Brussels, 28 February 2012 – The EU needs to urgently refocus on its industrial future and address the fundamental issues that constrain the region’s competitiveness in a global perspective, steering away from the short-term national interests that hamper the prosperity of Europe’s citizens in the long run.
This is a summary of the key messages delivered by ACEA President Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat S.p.A., to decision makers in Brussels, today, during a series of meetings ahead of the trade association’s annual reception.
“Europe is at a critical juncture”, said Marchionne. “Markets around the world are justifiably nervous about the region’s ability to resolve mounting sovereign debt and spending deficits. This second crisis follows close on the heels of a global recession, whose effects have not yet been completely overcome. Europe must counter the economic headwind with a strong industrial policy to underpin Europe’s manufacturing base,” argued Marchionne. “The pillars of economic growth and of future prosperity must be strengthened to secure the future of Europe and its citizens.”
The ACEA President predicted a challenging year for Europe and the automobile industry. In terms of auto sales in Europe, the “most optimistic forecast” is that new vehicle registrations in Europe will be flat through 2014. “The fact is that, today, very few manufacturers make money in Europe”, said Marchionne. “This is not sustainable, and it has to change.” He called for an open an honest debate about the underlying factors, including the issue of excess capacity.
“The future will be different. And I challenge us all to say: the future will be better.” Marchionne assured his counterparts in Brussels that the European auto industry wants to be part of shaping the future for the region. “The European automobile industry is a world leader, operating globally. At the same time, we are fully part of European society and its local communities”, he said. “We’re in the DNA of Europe, and Europe is in our DNA.”
About ACEA The European automotive industry is key to the strength and competitiveness of Europe. The sector provides direct employment to more than 2.3 million people and indirectly supports another 10 million jobs. Annually, ACEA members invest over €26 billion in R&D, or 5% of turnover. The ACEA members are BMW Group, DAF Trucks, Daimler, FIAT S.p.A., Ford of Europe, General Motors Europe, Hyundai Motor Europe, IVECO S.p.A, Jaguar Land Rover, MAN Truck & Bus, Porsche, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Renault Group, Scania, Toyota Motor Europe, Volkswagen Group, Volvo Car Corporation and Volvo Group.
The automobile industry’s contribution to the future of a prosperous Europe:
- A competitive industry that benefits communities, governments and manufacturers alike.
- The retention of R&D in Europe, and a commitment to next-generation technology “made in Europe.”
- An engine of prosperity and employment through the production of world class products.
- A concern for a humane transition for affected work forces if adjustments are to be made.
- A continued focus on new and improved skills, and a driver of high-quality education.
- Advanced environmental and safety technologies that contribute to sustainable mobility and transportation for consumers.
The essential framework conditions for a competitive industry in Europe:
- A visionary and long-term industrial policy that strengthens manufacturing and encourages innovation.
- A regulatory framework that secures and attracts investment. In particular: – Reduced cost of regulation by adopting a true integrated approach; – Sufficient lead-time to implement new rules and to allow for a return on investment. – Flexibility in meeting regulatory deadlines in troublesome times; consider a ‘Flexibility Pact.’ – Promotion of R&D in partnership between governments, academia and corporations.
- The highest standards in education and academia to prepare future generations to meet the challenges ahead, and to keep our young and bright Europeans in the region.
- Use of EU policy instruments and community funding mechanisms to support regional labour adjustment that ensure flexibilities in employment law.
- A visionary, integrated transportation policy which furthers sustainable mobility by including the innovations and insights of the industrial and transportation sectors.
- Improved market access around the globe and fair competition and reciprocity in trade relations. – The negotiations between the EU and India are heading in the wrong direction. – The European Union is too easily prepared to lower its barriers while allowing others to keep theirs up, at the expense of a key industry for growth, jobs and technology leadership at home.