ROME -- Italy is considering incentives of up to 4,000 euros ($4,550) for buyers of the latest generation of gasoline and diesel cars, joining France and Germany in offering support to the automotive industry, which has been hammered by the coronavirus crisis.
The co-ruling center-left PD party, supported by the centrist Italia Viva, has proposed including the incentives in an economic stimulus package currently under discussion in parliament, which is expected to be approved by mid-July.
The subsidy would be offered to buyers of 'Euro 6' vehicles. It would reach 4,000 euros if buyers scrap cars that are 10 years old or more. The sum would comprise 2,00 euros from the government and 2,000 euros from the dealership and automaker.
Registrations in Italy fell 50 percent in May, when Rome started to progressively lift lockdown measures, after sales were virtually wiped out in April and March.
Incentives would be financed partly by the government via a 250 million euro package and partly by car dealers, according to an amendment to the economic stimulus decree.
The proposal is likely to cause new disagreements within Italy's ruling coalition, with the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement opposing any incentives for combustion engine cars.
However, Industry Minister Stefano Patuanelli, a prominent 5-Star member, said on Friday that in "this exceptional time" Italy needed to "think about ways to support sales, without affecting environmental targets."
Measures to support Italy's automotive market could also be extended as soon as the end of this year, when Rome might be allowed to front-load part of the money it would receive from Europe's recovery fund.
Both France and Germany are also aiming to use incentives to accelerate the shift to cleaner driving, offering subsidies to buyers of electric vehicles.
Germany on Thursday said it will double incentives offered to buyers of ultra-low emission cars as part of an economic recovery package but the government excluded incentives for purchases of pure gasoline and diesel cars, which opponents said would undermine the country's climate protection goals.
An 8 billion-euro plan in France to aid the auto industry includes incentives for electric vehicles that can reach 12,000 euros with scrapping incentives for eligible buyers.