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Publication of Cars 21 Final Report

The Competitive Automotive Regulatory System for the 21st Century (CARS 21) final report has been published, and it lists ways of strengthening the future of the automobile industry in Europe… Read more

The Report comprises 6 Chapters headed:

• A strategic vision for the EU automotive industry
• Enhancing business conditions
• Improving competitiveness on global markets
• Lowering CO2 emissions
• Deploying new mobility solutions
• Reducing pollutant & noise emissions

Executive summary

The European automotive industry is a key sector for the European economy, providing over 12 million jobs and a positive contribution to the trade balance of around € 70 billion, which is essential for continued European prosperity. It provides the means of transport for the large majority of passenger and freight movements.

In the coming decade, important changes are expected in the global automotive industry in several areas that are likely to profoundly reshape the industry and its markets worldwide.

While the European market is mature, third markets are growing fast, changing the trade flows and the automotive value chain. The intense competitive pressure is growing further and EU companies are increasingly being challenged on their home market and developing opportunities in third markets. To meet long-term greenhouse gas targets as well as air quality objectives, the internal combustion engine will be further improved and the development of breakthrough technologies, such as electrified propulsion, will happen. Sizeable efforts will also need to be made with the further development and distribution of alternative fuels to traditional diesel and gasoline fuels.

In order to analyse these challenges and develop a joint strategy for decision makers from the private and public sectors, the Commission decided at the end of 2010 to re-launch the CARS 21 High Level Group, which was originally set-up in 2005. It was one of the actions listed in the Commission Communication for a “European strategy on clean and energy-efficient vehicles”, adopted on 28th April 2010. The objective of the group is to make policy recommendations to support the competitiveness and sustainable growth of the European automotive industry. A network of strong, well diversified and competitive enterprises along the entire value chain must be at the heart of this strategy.

This Report covers the group’s consensus on the strategic vision for the automotive sector at the horizon 2020 and specific recommendations on a number of policy areas that are of importance for the automotive sector.

European automobile manufacturers welcomed the main recommendations of the final report adopted by the CARS21 High-level Group, but warned that these proposals now need to be executed urgently. The report, produced by a coalition of EU Commissioners, various ministers, automobile industry CEOs, suppliers, trade unions and civil society, lists ways and means of strengthening the future of the automobile industry in Europe.

“It is essential that the findings are implemented and real action taken as soon as possible”, said Sergio Marchionne, President of the industry’s trade association ACEA and CEO of FIAT S.p.A.

The CARS21 report focuses on improving the competitiveness of the auto industry in a global perspective, by streamlining the EU regulatory framework and better coordinating relevant European policies.

“Unfortunately, CARS21 recommendations have often been ignored in the past and we are seeing worrying signals again”, stressed Marchionne. He highlighted, in particular, the way in which Europe is conducting free trade negotiations. “CARS21 rightly emphasises that trade relations should deliver reciprocal benefits, that tariffs should be eliminated and non-tariff barriers dismantled. However, the EU always appears ready to compromise on these conditions as experience has shown with South-Korea and other examples”, said Marchionne. “Trade policy and industrial policy must be aligned and reliable.”

The auto industry needs the EU regulatory framework to be much more supportive in order to sustain and strengthen the sector’s position in the fiercely competitive global market place. Regulation, rigid by nature, too often adds undue complexity and costs, or limits flexibility. The European manufacturers are world leaders in CO2-reduction technologies, road safety solutions and intelligent mobility concepts.

‘Smarter’ policies and regulations can and should reinforce the industry’s competitiveness, and benefit the European economy as a whole.
The outlook for the European vehicle market in 2012 has further worsened due to the challenging economic situation in many of the EU member states. New car registrations are expected to decrease by about 7% compared to 2011 and, though not all manufacturers are affected to the same extent, vehicle production in Europe is likely to decline as well.

“Our industry has proven to be extremely resilient, but optimising competitiveness is key in an increasingly globalised world”, said Marchionne. “We in Europe cannot just stand aside and watch developments take their course.”

The full report is available at: http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/sectors/automotive/files/cars-21-final-report-2012_en.pdf

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