Accelerated sector transformation ups pressure on policy makers

An overview compiled by CLEPA of announced job cuts by automotive suppliers and vehicle manufacturers since March, when the COVID-19 crisis hit Europe, indicates that some 100,000 jobs in the automotive sector will be lost in the coming year, of which 49,500 to automotive suppliers. This illustrates how the COVID crisis has accelerated the change in the automotive sector, which ups the pressure on policy makers to find the right approach to managing the green and digital transformation.

in CLEPA, by Sigrid de Vries, 07-10-2020

In addition to cuts to its workforce, industry is also being required to reduce investment in R&D, further impairing the ability to shape the change and achieve the climate and digital goals. This is a real problem because the global leadership of the sector role depends on innovative technologies and manufacturing excellence.


100,000 automotive jobs to be lost within the coming year

The CLEPA overview is based on public announcements made by companies across Europe. The actual numbers are likely higher, especially given that in the supply sector, many smaller announcements do not make the national press coverage. In addition, many in the sector are still benefiting from the various government programmes for temporary or ‘technical’ unemployment, indicating levels of hidden unemployment that may well become visible in official figures sooner rather than later. As an illustration, in Germany, 24% of automotive industry employees are still relying on the state’s wage support scheme, with the automotive industry ranking second after the metal industry.

Market watchers are increasingly speaking of a double dip for the European economy, as recovery continues to lose steam. The first survey and mobility data for September shows that weakness in the service sector is leading to a stagnation of the economic recovery, led by a contraction of ‘business-to-consumer’ sectors post-summer holidays.? A double dip could hit suppliers hard. Recent publications by financial analyst and management consultancies suggest that some automotive suppliers may be better positioned than others, with liquidity issues highlighted as the main concern.

Automotive suppliers in Europe employ about 1.7 million people directly, in addition to the 1.2 million employed by vehicle manufacturers. Supplier jobs add up to about 5 million when taking the longer value chain into account. The steel industry, for example, delivers 18% of its output to the automotive industry.

A recent study from the Boston Consulting Group suggests that the long-term employment impact of electrification could be mitigated if Europe manages to safeguard European battery cell production, and suppliers succeed in reskilling their workforce. In the process, we may see a shift of part of the supply chain to Central and Eastern Europe. The share of component production expressed in total labour hours will fall from 54% ICE (internal combustion engine) to 47% BEV (battery electric vehicles). Suppliers may be able to capture ground from vehicle manufacturers in the field of integrated electric engine systems. A summary is available here.


High dependency on powertrain manufacturing for European automotive employment, revenues, and innovation capacity

It is worth noting however, that about 30% of the value of a car is in the powertrain, and that there is a clear dominance of suppliers in this part of the overall vehicle assembly. In other words, large shares of the employment, revenues and innovation capacity in Europe rely on powertrain manufacturing. This is why managing the transition responsibly is so crucial.

The market for electric and hybrid vehicles is growing fast, but is still low as a proportion of total manufacturing. The CLEPA overview shows that since March 2.500 jobs were created in this field, in line with the direction of travel but in stark contrast to the overall numbers that need to be managed.

The EU Green Deal strategy, designed to decarbonise the EU economy towards 2050, aims to make the EU’s economy sustainable, turn climate and environmental challenges into opportunities, and ensure a transition that is just and inclusive for all. To date, we’ve heard a lot of further talk about setting ambition levels: European Commission President Von der Leyen has proposed lifting the overall EU carbon-reduction target for 2030 to 55% instead of the current 40. The European Parliament, this week, voted for 60%. The Council of Member States is expected to make its decision later this month. The Commission´s impact assessment argues that the automotive industry would have to face a tougher vehicle target for 2030 of 50%, up from 37.5%, when compared to the 2021 targets, and that a ban on the combustion engine is to be considered.

In our view, it’s time to focus on the needed action. The key question remains not if, but how to achieve the climate objectives, as well as secure innovation, manufacturing, and employment in Europe. The challenge we face – as automotive industry and society – is to manage the transition to safe, smart and sustainable mobility in an ambitious, realistic, and inclusive way.

Automotive suppliers are providing the technology solutions that will help realise the ultimate goals. But the current legislative approach, setting tailpipe-only targets that drive all efforts towards just one type of solution, electrification, is not the fittest for purpose. Yes, the Commission is setting important directions with increased attention for a full battery supply chain in Europe, a hydrogen strategy and partnerships for R&D funding. CLEPA also welcomes the launch of a dedicated Pact for Skills for the automotive sector to support the massive re- and upskilling effort that industry is undertaking.


Scale of automotive sector transformation requires integrated and technology-open policy approach

But the scale of transformation in the automotive sector, affecting millions of livelihoods, needs a far more integrated and technology-open policy approach. The world will need the full spectrum of technologies and energy carriers to achieve this objective. This includes battery electric vehicles, various degrees of hybridisation – from mild to plug-in, and fuel cells – and correspondingly low and zero carbon fuel, hydrogen and renewable energy. Thus, not only new vehicles, but also carbon emissions from the existing fleet can be covered.

In this light, Executive Vice President Timmermans’ intervention in the Environment Committee the other week, where he said to be opposed to a ban on internal combustion engine vehicles, is positive. Let’s now work to change the regulatory approach, to make sure carbon-free combustion counts towards reaching the goals as well.

We are, to put it bluntly, worried that the transformation will turn into a disruption. That the sector’s capacity to innovate, invest, and maintain employment will be crippled. This is why we make the case for an ambitious, as well as reliable, and technology-neutral regulatory framework to achieve its objectives.


Sigrid de Vries

CLEPA Secretary General

Joint call for a new Pact for Skills for automotive sector

CLEPA, together with its partners in EU-projects DRIVES and ALBATTS, presents a joint strategy to roll out a dedicated Pact for the sector

in CLEPA, 15-10-2020

The EU automotive sector is calling for a strategy that supports the recovery prioritising the up/reskilling of the workforce to maximise the industry competitiveness, job retention, and creation of new employment opportunities. Bringing forward the need for a sectorial pact for skills, this proposal is the result of an exhaustive cooperation and examination effort through the DRIVES and ALBATTS projects, and of several representatives from the whole automotive value chain, presenting a solid roadmap towards the necessary skills-transformation for the sector.

The paper is conceived as a roadmap for the whole automotive ecosystem and is open to the contributions of other stakeholders. It includes a clear action plan for the automotive sector to support the ongoing transformation towards a carbon-neutral and digitalised society, while reinforcing a smart and effective recovery strategy coming out of the COVID-19 crisis. For this, the signatories call for an open public and private partnership to support the automotive ecosystem during its transformation, while moving forward thanks to the combination of public and private funding.

This proposal further broadens the outcomes of the DRIVES project, funded by Erasmus+, which provides key inputs to the future work of the partnership, such as initial ecosystem intelligence, skills mapping, basic principles of the EU skills Framework in the automotive sector or a dedicated database of industry players, education providers and other relevant stakeholders.

Furthermore, the initiative also builds upon the recent exchange during the High-Level Roundtable on skills for the Automotive Sector celebrated on 23 September, hosted by European Commissioners Nicolas Schmit, (Jobs and Social Rights) and Thierry Breton (Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs). The text contains input from the fruitful exchange of a wide representation of parties participating in this meeting, including industry, academia, trade unions and employers’ associations, participated by CLEPA Secretary General Sigrid de Vries. The discussion focused on the current challenges that the automotive industry is facing in terms of skills shortage and how to best support the shift towards low and zero-emission mobility and digitalisation/automation.

These issues, along with other topics relevant for the future of the automotive workforce, are described in this joint paper.




2030 Climate plan: Technology openness holds key to climate neutrality

  • Automotive suppliers are in full support of climate neutrality by 2050
  • Any changes to vehicle targets for 2030 must take form in more comprehensive approach to regulating CO2 emissions
  • Disruption rather than transformation puts jobs and competitiveness at risk

in CLEPA, 16-09-2020

Sigrid de Vries, Secretary General of CLEPA, the association of the Automotive Suppliers’ Industry in Europe comments on today’s presentation by Commission President von der Leyen of the EU climate ambition until 2030:

“The automotive supply industry in Europe is a major force behind the transformation to sustainable, safe, and smart mobility. We support the Paris agreement and strive for a reliable, technology-neutral and ambitious regulatory framework to achieve its objectives.”

“Companies need the adequate conditions to manage the transformation that is unfolding. The magnitude and frequency of changes to these conditions and increasing regulatory interventions are a concern to industry. We are worried that the transformation will turn into a disruption of the sector’s capacity to innovate, invest and maintain employment. The risk of a substantial loss of employment is real. Suppliers are keen on delivering the technology solutions but stress the need for an honest debate about the effects of policy decisions.”

“The existing CO2 targets for vehicles have only been adopted in 2019 after a long and substantial debate. Planning and investment decisions have been taken with confidence in the reliability of the regulatory framework. An increased level of ambition for 2030, if coupled with stricter tailpipe targets for vehicles or possibly a ban on technologies, hampers industry competitiveness, requires massive public investment in infrastructure and makes mobility more expensive for citizens.”

“The Commission has not said much yet in concrete terms about the expansion of recharging and refuelling infrastructure. The programme for one million charging points is by far not enough, it would need to be upgraded along with the programmes in member states. Targets for e-fuels are missing. Already now, the deployment of charging and refuelling infrastructure does not keep pace with market penetration of alternative vehicles. We see many actions, but perhaps not enough strategy.“

“Suppliers have consistently argued for a more comprehensive approach to regulating emissions. In road transport all efficient and low or zero carbon solutions will be necessary and have to be effective in new vehicles but also the existing vehicle fleet. This includes battery electric vehicles, fuel cells, plug-in hybrids and efficient combustion engines, along with the necessary charging infrastructure and availability of renewable energy but also refuelling infrastructure and availability of renewable fuels, e-fuels, and hydrogen. Advanced renewable fuels are key to reducing emissions in the existing fleet and therefore a potentially much more effective lever than the regulation of new vehicles.”

“The economic and health challenges of the past months have reemphasised the role that transport has for society at large. We need to guarantee that the future will provide accessible and affordable mobility for all. Europe should make full use of its strengths, reinforcing its competitiveness, supporting its advanced technology competence and autonomy while securing its high value industrial base and employment. An open dialogue on how to best achieve the climate ambition, supported by a technology neutral and effective regulatory framework that rewards efficiency is necessary.”




CLEPA, the European Association of Automotive Suppliers based in Brussels, represents over 3.000 companies, from multi-nationals to SMEs, supplying state-of-the-art components and innovative technology for safe, smart and sustainable mobility, investing over 30 billion euros yearly in research and development. Automotive suppliers in Europe employ about five million people across the continent.



Faltam apenas algumas semanas para salvar o sector automóvel da UE e do Reino Unido do desastre de perder 110 mil milhões de euros de um Brexit sem acordo

  • Os líderes automóveis da UE e do Reino Unido unem-se para apelar a um acordo urgente, que permita antes do fim do período de transição, dentro de apenas 15 semanas, um ambicioso acordo de comércio livre.
  • Novas estimativas mostram o impacto catastrófico das tarifas da OMC em caso de “não acordo”, pondo em risco a produção de cerca de 3 milhões de carros e carrinhas fabricados na UE e no Reino Unido durante os próximos cinco anos.
  • O “não acordo” significaria perdas comerciais combinadas entre a UE e o Reino Unido no valor de até 110 mil milhões de euros até 2025, além dos cerca de 100 mil milhões de euros de valor de produção perdida este ano por causa da crise do coronavírus.
  • Para evitar um segundo golpe económico ao sector que emprega 14,6 milhões de pessoas, a indústria apela aos negociadores para que garantam urgentemente um acordo que proporcione tarifas zero, regras de origem modernas e evite regulamentos diferentes nos dois lados do canal.

in AFIA, 14-09-2020

Com apenas 15 semanas para o término do período de transição do Brexit, os líderes da indústria automóvel europeia uniram hoje forças para apelar à UE e ao Reino Unido para que garantam um acordo de comércio livre (ACL) ambicioso sem mais demoras. Os negociadores de ambos os lados devem agora envidar todos os esforços para evitar o “não acordo” no final da transição, o que, segundo novas estimativas, custaria ao sector automóvel europeu cerca de 110 mil milhões de euros em perdas comerciais nos próximos cinco anos 1, colocando postos de trabalho em risco num sector que cria e mantém 14,6 milhões de empregos, o que representa um em cada 15 empregos da UE e do Reino Unido 2.

As principais organizações representativas dos fabricantes de veículos e de componentes automóveis na UE, a Associação Europeia de Fabricantes de Automóveis (ACEA) e a Associação Europeia de Fornecedores de Componentes para Automóveis (CLEPA), juntamente com 21 associações nacionais, incluindo a SMMT (Reino Unido), a VDA (Alemanha), o CCFA (França), a PFA (França) e a AFIA (Portugal), alertam hoje que a indústria pode enfrentar sérias repercussões. De facto, as economias e os empregos dos dois lados do canal correm o risco de um segundo golpe devastador sob a forma de não acordo, somados aos cerca de 100 mil milhões de euros de produção perdida até agora, este ano devido à crise do coronavírus 3.

Sem um acordo em vigor até 31 de dezembro, ambas as partes seriam obrigadas a manter relações comerciais sob as regras não preferenciais da Organização Mundial do Comércio (OMC), incluindo uma tarifa de 10% sobre os carros e até 22% para carrinhas e camiões 4. Tais tarifas – muito superiores às reduzidas margens da maioria dos fabricantes – teriam quase de certeza de ser repercutidas aos consumidores, tornando os veículos mais caros, reduzindo a escolha e afetando a procura. Além disso, os fabricantes de componentes para automóveis também serão atingidos pelas tarifas. Isso aumentará o preço de produção ou levará a mais importações de componentes de outros países não pertencentes à UE, que serão mais competitivos.

Antes da crise do coronavírus, a produção de veículos automóveis da UE e do Reino Unido rondava as 18,5 milhões de unidades por ano 5. Este ano já se perderam cerca de 3,6 milhões de unidades em todo o sector devido à pandemia 6. Novas estimativas indicam que, no caso dos carros e carrinhas, uma redução da procura resultante de uma tarifa de 10% da OMC poderia diminuir cerca de três milhões de unidades produzidas nas fábricas da UE e do Reino Unido nos próximos cinco anos, com perdas no valor de 52,8 mil milhões de euros para as fábricas do Reino Unido e 57,7 mil milhões de euros para as fábricas sediadas em toda a UE 7. Os fabricantes de componentes para automóveis também serão afetados por estas alterações.

Esta dupla perda de negócios prejudicaria seriamente as receitas de um sector que é um dos ativos mais valiosos da Europa, empregando milhões de pessoas e gerando prosperidade partilhada para todos, com um superavit comercial combinado de 74 mil milhões de euros com o resto do mundo em 2019. Em conjunto o setor automóvel da UE27 e do Reino Unido são responsáveis por 20% da produção mundial de veículos automóveis e investem cerca de 60,8 mil milhões de euros por ano em inovação, sendo o maior investidor europeu em I&D 8.

Alcançar um ambicioso Acordo de Comércio Livre UE-Reino Unido com disposições específicas para o sector automóvel é fundamental para o sucesso futuro da indústria automóvel europeia. Qualquer acordo deve incluir tarifas e quotas zero, regras de origem adequadas tanto para os veículos com motores de combustão interna como para os veículos alimentados por energias alternativas, bem como componentes e grupos propulsores (powertrains), e um quadro regulamentar para evitar divergências.

É fundamental que as empresas conheçam de antemão a informação detalhada sobre as condições comerciais acordadas a partir de 1 de Janeiro de 2021 para fazerem os preparativos finais. Isto, combinado com um apoio específico e um período de introdução gradual adequado que permita uma maior utilização de materiais estrangeiros durante um período de tempo limitado, assegurará que as empresas sejam capazes de lidar com o final do período de transição.

Eric-Mark Huitema, Director-Geral da ACEA, afirmou: “Os desafios para a indústria automóvel da UE são significativos – temos absolutamente de ter um acordo comercial ambicioso UE-Reino Unido em vigor até Janeiro. Caso contrário, o nosso sector – que está a sofrer os efeitos da crise da COVID – será duramente atingido por um duplo golpe”.

Sigrid de Vries, Secretário-Geral da CLEPA, afirmou: “Um Brexit sem acordo perturbaria a cadeia de abastecimento automóvel integrada e atingiria a indústria num momento crítico. O impacto será sentido muito para além das trocas comerciais bilaterais, traduzindo-se numa perda de empregos e de capacidade de investimento. O sector automóvel é o maior investidor privado em I&D da UE, com 60 mil milhões de euros investidos anualmente. Precisamos de um acordo que mantenha a competitividade global do sector”.

Mike Hawes, Chefe Executivo da SMMT, disse: “ Os números de hoje mostram o impacto devastador que se seguiria a um Brexit sem acordo. O choque de tarifas e outras barreiras comerciais agravaria os danos já causados por uma pandemia e recessão global, pondo em risco as empresas e empregos que sustenta. As nossas indústrias estão profundamente integradas, pelo que instamos todas as partes a reconhecerem as necessidades deste fornecedor vital de empregos e prosperidade económica, e a fazerem tudo o que estiver ao seu alcance para assegurar um ambicioso acordo de comércio livre agora, antes que seja tarde demais”.

Hildegard Müller, Presidente da VDA, afirmou: “A indústria automóvel precisa de condições estruturais estáveis e fiáveis. Seria uma grande desvantagem para ambas as partes se a retirada do Reino Unido terminasse com a aplicação de tarifas no comércio mútuo”. Isto comprometeria as cadeias de valor estreitamente ligadas e possivelmente torná-las-ia não rentáveis. Os nossos associados têm mais de 100 unidades de produção no Reino Unido. Esperamos que a UE e o Reino Unido continuem a sua estreita parceria com um acordo de comércio livre abrangente”.

Thierry COGNET, Presidente da CCFA, afirmou: “Uma situação de ‘não acordo’ a 1 de Janeiro de 2021 seria particularmente desafiante para os fabricantes. O que precisamos dos negociadores, num contexto económico já muito afetado pela crise da COVID, é de um acordo substancial que nos proteja de tarifas, quotas e divergências regulamentares”.

José Couto, Presidente da AFIA, disse: “a indústria automóvel necessita de um acordo que mantenha a competitividade e permita às empresas continuarem a relação comercial com os seus parceiros britânicos. O Reino Unido é o 4º principal cliente dos componentes automóveis fabricados em Portugal”.

As 23 Associações Automóveis signatárias são:

  • ACAROM – Romanian Association of Automobile Builders
  • ACEA – European Automobile Manufacturers Association
  • ACS – Automotive Cluster of Slovenia
  • AFIA – Portuguese Manufacturers Association for the Automotive Industry
  • AIA – Czech Automotive Industry Association
  • ANFIA – Italian Association of the Automobile Industry
  • AUTIG – Danish Automotive Trade & Industry Federation
  • BIL SWEDEN – Swedish Association of Automobile Manufacturers and Importers
  • CCFA – Committee of French Automobile Manufacturers
  • CLEPA – European Association of Automotive Suppliers
  • FEBIAC – Belgian Federation of Automobile and Motorcycle Industries
  • FKG – Scandinavian Automotive Supplier Association
  • FFOE – Austrian Association of the Automotive Industry
  • ILEA – Luxembourg Automotive Suppliers Association
  • MGE – Hungarian Vehicle Importers Association
  • PFA – French Association of the Automotive Industry
  • RAI – Dutch Association for Mobility Industry
  • SDCM – Polish Association of Automotive Parts Distributors and Producers
  • SERNAUTO – Spanish Association of Automotive Suppliers
  • SIMI – Society of the Irish Motor Industry
  • SMMT – Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders
  • VDA – German Association of the Automotive Industry
  • ZAP – Automotive Industry Association of the Slovak Republic

Notas aos editores

1: Estimativas da SMMT e incluem carros e veículos comerciais ligeiros (VCL). Com base na imposição de 10% de tarifa; 6,3% de aumento de preço; e 18,9% de queda na procura. Utiliza os dados da JATO relativos preços médios dos veículos automóveis.
2: ACEA pocket guide 2020 / 21
3: Cálculos SMMT & ACEA, IHS Markit LV Production Recovery Tracker (Julho 2020)
4: Tarifa Global do Reino Unido (10% para carros/carrinhas) & Tarifa Externa Comum da UE (10-22% dependendo da categoria e tonelagem)
5: ACEA pocket guide 2020 / 21 inclui carros, veículo comerciais ligeiros e pesados
6: ACEA pocket guide 2020 / 21 (apenas carros e VCL)
7: Estimativas da SMMT e incluem carros e veículos comerciais ligeiros (VCL). Com base na imposição de 10% de tarifa; 6,3% de aumento de preço; e 18,9% de queda na procura. Utiliza os dados da JATO relativos preços médios dos veículos automóveis.
8: ACEA pocket guide 2020 / 21

Sobre o sector da UE

  • 14,6 milhões de europeus trabalham no sector automóvel, o responsáveis por 6,7% de todos os empregos na UE.
  • A tributação dos veículos automóveis gera 440,4 mil milhões de euros para os governos nos principais mercados europeus
  • A indústria automóvel gera um superavit comercial de 74 mil milhões de euros para a UE.
  • volume de negócios gerado pela indústria automóvel representa mais de 7% do PIB da UE.
  • Investindo anualmente 60,9 mil milhões de euros em I&D, o sector automóvel é o maior contribuinte privado europeu para a inovação, representando 29% da despesa total da UE.
  • A UE é líder mundial em veículos autônomos, responsável por mais de 30% dos pedidos de patentes.

Sobre a AFIA

  • A AFIA – Associação de Fabricantes para a Indústria Automóvel é a associação portuguesa que congrega e representa, nacional e internacionalmente, os fornecedores de componentes para a indústria automóvel.
  • Esta indústria agrega 240 empresas com sede ou laboração em Portugal, com um volume de emprego directo na ordem das 59.000 pessoas. Factura 12 mil milhões de Euros por ano, com uma quota de exportação superior a 80%.
  • Em termos de importância na economia nacional, representa 6% do PIB, 8% do emprego da indústria transformadora e 16% das exportações nacionais de bens transacionáveis.


NextGenerationEU: reality and ambition are bound to collide

EU leaders will gather next week for an additional EU Summit to try and come closer on the next 7-year EU budget and the additional special funds to be channelled into economic recovery. Dubbed NextGenerationEU, resilience seems to be the key concept behind much of the measures proposed, with the magic ingredient being investment.

in CLEPA, 10-07-2020

It is crucial that governments agree soon, because most of the funds will become available only next year or later, and further delay would be detrimental. The crisis is hitting the economy hard, and viable companies are already incurring serious damage.

Resilience—making Europe more self-sufficient and future proof—is used as explanation for why the proposed recovery package has all the features of a fundamental restructuring programme, aimed at propelling the EU’s environmental and digital transformation.

Are we talking recovery or reform?

“Are we talking recovery or reform”, asked a diplomat the other day, admittedly rhetorically. Many in industry had quietly thought the same. While the visionary appeal of the approach may be apparent and no-one questions the overarching need for going digital and green, the challenge remains to make it all work on the ground, where economies are in disarray.

The risk is that recovery and crisis relief are losing relevance as objectives in their own right, with their own set of requirements and, particularly, their need for speed.  How grave the situation is, can be illustrated well with the measure of global car sales which is predicted to remain 23% below last year in Europe and -17% globally: the equivalent of 14 million cars, which is more than the entire volume of new cars sold annually in European markets.

Risk is that recovery and crisis relief are losing relevance as objectives in their own right

These are unprecedented drops in sales and the underlying economic activity will take at least 2 to 3 years to recover. The latest CLEPA Pulse Check, taking the temperature of the European automotive supply industry specifically, shows that half of European suppliers expect revenue declines of more than 20% in 2020 and a further third reckon with a drop of more than 30%. Although profit estimates have slightly improved compared to April, only 39% of suppliers are confident in achieving a profit in 2020.

European suppliers are increasingly taking long-term measures, with 62% indicating their implementation of such measures has started and 13% saying they’re already completed. Cutting investment and headcount rank as number one and two, but suppliers are also increasingly looking at shortening supply chains, sourcing in, optimising the manufacturing footprint, and opting for partnerships, mergers and takeovers and adapting their product portfolios.


Heavy pressure on investment capacity does not bode well for ability to drive necessary transformation

The heavy pressure on investment capacity does not bode well for the ability to drive the necessary transformation, which industry had started full throttle before Covid hit. The revenues to finance these investments will have to materialise, and this is where reality and ambition are bound to collide. Industry needs the framework conditions to thrive and invest.

NextGenerationEU, the European Green Deal and the Digital Agenda are declared economic growth strategies, designed to invest public money as a lever for even larger sums of private investment. Because this is clear: the green and digital transformation needs industry to deliver them, and most of the funding will have to come from businesses. Careful management by both policy makers and business will be necessary to get it right.

The European Commission has firmly put the ball in the court of the member states. While the heads of state must still agree on the actual sums to be allocated, national capitals are already asked to hand in their national recovery plans by October, in order to start discussions on approval of the content soon. National packages, hence, will decide the level and scope of support for truly European industries, such as automotive.

Need for European approach on levels below the visionary as well

No doubt, the EU is a complex animal. Most funds come from national pockets, and many policy competences are still national. Yet, the Commission is the guardian of the EU project and has many instruments at its disposal, including soft policy such as guidance on and coordination of best practices, that can make a difference in putting the framework right, especially but not only in support of smaller and mid-sized countries.

The automotive industry is crucial for the economic fabric of Europe. The sector is vast, innovative, with long value chains and strong eco-systems; a textbook example of how European integration and the internal market have helped make the European economy more competitive and, yes, resilient. What is needed now, is leadership and clearer directions for ensuring a European approach on levels below the visionary as well.


Sigrid de Vries, CLEPA Secretary General


Automotive sector responds to the Commission’s Communication on the EU Skills Agenda

The associations representing the automotive equipment and tyre suppliers, vehicle manufacturers and dealers and workshops (ACEA, CECRA, CLEPA, ETRMA) have come together in May 2020 to list 25 Actions that would help the industry towards a smooth and strong recovery, in the aftermath of the COVID-19 Crisis.

in CLEPA, 08-07-2020

Of these actions, two were specifically focused on the skills needs of the industry and particularly to support up- and re-skilling of the labour force, calling for the establishment of a sectoral Skills Pact for the automotive sector.

The four associations have written a letter to Commissioner Nicolas Schmit, in response to the European Commission’s communication on a “European Skills Agenda for sustainable competitiveness, social fairness and resilience”, published last Thursday. CLEPA, ACEA, CECRA and ETRMA are also part of the DRIVES project, which is seen as the basis for the implementation of a framework for the automotive sector.

Click here to read the full letter



Automotive sector appeals to EU heads of state and government on coronavirus recovery plans

ACEA, CECRA and CLEPA – together representing the full automotive value chain in Europe – wrote a letter to the heads of state and government of the 27 EU member states, calling for urgent support for the automotive sector in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

in ACEA, CECRA, CLEPA, 16-06-2020

The letter can be found here.

  • Since the outbreak of coronavirus, most vehicle manufacturers had to completely shut down their development and production sites for several weeks or even months. This has resulted in production losses of more than 2.4 million motor vehicles so far and has impacted the jobs of 1.1 million employees. Many factories are now re-opening gradually, but at levels well below pre-crisis capacity.
  • Almost all companies in the suppliers’ industry expect a loss of revenue of 20% or more this year, while more than half anticipate negative results. This will also have a knock-on effect on revenues from taxes and VAT in all member states. With most companies not expecting to leave the crisis behind before 2022, recovery will clearly take time.
  • Most EU dealerships were also closed for many weeks, leading to sales collapsing to historic lows across all vehicle segments. Workshops in countries most affected by lockdown measures have also seen their activity decrease by up to 85%.





CLEPA Innovation Awards 2020: application deadline extended until July 10th, 2020

Taking into consideration the extraordinary circumstances we are living, CLEPA has decided to prolong the deadline for applications for the CLEPA Innovation Awards 2020 to allow more companies to submit their initiatives. The new deadline will be extended until the 10th July.

in CLEPA, 08-06-2020

The European Association of Automotive Suppliers, in cooperation with Deloitte, highlights for the 5th consecutive year, the outstanding achievements made in the automotive supply industry in the fields of Environment, Safety, Connectivity & Automation and Cooperation.

This year, given the impact of COVID-19 at a global scale, CLEPA will make a public special recognition to supplier initiatives that have contributed to the relief of the virus.

The contest is open to all companies–including SMEs and startups–, research centres, educational institutions, other organisations, and stakeholders participating in the development of mobility technology. And, to acknowledge the role of small and mid-sized companies in the industry’s achievements, the Innovation Awards also contain a special prize for SMEs in each category.

The CLEPA Innovation Awards 2020 ceremony will be held on the 25th of November in Brussels, where the winners will be announced.


CLEPA Innovation Awards 2020



IndustriAll Europe, Ceemet, ACEA, CLEPA, CECRA and ETRMA call for an ambitious recovery plan for the automotive sector

Saving jobs while reducing emissions

in CLEPA, 26-05-2020

For many decades, the European automotive sector has been one of the key pillars of the economic and social welfare of Europe. Indirectly, the sector provides employment to 13,8 million workers. The European assembly plants still produce 1 in every 4 cars worldwide. The sector is highly innovative and accounts for 20% of industrial research funding in Europe. Europe’s automotive sector has become a global leader with a strong export orientation. It is a stronghold of European industry and a driver for jobs and economic growth across Europe. As a result of the substantial economic interlinkages with other sectors along the value chain, its importance for employment and growth for the whole economy is clear.

COVID-19 provoked an unprecedented crisis in the sector with an effective standstill of car production and distribution in Europe for several weeks. Sales came to a halt, investments have plummeted and the market introduction of new clean models has been postponed. At the same time, post-pandemic work organisation is increasing production costs.

The economic and social impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the automotive sector is particularly severe. Workers, although supported by short-time work arrangements, have seen their incomes reduced, and companies are facing cash drains as their revenues have disappeared. Currently, there is little visibility on what the future holds. If this situation persists, the sector risks a meltdown with large-scale bankruptcies and restructuring.

During the financial crisis (2008-13), the automotive sector lost 440.000 jobs (in car production and the aftermarket). If no measures are taken, this number risks being dwarfed by the current recession which may be much deeper.

Therefore, industriAll Europe, Ceemet, ACEA, CLEPA, CECRA and ETRMA, the European business organisations and the trade unions for the sector call on the European Commission for a bold industrial recovery plan. Such a plan should be based on two objectives. First of all, bringing the industry back on track by stimulating sales and reviving production, and secondly, supporting the industry in its journey towards a carbon-neutral future, based on the Green Deal and Europe’s climate objectives.

To date, the sector has been substantially investing in its transition towards the new paradigm of a carbon-neutral and digitalised economy: including, alternative powertrains, batteries, connected cars, mobility services, and automated driving. The industry can make a real contribution to the Green Deal and mitigating the climate emergency. But due to COVID-19, strong support from the national governments and the Commission is needed in order to help the sector to make the necessary investments in transitioning to decarbonisation while supporting European jobs and keeping its contribution to EU exports and the social welfare of European citizens.

To bring the sector back on track and enable it to emerge from this recession, the European automotive sector urgently needs:

  • Coordinated measures to support the relaunch of the industry incl. the aftermarket with harmonised guidance on preventive health and safety measures for the workplace; coordination is also needed to avoid further disruptions in the sophisticated automotive supply chains.
  • Support for viable companies to maintain their resilience. To avoid stranded assets liquidity support has to be maintained as long this is needed: state aid, investment guarantees, tax breaks, soft loans
  • Support for companies in maintaining/developing their human capital while the income and job security of workers must be preserved e.g.  through continuation of short-time work arrangements connected to skills upgrading
  • Introduce/reinforce temporary demand stimulus measures by vehicle renewal schemes that are coordinated on EU level and financially supported by the Commission. These measures should be eligible for latest technologies and in addition be differentiated according safety and environmental performance based on certified CO2 emissions.  Demand stimulus is needed to re-start the assembly lines and to preserve jobs. It should also restore the capacity of companies to generate the cash flows they need to invest in a sustainable future.
  • Take into account these extraordinary circumstances when assessing the impact of regulatory reforms on the sector.

To support the sector in delivering on the digital and low-carbon transitions, we request that the European Commission takes the following actions:

  • Develop and maintain technological leadership by means of ambitious technology programmes to support both digital and low-carbon transitions
  • Provide investment support (grants, loans, equity) for the market introduction of new sustainable technologies
  • Accelerate the roll-out of charging and re-fuelling infrastructure for cars, vans and commercial vehicles in public, as well as private, places, and deliver at least 2 million charging points and refuelling stations across the EU for all vehicle types as indicated earlier.
  • Introduce/reinforce market incentives to promote the uptake of alternative powertrains
  • Promote industrial collaboration and industrial alliances to share the cost of the development and market introduction of new low-carbon technologies
  • Facilitate investments in the next generation digital infrastructure as a key enabler for more reliable connectivity between vehicles
  • Make use of innovative public procurement to support demand and to bring new innovations to the market
  • Boost investment in the research and developments as well in the production of batteries, hydrogen, and low-carbon liquid fuels, within the European Union.
  • Develop the circular economy connected to the automotive supply chain (recycling, re-manufacturing, re-use)
  • Support the many automotive SME’s in redefining their value chain positioning in a fast-changing automotive landscape

As the COVID-19 crisis has serious ramifications for jobs, industriAll Europe, Ceemet, ACEA, CLEPA, CECRA and ETRMA, call for the organisation of a just transition for every worker affected by restructuring.  Solutions have to be found through timely anticipation of change, an effective social dialogue at all levels, active labour market policies, up-and re-skilling, and support to redevelopment plans for automotive regions.

industriAll Europe, Ceemet, ACEA, CLEPA, CECRA and ETRMA insist that the upcoming European recovery plan pays due attention to a sector that has already invested heavily in its transition and that has the ambition to continue these investments once it has overcome the COVID-19 crisis.  To save jobs and companies, it is important to act decisively to ensure the continuity of economic activity, to stave off bankruptcies and to prevent mass layoffs. The EU must maintain the ambition to keep the full automotive value chain inside the EU. This would allow the EU to keep a strong European automotive sector and to maintain our global leadership in clean vehicles, to deliver on its climate objectives and to maintain/create high quality jobs. Finally, a recovery of the automotive sector will generate positive knock-on effects for the overall economy.


Note to editors: EU’s automotive sector

  • 13.8 million Europeans work in automotive, accounting for 6.1% of all EU jobs.
  • 11.4% of EU manufacturing jobs – some 3.5 million – are in the automotive sector.
  • Motor vehicle taxation brings in €440.4 billion for governments in major European markets
  • The automobile industry generates a trade surplus of €84.4 billion for the EU.
  • The turnover generated by the automotive industry represents over 7% of EU GDP.
  • Investing €57.4 billion in R&D annually, the automotive sector is Europe’s largest private contributor to innovation, accounting for 28% of total EU spending.

The EU motor vehicle fleet is getting older year-on-year. Passenger cars are now on average 11.1 years old, vans 11 years and heavy commercial vehicles 12 years.



About the organisations:
IndustriAll European Trade Union is the federation of independent and democratic trade unions representing workers in the metal, chemical, energy, mining, textile, clothing and footwear sectors and related industries and activities. IndustriAll Europe represents 7 million working men and women united within 180 national trade union affiliates in 38 European countries.
Contact: Andrea Husen-Bradley, press & communication, +32 473 73 43 63,

ACEA, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association, represents the 16 major Europe-based car, van, truck and bus manufacturers: BMW Group, CNH Industrial, DAF Trucks, Daimler, Ferrari, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford of Europe, Honda Motor Europe, Hyundai Motor Europe, Jaguar Land Rover, PSA Group, Renault Group, Toyota Motor Europe, Volkswagen Group, Volvo Cars, and Volvo Group.
Contact: Cara McLaughlin, Communications Director, +32 485 886 647,

CECRA is the European federation bringing together national professional associations which represent the interest of motor trade and repair businesses and European Dealer Councils. CECRA represents on a European scale 336.720 motor trade and repair businesses. Together they employ 2.9 million people.
Contact: Bernard Lycke, Director General, +32 475 932 693,,

CLEPA, the European Association of Automotive Suppliers, represents over 3.000 companies supplying state-of-the-art components and innovative technology for safe, smart and sustainable mobility, investing over 25 billion euros yearly in research and development. Automotive suppliers in Europe directly and indirectly employ nearly five million people across the continent.
Contact: Pilar Pérez, Communications Director, +32 478 949 159,,

ETRMA, the European Tyre & Rubber Manufacturers Association represent nearly 4.400 companies in the EU, directly employing about 370.000 people. The global sales of ETRMA’s corporate members represent 70% of total global sales, have a strong manufacturing and research presence within the EU and candidate countries, with 93 tyre-producing plants and 17 R&D centres.
Contact: Fazilet Cinaralp, Secretary General, +32 475 34 83 71,,

Ceemet represents the metal, engineering and technology-based industry employers in Europe. Member organisations represent 200,000 companies in Europe, providing over 17 million direct and 35 million indirect jobs. Ceemet is a recognised European social partner at the industrial sector level, promoting global competitiveness for European industry through consultation and social dialogue.
Contact: Chetan Corten, Head of Communications, +32 472 25 02 28, ,


Indústria automóvel europeia assina código de conduta de apoio à retoma da produção

A CLEPA (associação europeia dos fabricantes para a indústria automóvel) e a ACEA (associação europeia dos construtores de automóveis) adotaram um “Código de Conduta Empresarial da Indústria Automóvel para a COVID-19” para apoiar um arranque rápido e sem problemas da indústria automóvel.

in AFIA, 21-05-2020

A AFIA, associada da CLEPA, saúda esta iniciativa tendo traduzido para português o código de conduta:





(versão original em inglês)