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As Europe is grappling with the health, social and economic impacts of COVID-19, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) has set out four guiding principles for a successful re-launch of the auto industry, which will be vital to the wider economic recovery of the continent.
“It is in Europe’s interest that this key strategic sector not only recovers, but also is revitalised in order to make a strong contribution to the EU’s industrial strategy, the European Green Deal as well as the continent’s global innovation leadership,” stated Eric-Mark Huitema, Director General of ACEA, which represents Europe’s 16 major car, truck, van and bus manufacturers.
1. Defining a coordinated strategy to safely relaunch vehicle production as soon as possible
As soon as the immediate crisis ceases, it is vital that both manufacturers and suppliers can rapidly and simultaneously get their plants up and running across the whole supply chain and in all countries. Otherwise it will be impossible to return to full-scale production. ACEA therefore is requesting EU-wide support for a coordinated re-start of activities and investments right along the supply chain.
“A top priority is to protect the health of all those who work in the auto sector,” said Mr Huitema. “To that end, we need clarity on the relevant health and safety rules in each country for when production re-starts.”
2. Stimulating market demand for all vehicle categories
Huitema: “As Europe looks to reboot its economy, it will be crucial that clean road transport and mobility are affordable for everybody across the continent. Given the fragile economic situation, however, many consumers and professional transport operators will be simply unable to purchase new vehicles.” Therefore, fleet renewal schemes for all vehicle categories across the EU would be needed to help re-launch demand for the latest vehicle technologies.
3. Unblocking type approval and registrations of the latest-technology vehicles
Today’s standstill within the industry, technical services and national type approval authorities is understandably disrupting the approval or ‘homologation’ of new vehicles, meaning they cannot be sold. Similarly, if vehicle registration authorities are shuttered and cannot grant registrations, businesses and customers cannot use their new vehicles. ACEA therefore urges authorities in the EU member states to accelerate the type approval and vehicle registration process to the maximum extent possible, given the constraints currently in place.
4. Accelerating investment in recharging and re-fuelling infrastructure
An EU-wide network of charging and re-fuelling infrastructure will be key to ensuring that the fleet can be renewed in an environmentally-friendly way, according to ACEA.
The full statement, ‘Corona crisis: Towards a strong and green re-launch of the EU auto industry’, can be found here.
In 2019, the UK was the fourth main commercial partner for the Spanish automotive suppliers, the export figures reached €1494 million. 2020’s total, until October, reached figures of €974 million, 23.8% less than the previous year due to the pandemic impact. EU, considered as a block, is now the second destination for the sector’s global exports as Brexit has been established on 31 January of 2020.
The times we are living in are plenty of uncertainty and change in the individual day-by-day aspect of life and, undoubtedly, in the economic and business sense as well. All of it comes as a result of COVID-19’s impact in our lives.
This atypical and complicated year 2020 is about a month to end. Through it, the automotive business has been forced to handle meaningful transformations and this sector asks itself: what is in store for the last quarter of the year?