Opposition politicians in France have been quick to pour cold water on the government's plans to significantly increase subsidies for electric and hybrid vehicles, branding them "infantile."

The left-leaning government of Prime Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, unveiled maximum new grants of EUR7,000 (US$8,500) for EVs and EUR4,000 for hybrids today (25 July) as part of its response to PSA Peugeot Citroen's recent announcement it was to radically cut jobs and factories in France.

The government also unveiled further measures in Paris aimed at injecting EUR350m of investment into new technology,  from the European Investment Bank and the R&D programme initiative from the European Union.

The shopping list of boosts for a struggling French domestic auto sector also included a tax credit boost for small and medium sized businesses, although how this practically translates is as yet, unclear.

The supply chain will also have access to around EUR450m, although again, details remain sketchy so far as to this fund's composition and exact use.

However, it is the headline-catching EV and hybrid subsides that have already drawn fire from French opposition politicians in the Assemblee Nationale, who have branded them "infantile" and drawn up without proper consultation.

"I have the impression that we are seeing just what we [saw] in 2009, nothing more," said leader of the centrist Union des Democrates et Independantes (UDI) party, Jean-Louis Borloo on French television.

"Perhaps a bit more psychological bonus - I find this method of inventing a [plan] in a single office [for] an industry that accounts for 10% of our economic activity of our country...seems to be somewhat infantile."

French Economics Minister, Arnaud Montebourg, is defending his plan however, particularly with regard to an increased uptake of hybrid vehicles and for more company car users to become involved in the scheme.

"We will be increasing the bonus for hybrid vehicles to EUR4,000," said Montebourg. "This bonus will be extended to company cars - this is a universal bonus that has the goal of massively provoking orders for hybrids.

"Th spirit of this plan is to have reciprocal commitments in our automotive sector. The objective is to sustain production sites, jobs and R&D in France. The State will monitor each party's commitments."

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