Brussels, 8 November 2012
CARS 2020: for a strong, competitive and sustainable European car industry
With 12 million sector-related jobs the automotive industry is vital for Europe's prosperity and job creation. The EU needs to maintain a world-class car industry, producing the most energy efficient and safe vehicles globally and providing high-skilled jobs to millions. To make this happen, the European Commission tabled today the CARS 2020 Action Plan aimed at reinforcing this industry's competitiveness and sustainability heading towards 2020.
The Commission proposes a massive innovative push by streamlining research and innovation under the European Green Vehicle Initiative. Co-operation with the European Investment Bank will be reinforced to finance an innovation boost and facilitate SME access to credit. An EU standard recharging interface will provide the regulatory certainty needed to facilitate a breakthrough for large scale electric car production.
Innovation in the automotive industry will also be stimulated through a comprehensive package of measures to reduce CO2, pollutant and noise emissions, to drive improvements in road safety and develop technologically-advanced intelligent transport systems (ITS).
In parallel, the Commission also proposes to address the immediate problems in the car sector. In response to a fall in demand on European car markets and plant closure announcements, the Commission will in November bring together car producers and trade union representatives and Ministers of Industry ahead the next Competitiveness Council to review measures for dealing with the present crisis in a co-ordinated way. The car industry is important throughout Europe and a European response is needed. This response should focus on addressing overcapacity, social and technological investment, as well as state aid and demand-side measures, followed by a discussion at the political level.
European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, said: "Europe produces the best cars in the world. The Commission wants this leadership to be maintained, moving even further ahead in safety and environmental performance. The Commission is therefore today presenting a strategy for the EU automotive industry and will also take urgent action to address this sector's current difficulties and restructuring in a co-ordinated way. This automotive plan is the first fruit of the Commission's strategy for a new industrial revolution, presented on 10th of October. The automotive industry has all the assets to overcome current problems, remain competitive, become more sustainable and retain its manufacturing base in Europe. What is more, because of the multiplier effect it has in the economy, the car industry should provide a strong impetus to maintain a strong industrial base in Europe. Today's Action Plan will give the car industry all possible political support."
Globalisation and new technologies offer opportunities in an increasingly competitive sector
There is likely to be a major increase in the number of cars sold in emerging countries in the coming decade, offering opportunities for the EU car industry, but with high pressure to improve sustainability and to address increasing global competition.
The Action Plan comprises concrete proposals for policy initiatives in order to:
1. Promote investment in advanced technologies and innovation for clean vehicles, for example by:
2. Improve market conditions, for example by:
3. Support industry in accessing the global market through:
4. Promote investment in skills and training to accompany structural change and anticipate employment and skills needs, for example through encouraging the use of the European Social Fund (ESF) for this purpose.
The next steps
The Commission and Member States must now implement the policies announced. The role of the automotive industry will be to achieve the new ambitious objectives established. In order to monitor this process, and continue the dialogue with the stakeholders a dedicated process will be established called “CARS 2020”.
Figures on the car industry in Europe
The automotive industry as a whole (automotive producers, supply chain and aftermarket, including thousands of SMEs) is of strategic importance to the European economy, representing 12 million direct and indirect jobs, 4% of GDP and a €90 billion trade surplus (in 2011). This industry is the biggest private investor in research and innovation, spending around €30 billion annually.
The Action Plan represents the first concrete delivery of the new policy priorities proposed in the recent Communication on industrial policy. It builds on the outcome of the CARS21 High Level Group, in which seven Commissioners, as well as Member States and key stakeholders (including industry representatives and NGOs) were represented. Re-launched in 2010, the CARS 21 Group adopted its Final Report in June 2012.
See also MEMO/12/845 (More information on the vision for the automotive industry in 2020 and the actions announced by the Commission)