see it as another one-year bridge until we are through this” recession, Ross said on the sidelines of an industry event here Thursday.
Ross is the owner of U.S.-based interiors supplier International Automotive Components Group and CEO of hedge fund W.L. Ross & Co.
He recommended that a coalition of automakers, suppliers, dealers and environmentalists lobby Brussels to launch such a program.
“It would be easier to promote and easier for the public to understand,” he said. “Costs would be allocated to the countries where the cars are sold.”
Automaker executives predict the end of scrapping will hit Germany particularly hard. The decline will be about 1 million units in 2010 compared with 2009, said Toyota Motor Europe head of sales, marketing and after sales Andrea Formica, who expects other markets will be flat.
Earlier this month, Germany's 5 billion euro scrapping program ran out of money. The subsidy is responsible for the country's 26.8 percent increase in sales to 2.67 million units after eight months.