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IP/05/1564

Brussels, 12 December 2005

[Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED ]

High Level Group adopts 10-year-roadmap for a competitive EU car sector

Today the CARS 21 High Level Group has adopted a 10 year roadmap for a competitive EU car industry. The Group has agreed on a number of recommendations to make cars cleaner, safer and to simplify the legal environment for EU car makers. The recommendations aim to enhance the automotive industry’s global competitiveness and employment while sustaining further progress in safety and environmental performance at a price affordable to the consumer. In line with the better regulation principles, this roadmap will provide industry with a predictable regulatory framework for the near future, while it is recognised that it should not stifle discussions on new developments. In 2006 the Commission will come forward with proposals on the follow-up to the CARS 21 recommendations. There will be a mid-term review in 2009 in view of the progress made and the technological developments.

Vice President Günter Verheugen said “The European car industry is world class. This is why it deserves a world class policy framework to develop its full potential. Today’s recommendations will contribute to a vibrant and dynamic European automotive industry, which produces and sells clean and safe cars world-wide”.

The Group has agreed the following recommendations:

1. Simplification and better regulation

The Group has agreed to recommend the replacement of 38 EU directives by UNECE[1] regulations, such as Directive 71/320/EEC on braking, Directive 92/23/EC on tyres and Directive 2001/85/EC on buses and coaches. In addition it has suggested the introduction of self- or virtual testing in areas covered by 25 directives instead of tests performed by a designated technical authority or tests performed on actual vehicles or components. This substantial simplification effort will contribute to the improvement of the existing regulatory framework while maintaining high standards in the field of environmental protection and road safety.

The group has also proposed a set of better regulation principles. Particular attention was given to the quality of impact assessments for legislative proposals.

2. Promoting the environment

The Group recommends that the Commission brings forward proposals to reduce pollutant emissions from light and heavy duty vehicles. Regarding the reduction of CO2 emissions from cars, CARS 21 agrees that the responsibility for CO2 reductions from the road transport sector cannot rest with the automotive industry alone.

The Group therefore endorses an integrated approach to reach the EU’s target of 120 g/km involving all relevant stakeholders and measures. The Group welcomes the impact assessment which is being carried out to examine how it can be achieved in the most cost-efficient way.

The Group has identified a number of concrete actions, which could contribute to CO2 reductions, such as vehicle technology, alternative fuels, eco-driving and gear-shift indicators, taxation, consumer information and labelling or congestion avoidance. It recommends that specific attention should be given to 2nd generation biofuels (biofuels which can be sourced from a wider variety of feedstocks and offer significant environmental benefits). Furthermore, hydrogen has been identified as being a promising option as an energy carrier for the longer-term, which needs a major research and development effort.

3. Improving road safety

An integrated approach involving vehicle technology, infrastructure and the road user is recommended for improving road safety.

As to vehicle technology, the Commission will propose the compulsory introduction of new safety features, such as:

  • Electronic Stability Control,
  • seatbelt reminders,
  • brake assist systems,
  • improvement of heavy duty vehicles’ blind spots and conspicuity,
  • Isofix child seats
  • daytime running lights.

Concerning the behaviour of road-users, the Group recommends improved cross-border co-operation in pursuing drivers breaking traffic rules, with an appropriate Commission proposal in 2006, as well as further efforts towards the adoption of the directive on driving licenses.

4. Better market access in third countries

In the area of trade, the group believes that the opportunity presented by the Doha Development Agenda should be taken to increase the competitiveness of EU industry and market access to third countries. The group recommends that the EU multilateral trade approach is complemented by parallel bilateral approaches.

The EU car industry encounters several obstacles on the Chinese market, such as favouritism towards domestic producers, investment restrictions, local content constraints and weak enforcement of intellectual property rights. The Commission will continue its close monitoring of Chinese business and regulatory developments with a view to assessing the possibility of success at an eventual WTO dispute settlement panel if the existing situation does not improve.
The full text of the roadmap and the CARS 21 report is available at:

http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/automotive/index_en.htm

MEMBERSHIP OF THE CARS 21 HIGH LEVEL GROUP

Commission

▪ Günter Verheugen Vice-President, responsible for Enterprise and Industry

Chairman

▪ Jacques Barrot Vice-President, responsible for Transport

▪ Stavros Dimas Commissioner for Environment

Member States

▪ Wolfgang Clement (former) Federal Minister for Economy and Technology, Germany

▪ Margaret Beckett Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, United Kingdom

▪ François Loos Minister-delegate for Industry, France

▪ Martin Jahn Deputy Prime Minister, Czech Republic

▪ Pietro Lunardi Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Italy

European Parliament

▪ Garrelt Duin Member of the European Parliament (PSE/DE), Joint Chairman Forum for the Automobile and Society

▪ Malcolm Harbour Member of the European Parliament (EPP/UK), Joint Chairman Forum for the Automobile and Society

Industry

▪ Armand Batteux President of the European Association of Automotive Suppliers

▪ Lewis Booth Chairman Ford of Europe and Executive Vice President Ford of Europe and Premier Automotive Group

▪ Wilhelm Bonse-Geuking President of the European Petroleum Industry Association

▪ Louis Schweitzer Chairman Renault SA

Leif Johansson President of AB Volvo and Chief Executive Officer Volvo Group

▪ Sergio Marchionne Chief Executive Officer Fiat S.p.A.

▪ Bernd Pischetsrieder President of the European Automobile Manufacturers Association and Chief Executive Officer Volkswagen AG

Trade Unions, NGOs and Users

▪ David Baldock Director of the Institute for European Environmental Policy

▪ Peter Scherrer Secretary General of the European Metalworker’s Federation

▪ Max Mosley President of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile

The following persons joined the Group at a later stage

▪ Joan Trullén Deputy Minister for Industry, Spain

▪ Jürgen Creutzig President of the European Council for Motor Trades and Repairs


[1] United Nations Economic Commission for Europe


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