"No need to hinder Chinese brands in Europe," says Renault boss

“The thing that isn’t in the habits or the rules of the European community [is manufacturing support]. We tend to finance innovation projects but not manufacturing, so you get the money to develop a platform but not to put the platform on the line.

“The money is available, but the logic only addresses one part of the story. When you want to sell cars, you have to produce them, and to produce them, you have to build plants and infrastructure. And the system of subsidies in general across sectors isn’t designed to support manufacturing development, only R&D.”

The ACEA will publish a study in the coming weeks, conducted by an independent body, that compares the structures and impact of the three systems: US, China and Europe.

“It’s very difficult to compare them,” de Meo said. “I think it will be very useful.”

He said that European manufacturers “want to be listened to” by the European Commission and suggested that the carbon-reducing regulations imposed upon car makers aren’t a suitable stand-in for structured support.

Asked how he and other industry representatives can promote this argument, he explained: “That’s part of the work we are doing with the ACEA [European Automobile Manufacturers Association].

“For sure, the starting point isn’t glorious for us as an association, as a sector, because we’ve always played a little bit defensive but finally ended up doing the things in the end. We say ‘no, no, no’, but there’s an assumption that we will complain but then we will do it. I think that impacted the credibility of the industry.”

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