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Talks on support for German car industry delayed: Bild

The spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Germany

BERLIN (Reuters) - Closely-watched talks between top German politicians and car industry representatives to discuss support for a sector hit hard by the coronavirus crisis will no longer take place on Tuesday, the head of the VDA car association told Bild.

The top-selling daily quoted VDA President Hildegard Mueller as saying Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition parties still had to agree on measures and that the meeting was off.

"But the question of an economic stimulus for the automotive industry is still on the agenda," she said.

Merkel's government, comprising her own conservatives and the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD), are due to present a post-crisis stimulus package to support the recovery in Europe's biggest economy next week.

Support for the car industry is likely to be part of that. Under discussion are subsidies for environmentally friendly technologies and cash incentives to buy new cars with zero or at least low carbon emissions, but details are still unclear.

"The economic consequences of the pandemic are still being masked by the strength of our welfare state," Mueller told Bild.

Global car sales have slumped as production lines and showrooms shut in response to the pandemic. A survey by the Ifo institute earlier this month showed the business climate in Germany's auto sector hit its lowest level since 1991.


(Reporting by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)