Brussels, 1 December 2011 – The commercial vehicle manufacturers in Europe call upon EU policy makers to further integrate the Union’s policies for transport, industrial competitiveness and future innovation to help spur sustainable growth.
The EU depends on the innovative power of leading European industries to compete globally, secure growth, meet ambitious environmental objectives and, as such, ensure a healthy economic environment for its citizens, said Alfredo Altavilla, Chairman of the ACEA commercial vehicle board and CEO of IVECO, speaking at the association’s annual conference on EU transport policy in Brussels.
The EU would greatly benefit from a much stronger link between the various strategies for industrial growth, sustainable transport, international trade and research & development, he said.
EU transport policy should acknowledge the essential role for trucks and buses for society and economy, as well as the importance of the manufacturing of vehicles in the long run. “We welcome the fact that the European Commission has opened the debate about a long term vision for sustainable mobility and transport in Europe. But where is the economic dimension of sustainability in the recently published White Paper?”, asked Altavilla.
Automotive manufacturers face a challenging environment in Europe, with the prospect of economic growth being only marginal if not negative, in the near and mid-term future. At the same time, the need to sustain investment in R&D remains very high. “We need to decarbonise our economies. And we need to reduce our dependency on oil”, said Altavilla. “Unfortunately, we do not have the power of magic to give us immediate solutions. But our industry will further lead in delivering the mobility solutions of tomorrow.”
The commercial vehicle manufacturers have already committed to a further 20% improvement in fuel efficiency by 2020 (compared to 2005 levels), despite the reverse pressure on fuel economy caused by parallel steps to reduce pollutant emissions. The industry, furthermore, supports the European Commission’s efforts in establishing an accurate methodology for measuring full-vehicle CO2 emissions to underpin subsequent reduction policy tools. Such approach will help get the all-important market of transport operators on board, said Altavilla.
EU policies must support our industry to further make a difference in R&D, he said. “Europe has a tremendous technological heritage and advanced innovation capacity, in particular also in the commercial vehicle industry. To keep and to enhance this situation, we have to act __ and act fast. For a start, the upcoming new funding framework for research and innovation should allocate resources to automotive in line with the importance of our sector for the European Union.”
About the European commercial vehicle industry
The commercial vehicle industry is an important part of the European automobile industry and currently employs about 1.5 million people directly and indirectly in Europe.
Vehicle manufacturers go to great lengths to sustain investments in R&D, most notably in the fields of road safety and emissions reduction. The Euro VI emission requirements alone represent industry investments of EUR 6-8 billion. Pollutant emissions such as nitrogen oxide and particulate matter had already been reduced by as much as 85% and 95% respectively since the late 1980s.
Another main priority remains the further improvement of fuel and energy efficiency in order to contribute to global CO2 emission reduction objectives. The commercial vehicle industry has cut the fuel consumption of its products by more than a third since the 1970s. Progress continues through improved combustion engines, hybrid trucks and buses, other innovative drive-trains and the use of alternative fuels. A further 20% increase in fuel efficiency per tonne-kilometre is envisaged by 2020 (compared to 2005), and will require the utmost of the manufacturers’ engineers and management.