France is to plough more than EUR8bn (US$8.8bn) into its domestic automotive sector as it looks to address the myriad challenges facing the industry in the light of the coronavirus pandemic.

Addressing Valeo staff at its 48V production plant in Etaples, northern France, President Emmanuel Macron outlined the huge investment flanked by his Finance and Energy Transition Ministers and in the light of a home market which has seen sales plunge 84% as consumer confidence dries up.

“The State, in total, will put more than EUR8bn of aid into the sector,” said Macron. “The OEMs on the other hand, have made a series of commitments consisting of the relocalising of added value production in France. PSA has thus decided to strongly increase its production of electric and hybrid vehicles on French soil.

Renault , for its part, has made several commitments, which will be confirmed by the end of this week. Production of electric vehicles will be tripped in France and quadrupled by 2024. Renault has taken the decision to develop [a] new electric engine [for the] Alliance at Cleon – a project originally destined for Asia.

“Renault will rejoin the European electric battery programme, which groups together PSA, Total and Saft.”

The French President also outlined several financial incentives to switch to cleaner vehicles with individual purchasers able to access grants of EUR7,000. Businesses and Councils will benefit from a EUR5,000 incentive.

“This is an unprecedented offer – no other European country has a system of support so ambitious and exclusively financed by the State,” added Macron.

Further details are expected from the Finance Ministry.