Gabriel Felbermayr, the director of the Economic Research Institute (Wifo), expressed doubts about the feasibility of the EU’s plan to phase out combustion engines by 2035. In an interview with Pragmaticus, he suggested that changes will be necessary in the European guidelines and that the deadline seemed too tight for all EU countries. Felbermayr predicted that exception rules will be required and that the entire decision will not be overturned.
Felbermayr also commented on the impact on the European auto industry, suggesting that it will have to “slowly say goodbye” to the mass market in anticipation of increasing automobile exports from China to Europe. However, he does not believe that punitive tariffs are the right strategy to defend against this and argues for a holistic response.
The director highlighted the challenges faced by specific manufacturers, particularly in France and Italy, but also noted that domestic suppliers have opportunities in the growing electronics sector. He mentioned that while German auto industry is still important to many businesses in Austria, recent years have shown a decreased dependence on Germany.
In addition to questioning the feasibility of the EU’s plan, Felbermayr also commented on its potential impact on certain brands with premium claims who may still hold a competitive advantage against increased automobile exports from China. He believed that punitive tariffs were not