A government-driven sectoral transformation? French and German policy responses to the COVID-crisis in the automotive industry

Publication Type:

Journal Article


International Journal of Automotive Technology and Management, Volume 23, Number 1, p.5 – 21 (2023)




Automotive industry, Automotive sector, Corporatism, COVID crisis, Electrified vehicles, European Union, France, Germany, Industrial policies, Post-dirigisme, public policy, Sectoral transformations


This paper explores the COVID-era government stimulus programs for the automotive industry in France and Germany. We assess the design of the sectoral support packages and the related policymaking processes against the background of the discourse about crisis-era state aid as an instrument of economic restructuring. We place the sectoral stimulus programs in the context of changing EU-level regulations and the following three country-level characteristics: the revival of industrial policy thinking among national policymakers; the growing economic pressures in the domestic automotive sectors; and the established structures of government-industry interest intermediation. Our results suggest that in both countries, large and technologically transformative recovery programs were introduced for the automotive sector. However, both support packages had a rather structurally conservative character and were influenced by different pre-existing state-industry dynamics: the corporatist concertation in Germany and post-dirigiste state interventionism in France. Copyright © 2023 Inderscience Enterprises Ltd.

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