Tesla’s Model 3 push in Europe could see a notable boost, thanks to a potential policy update that would abolish import duties on American cars entering the region. The potential update was related by German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier to German newspaper Welt am Sonntag on Sunday.
“We have already said we are ready to bring tariffs on important industrial products down to zero. This would eliminate accusations that US car tariffs are lower than EU ones,” he said.
The Economy Minister stated that the European Union would offer US exporters other incentives, including sparing them from the need to certify their products under EU laws. Explaining further, Altmaier explained that a continued tariff war between the EU and the United States would only hurt both economies.
Altmaier’s recent comments seem to be a direct response to US President Donald Trump’s statements back in May, when he stated that he might slap tariffs of up to 25% on European cars and auto parts. Trump, who has maintained a stance alleging unfair trade relations between the US and the EU, has postponed his decision about the additional tariffs until November this year.
Following a conversation with US trade representative Robert Lighthizer, the German Economy Minister stated earlier this month that a solution to the dispute between the US and the EU could be reached by the end of the year.
Presently, the EU imposes import taxes of about 10% on cars entering from the United States. This additional tax, which comes on top of the VAT that car buyers have to pay when purchasing a vehicle, has become an unnecessary handicap for companies like Tesla, whose cars become more expensive compared to local offerings.
If Europe does end up cutting the import tax on American cars, Tesla’s lineup will immediately become more affordable. This policy update would come in at the perfect time as well, considering that Tesla is currently starting its Model 3 push into the region. Such an update would likely cause some ripples in Europe’s EV market, as local manufacturers would lose one of their key advantages to companies like Tesla.
The Tesla Model 3 holds a lot of potential for the European market. Being smaller than the Model S and Model X, the Model 3 is a better fit for European territories that traditionally have smaller roads. The vehicle’s all-electric nature also fits perfectly with the region’s aggressive efforts at adopting a zero-emissions fleet as well.
This was demonstrated earlier this month, when the UK Treasury confirmed that employees who drive zero-emission company cars would pay no benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax for the year, making vehicles like the Model 3 far more cost-effective and practical compared to gas-powered competitors like the BMW M3.