MILAN (Reuters) -- European nations need to coordinate their efforts to make sure that their automakers can compete with Asian peers after incentives run out, European transport commissioner Antonio Tajani said.
"My first initiative will be a meeting of industry ministers to talk about cars. To push for a real European policy," he told Italian daily La Stampa.
Some major European markets saw car sales rise in 2009 as a whole after various governments introduced cash incentives for drivers to trade in old cars for new, but prospects for 2010 are less certain as subsidies start to reduce or end.
Most analysts predict European car sales to be down by at least 1 million units from the 14.48 million cars and light commercial vehicles sold in 2009.
Fiat S.p.A. said on Thursday it would accept any government decision not to renew Italian incentives.
A new round of government subsidies to spark new-car sales has become a bargaining chip in a political fight in Italy over Fiat's plans to close a money-losing car factory in Sicily.
"Yes, we have arrived at the end," Tajani said in the interview with La Stampa.
He said there needed to be a strategy to prepare Europe's car industry for the future market by agreeing to make low-emissions cars.
"We have about 800 million cars in the world. Within 20 years that will jump to 2.5 billion, maybe even 3 billion. At that point oil will be a more scarce resource and the price of gasoline will be less sustainable. There will need to be other resources."