Kronach auto industry evaluates economic stimulus package
Entrepreneurs often do not hold back with criticism of the grand coalition. With the economic stimulus package, this is obviously different – at least for some of the car dealers and automotive suppliers in the region. The general tenor is that the direction of the push is right.
The plant manager of power-cast zitzmann, jens soldner, speaks of "positive incentives for the consumer and his industry, which he associates with the stimulus package. The company is 100 percent an automotive supplier. At the beginning of the corona crisis, when carmakers reduced or shut down production, this also had an impact on the company’s workforce, he recalls. A large part of the workforce was forced into short-time work and thus suffered wage losses. In april, power-cast zitzmann was particularly affected by the corona crisis, with capacity utilization at less than 20 percent.
According to soldner, the economy is slowly picking up again. He hopes that 80 percent of the workforce will be able to return to regular work in the course of the month.
Adjusting to the market
He sees the temporary reduction in value-added tax as having some incentive for consumers to buy a new car. Aubert soldner regrets that the purchase of cars with internal combustion engines is not required, as the company produces parts for such vehicles. But, the plant manager continues, power-cast zitzmann is also adapting to the new automotive market.
In the future, the company intends to focus more on magnesium die castings for electric vehicles, which are light in weight and have a low specific density. In addition, such parts are easily recyclable. Despite a certain revival of the market, jens soldner assumes that it will still take months before a certain normality will be established in the automotive industry.
Hardly any impact expected
At the scholz company in gundelsdorf, the share of production for automobiles is 50 percent. The company supplies parts for gasoline, diesel and electric cars. The premium for electric vehicles will not have a significant impact on sales, believes managing director martin rebhan. However, as he explained to our newspaper, the other sectors are also experiencing significant declines in sales as a result of covid-19. The departments affected are on short time. By contrast, the moldmaking, technical center and medical technology divisions are operating on a regular basis. "We now hope that the economic stimulus package will boost demand in all sectors."
The economic stimulus package is positive for the overall economic situation, according to the chairman of the management board of dr. Schneider group of companies, thomas stadelmann. However, it will not have any significant impact on the german automotive industry. The effect of the reduction in value-added tax will also be limited. In his opinion, it would have been more sensible to extend the purchase premiums to gasoline and diesel vehicles as an overprint for the year 2020. German car manufacturers do not yet have enough e-cars available.
On the other hand, the purchasing program for electric cars will benefit foreign manufacturers, such as tesla. Stadelmann points out that other countries where the dr. Schneider group of companies is active, will go other ways. In spain, for example, efforts are being made to stabilize overall demand in the automotive market. As with the other two automotive suppliers surveyed, dr. Schneider production employees still on short time.
More inquiries noted
"Since thursday, the number of callers inquiring about a car has increased", guido wich-knoten, head of used cars at the muller car dealership, says. It speaks of a certain buying restraint in the past three months. He attributes the increased interest in new cars to the reduction in the value-added tax rate and also to the purchase program for electric vehicles.
"The stimulus package is already creating incentives for people", believes his colleague, marco neumann, who is responsible for the sale of new cars at the car dealership. He points out that car manufacturers are investing in electric cars and that buyers can receive up to 9,000 euros in premiums when they purchase such a vehicle (3,000 euros from the manufacturer and 6,000 euros from the federal government). This means, for example, that a smart fortwo is available from 12,000 euros instead of 22,000 euros.
But this will only be a push. Consumers are still reluctant to buy an electric vehicle as a first car, not least because of its range. On the other hand, there is increased interest in plug-in hybrids, especially for business cars, he said. In this segment, the so-called 0.5 percent tax with a halved assessment basis compared to models with internal combustion engines was already in effect. This is now to be further reduced to 0.25 percent. This regulation will in turn create incentives, it is said.