The development of cars and car components has become a more and more complex affair, requiring more and more inputs from a wide range of actors and technology domains. Hence, automotive firms must look increasingly beyond the intramural setting and reach out to external partners and sources to master innovation processes. The sensitisation of firms towards so-called open innovation practises can be facilitated by means of innovation support schemes run by public actors. The present paper evaluates the additionalities of several of such schemes from the UK and the Netherlands. It concludes that the schemes succeed in getting SMEs warm for sourcing external knowledge, skills and facilities for innovation purposes and in getting them into the open innovation mode. Notably the higher equity schemes demonstrate relevant and sustainable effects
in this regard. Nonetheless, opening up automotive SMEs for cooperative and multiparty innovation practises appears is for many cases a question of long breath, and will require sustained action to really institutionalise multi-party innovation practises into their behavioural patterns.