Carmakers foot German EV subsidy bill after state backs out

BERLIN (Reuters) -Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Stellantis and the Volkswagen brand say they will fund a subsidy for German electric vehicle (EV) buyers after the government this week abruptly dropped a state-funded scheme.

Still, the offers will end months before the state scheme, which was due to last until the end of 2024.

The economy ministry halted the seven-year scheme on Monday as part of 2024 budget it was forced to revise after a court ruling blew a 60 billion euro ($65.77 billion) hole in its plans.

The scheme had offered up to 6,750 euros funded by the state and carmaker depending on the value of the EV.

Volkswagen on Tuesday said it would fund the full subsidy of 6,750 euros for private customers in Germany who ordered an eligible vehicle from the all-electric ID. range before Dec 15.

Those registered between January 1 and March 31 will receive 4,500 euros, Volkswagen said, in line with a planned reduction in the subsidy scheme.

Volkswagen’s Audi said it would also fund the full subsidy for cars ordered before December 16 and delivered by the end of the year.

Mercedes-Benz said it would do the same for orders delivered and registered between Dec 18-31, and would provide its own portion of the subsidy from January onwards.

Stellantis on Monday said it would fund the full subsidy until December 31 and thereafter a reduced subsidy for vehicles registered by February 29.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats and opposition conservatives criticised the government’s scrapping of the scheme, arguing it would hit German carmakers already struggling to bring down prices to match Chinese and U.S. competitors.

The ADAC automobile association said EVs in Germany were still too expensive to end the subsidy, noting only three models from major carmakers cost less than 30,000 euros.

($1 = 0.9122 euros)

(Writing by Miranda Murray, Victoria Waldersee, Riham Alkousaa; editing by Madeline Chambers and Jason Neely)