The auto market is schizophrenic. Italian demand is low (-24.3% since the beginning of the year, around 180,000 machines sold less than in the first five months of 2021, a year that is already not exceptional), but prices are high. Homes and dealers have almost eliminated the discounts, but the government has allocated 650 million euros to incentivize the modernization of the fleet. Funds for vehicles with CO2 emissions between 61 and 135 g / km (170 million) ran out within 10 days. For motorists, the good news is that the government has extended the deadlines for confirming the operation and communicating registration details by almost three months (from 180 to 270 days). The new deadline should allow the houses to deliver the cars, which currently have an extremely long time due not only to the shortage of semiconductors, but to the repercussions of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Italian families – the eco-bonus concerns only private individuals – have made very little use of the allocations provided for less polluting cars, from 0 to 20 g / km of CO2 and from 21 to 60. From 25 May to today, barely the 12% of the 445 million euros for electric and plug-in models, models with less emissions on the road, but more expensive.
Apparently, families still can’t afford battery-powered vehicles or don’t trust them yet. “There is no doubt that the government will have to do something, even if I don’t know what,” observes Aldolfo De Stefani Cosentino, president of Federauto. “It must be recognized that at the EU level it was the only one to provide incentives for even the most modern cars with thermal engines, but the problem remains,” he adds. It is the same that also identifies Michele Crisci, president of Unrae, the association that represents foreign manufacturers operating in Italy: “The law excludes companies and company fleets”, both point out.
According to Crisci, the environmental objective of European policy must be pursued in Italy with a pincer operation: “On the one hand, incentives between eight hundred million and one billion a year are needed for conversion (the allocation for 2022 was 650 million, Ed.) and on the other hand it is necessary to act on taxation to encourage the purchase of the most environmentally friendly cars by companies ”, insists the president of Unrae. In Italy the VAT deductibility is 40%, in Germany, where company cars are worth almost two thirds of the volumes, it is total.
“Fleet cars feed the second-hand market within a few years”, explains de Stefani Cosentino. Under normal conditions they also help to calm prices, which are now high because there is a shortage of product due to the perfect storm that hit the sector. “It is important that companies have access to financing – insist the presidents of Unrae and Federauto – to bring cleaner vehicles to the market: once they leave the new circuit, they enter the used one at half prices, allowing private individuals to buy them” .
There remains the doubt that the car manufacturers are the real beneficiaries of the incentives, as oil companies seem to be with the discount on fuels: “We have gone from overproduction and underproduction, even unwanted – observes Crisci – but I am convinced that the this year they will not be like what we have seen. But the car industry is investing heavily not only in electrification, but also in autonomous driving ».
Even if after the vote of the European Parliament for the ban on the marketing of cars and light commercial vehicles with internal combustion engines, there are still some steps far from formal (first the Council of the European Union must express itself in which the governments of the member states and then we need the so-called “trilogue”, mediation with the Commission and the European Parliament itself), there is however concern about the possible repercussions of the turnaround.
Crisci urges a “pragmatic approach to achieve the environmental objective”. De Stefani Cosentino also invokes a European industrial pragmatism: “It seems to me that this war has taught us nothing,” he admonishes. “To be sustainable, the transition must not allow us to hand ourselves over to the Chinese: they have control over all the raw materials necessary for the production of batteries and we focus exclusively on electricity,” he recalls. In Crisci’s opinion, the turnaround to zero emissions is instead an opportunity: “There are companies, including Italian ones, that can grow by focusing on innovation”.