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)


Head of European suppliers group outlines plan to confront coronavirus crisis

Thorsten Muschal, executive vice president sales and program management at Faurecia, was elected to lead the European suppliers association CLEPA in January. He was immediately tested by the auto industry’s biggest challenge in recent memory, the coronavirus pandemic. He spoke with Automotive News Europe News Editor Peter Sigal about how CLEPA members, which have expressed growing worries in recent surveys, can weather the crisis, and what the group’s future priorities are.

in Automotive News Europe, by Peter Sigal, 19-05-2020

What are you doing to help your members, large and small, survive right now?
What we are experiencing right now shows that a European voice and aligned behavior joined in a shared policy approach is more needed than ever. The big members, the Bosches, the ZFs, the Continentals — they all have put task forces in place to manage social systems and protect their people in different countries. They are looking for coordinated political and financing support. For smaller companies it’s more a question of survival.

How can the supply chain keep itself afloat, with factories shut and orders in limbo?
It’s key to make sure that everybody pays to keep the supply chain up and running so the smaller companies don’t fall into bankruptcy. The first thing we say is that nobody should take advantage of this situation. We have seen in a crisis that not everything is rational. We need to push this discipline. It’s a question of ethics.

What lessons could be learned?
In every crisis there is always an “after.” But this one is different. We have a lot to learn. We are all learning the lesson that globalization is a challenging topic, and we see how difficult it is to keep our supply chain working. We also need to think about how we start up again. The megatrends [such as electrification, autonomy and connectivity] will be back and we should not completely neglect our whole agenda.

Outside of the coronavirus pandemic, what is the most pressing issue for CLEPA and its members?
Let me start by looking at the extremely big picture. The auto industry is under a lot of pressure, and it’s facing its biggest transformation ever. It started several years ago with Dieselgate [Volkswagen Group’s diesel-emissions cheating scandal], and now we have digitalization, carbon neutrality and autonomous vehicles. We need to build Europe into an automotive industry powerhouse. To do that, to build on our strengths, we need to make Europe an attractive marketplace. So, we have to raise our voice and have an influence on politicians.

How do you improve Europe’s competitiveness?
It’s always a big bet when you invest in a new technology. Suppliers have to make decisions. Should you localize an R&D center in Spain, Portugal, Germany or France? Where can you find the right conditions and the right political framework? Europe is perfectly positioned globally. On the one side there’s the market in China, on the other is the U.S. market. If Europe shows up at the right time with the right, attractive market conditions, we can build on our leading position. We have a very strong, diverse supply industry that covers a lot of areas.

What sets Europe’s supply base apart?
Innovation is a key differentiator for Europe. We have all the ingredients. We have strong European customers, which are leading automakers, and we have the strongest supply base in the world. This is a position we need to defend and make even stronger. But we are undergoing a huge transformation.

The auto industry did not get what it wanted in the last round of EU emissions targets. How will you approach legislators in Brussels to make your voice heard?
We need to be realistic. The crisis and scandals that started four or five years ago were created by the auto industry. We have hurt our reputation. That’s a fact, whether you like it or not. A lot of policymakers are very critical of this. What we need to do is demonstrate the things we are doing to work toward decarbonization, to make cars safer and more customer friendly. There is a lot of work in front of us, especially with a new European Council. We need to provide the different commissions and with studies and facts, and then have an intensive exchange of views. It’s not only about the cars and the emissions they product. It’s also about the infrastructure and business models.

Can you convince legislators to look beyond tailpipe emissions to the whole CO2 picture?
Tailpipe emissions are certainly critical, and our supply base and automakers are working to improve them. However, we need to tackle emissions in a broader sense, including vehicle life cycle, the grid and infrastructure, and charging stations. We also need to gain end-consumer acceptance. People have questions that need answers: What kind of powertrain should I buy? What is the resale value of my car going to be? Where can I charge my car?

We are still awaiting EU certification for higher levels of autonomous vehicles, including so-called Level 3. Is that a problem for suppliers and automakers?
We see an ongoing trend for stronger and improved assistance systems, but the fully autonomous car remains a long-term vision. There are questions of legislation, liability, mixed traffic between autonomous and traditional cars, and also consumer behavior. Regarding legislation, it reinforces what we expect from policymakers: strong support for the industry to bring ideas into reality, with the proper legislation.



Name: Thorsten Muschal
Title: CLEPA President
Age: 52
Main challenge: Helping Europe’s suppliers navigate the coronavirus crisis and beyond.


“We need to make Europe an attractive marketplace. So, we have to raise our voice and have an influence on politicians,” CLEPA President Thorsten Muschal said.



CLEPA and ACEA Press Release: Automotive CEOs and European Commission discuss recovery plan that bolsters economy and Green Deal

COVID-19: Automotive CEOs and European Commission discuss recovery plan that bolsters economy and Green Deal

in CLEPA, 14-05-2020

CEOs from across the automotive value chain came together for a meeting with the European Commission to align on the priorities for a solid recovery plan for the automotive sector, with a view to stimulating the wider economy and bolstering the transformation to a carbon-neutral society.

CEOs of vehicle manufacturers and component suppliers, as well as their respective associations – the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) and the European Association of Automotive Suppliers (CLEPA) – held constructive discussions with Frans Timmermans, the Commission’s Executive Vice-President for the Green Deal, and Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market, during a conference call yesterday evening.

With extended factory closures across Europe, a loss in production of 2.4 million vehicles so far and car sales down by more than 95% in major EU markets last month, the whole sector is at risk of liquidity shortages and sees its performance threatened for some time to come. The situation in the automotive industry has a significant knock-on effect on other parts of the economy.

“The number one priority of the industry is to re-launch the market, thereby enabling production to resume at manufacturing sites across the EU,” stated ACEA Director General, Eric-Mark Huitema. “Given the near-total collapse in sales, it will be crucial to provide a strong market stimulus to enable vehicle makers to fully re-open production facilities and keep people in jobs.”

During the meeting, ACEA and CLEPA called on the European Commission to coordinate national fleet renewal schemes to ensure that the market conditions are harmonised across the continent, and to supplement these with the EU budget.

“As we work on putting the wheels back in motion, we must look for win-win solutions, addressing the pressing environmental, industrial and broader societal needs,” said Sigrid de Vries, CLEPA Secretary General. “The purpose of recovery measures should therefore be two-fold: to re-start the industry and to employ the full range of technology solutions that are available and needed for carbon-neutrality. Hand in hand with investments in renewable energy carriers and infrastructure, this will propel the Green Deal as well as safeguard employment and industrial activity in Europe.”

Although vehicle and component production is slowly starting to pick up again, there are huge discrepancies amongst member states. This is hampering the recovery of an industry that depends on supply chains spanning right across the European continent. The CEOs therefore re-iterated their plea for a coordinated re-start of activities and investments along the entire value chain.




CEOs and other industry participants present at the meeting:



  • Faurecia; Patrick Koller, Chief Executive Officer
  • Robert Bosch; Volkmar Denner, Chairman of the Board of Management
  • ZF Friedrichshafen; Wolf-Henning Scheider, Chief Executive Officer
  • CLEPA; Thorsten Muschal, President (member of the board of Faurecia)



  • BMW Group; Oliver Zipse, Chairman of the Board of Management
  • CNH Industrial; Suzanne Heywood, CEO
  • Daimler AG; Ola Källenius, Chairman of the Board of Management Daimler AG & Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars
  • Daimler Truck AG; Martin Daum, Chairman of the Board of Management
  • DAF; Harry Wolters, President
  • Ferrari; Michael Leiters, Chief Technology Officer
  • Fiat Chrysler Automobiles; Mike Manley, Chief Executive Officer and President ACEA
  • Honda Motor Europe; Ian Howells, Senior Vice President
  • IVECO; Gerrit Marx, President Commercial and Specialty Vehicles
  • Jaguar Land Rover; Ralf Speth, Chief Executive Officer
  • MAN Truck & Bus AG; Joachim Drees, CEO
  • Scania AB; Henrik Henriksson, President & CEO and Chairman ACEA Commercial Vehicle Board
  • Toyota Motor Europe; Didier Leroy, Chairman of the Board of Management
  • Volvo Car Group; Mårten Levenstam, Head of Product Strategy
  • Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles; Thomas Sedran, CEO and Chairman ACEA Light Commercial Vehicle General Managers’ Committee


  • CLEPA represents over 3.000 companies and over 20 national associations and sector associations
  • Automotive parts and system suppliers provide state-of-the-art components and innovative technology solutions for safe, smart and sustainable mobility, investing over 25 billion euros yearly in research and development.
  • Automotive suppliers in Europe employ overall nearly five million people across the continent.
  • More information about CLEPA can be found on www, or
  • Contact: Clara Guillén, Communications Manager,, +32 2 743 91 20.


About ACEA

  • ACEA 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.
  • The ACEA commercial vehicle members are DAF Trucks, Daimler Trucks, Ford Trucks, IVECO, MAN Truck & Bus, Scania, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, and Volvo Group.
  • More information about ACEA can be found on or
  • Contact: Cara McLaughlin, Communications Director,, +32 485 88 66 47.


Automotive industry restarts, but concerns on outlook deepen

COVID-19 is having a major impact on the economy, with an unprecedented halt in retail and manufacturing activity and concerns mounting on consumer sentiment. In April 2020, the Economic Sentiment Indicator in both the Eurozone and EU showed the strongest monthly decline since 1985, with both consumer and business confidence reaching lows last registered in March 2009.

in CLEPA, by Sigrid de Vries, 11-05-2020

This is the dramatic backdrop against which the European automotive industry is trying to ease out of lockdown, carefully ramping up its manufacturing activity. Restarting plants and logistical operations across the EU is a tedious and highly complex process, and ultimately relies on enough demand in the pipeline. It also relies on a functioning internal market, which is far from given today. Member states and regions are at very different stages in the corona crisis, and restart measures would benefit from a much deeper and broader Europe-wide coordination.

CLEPA regularly updates an overview of containment measures in Member States and whether automotive manufacturing and sales activity is resuming or set to restart. The overview includes latest announcements by OEMs on planned production restarts per country, and is part of the weekly COVID-19 news flash the association disseminates to its members.

Volatility of demand is considered the most critical issue for the automotive supply chain at the moment. A CLEPA survey of automotive system and component suppliers in Europe, gauging the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, shows 90% of respondents ranking uncertainty of what and how much to produce as their number one concern. Their future perspective depends very much on consumer sentiment and demand picking up substantially.

Future relies very much on demand picking up

The sector’s outlook has worsened considerably over the past weeks. Over 90% of businesses expect a drop in revenue in 2020 of at least 20%, up from 60% having this expectation in March. Over a third expect a reduction of more than 30%. Profitability will take an even harder hit, with more than half of respondents now expecting to make a loss before taxes. The perspective of a quick recovery worsened significantly as well. Three out of four businesses fear that it will take more than a year to recuperate, whereas four weeks ago the consensus tended towards 6-12 months. One third of respondents foresee a timeframe of two to three years.

CLEPA has urged EU and national governments this week to launch EU-coordinated vehicle renewal schemes to kickstart economic recovery and support the relaunch of the sector. Demand stimulus will help to increase the utilisation of manufacturing capacity and therefore safeguard jobs and investment capacity. The automotive sector will act as an engine of overall economic recovery thanks to the sector’s vast and interconnected ecosystem, significant employment impact and immediate knock-on effect on other sectors of the economy.

This call for action is part of the 25-point Joint Action Plan for a Successful Restart, published by CLEPA this week along with the three other European associations representing the full automotive value chain, from equipment and tyre suppliers, to vehicle manufacturers, to dealers and workshops. Together, the sector wants to contribute to a policy response to COVID-19 that ensures public health, minimises the impact on the economy and maintains focus on the overarching objectives of our time: the digital and carbon-neutral society.

25 points to minimise economic damage and keep focus on digital and carbon-neutral society

Europe needs a strong automotive ecosystem to push ahead with ambitious environmental, digital and road safety targets. Investment in people and R&D remain essential, and yet is under immediate pressure.

To cope with the crisis, a large share of businesses plan to cut investment and reduce their workforce and, according to the CLEPA survey, half of businesses intend to adjust investment and workforce already in the short-term. The remainder foresees such measures being taken in the next 6-12 months. Revision of manufacturing footprint is also considered.

Around five million Europeans work in automotive manufacturing, R&D and supporting operations. In total, the sector accounts for about 13.8 million jobs. With employment Commissioner Nicolas Schmit, first steps are being taken to build a dedicated skills pact for the automotive sector. The crisis is accelerating the transformation of the sector, and industry and policy makers must work together to sustain employment and make the workforce future proof.

To underpin Europe’s long-term competitiveness, the EU should also leverage all instruments at its disposal to support research and innovation. This includes the EU budgets for Horizon Europe, public procurement and financing tools from the EIB. Almost 40% of respondents in the CLEPA survey have already taken steps to cut R&D budgets, with 32% undecided and 30% at this stage having decided against. Supporting the innovative capacity of the sector will be crucial to relaunch from the crisis in a sustainable way. Automotive suppliers are among the largest private investors in R&D, contributing significantly to the competitiveness of the automotive sector in Europe.


CLEPA Secretary General

Outlook automotive suppliers worsens considerably, latest survey shows

A survey of automotive supplier companies in Europe to gauge the impact of the COVID-19 crisis shows that the sector’s outlook has worsened considerably over the past weeks.

in CLEPA, 08-05-2020

Over 90 percent of businesses expect a drop in revenue in 2020 of at least 20%, up from 60% in March. 35% percent expect a reduction of more than 30%. Profitability will take an even harder hit, with more than half of respondents now expecting to make a loss before taxes. The perspective of a quick recovery worsened significantly as well. Three out of four businesses fear that it will take more than a year to recuperate, whereas 4 weeks ago the consensus tended towards 6-12 months. One third of respondents counts with a timeframe of 2 to 3 years.

CLEPA, the European Association of Automotive Suppliers, surveyed its membership between April 27 to 30. The input was aggregated by consultancy firm McKinsey this week.


90% of respondents rank volatility of demand as the most critical issue for the automotive supply chain

Volatility of demand is considered the most critical issue for the automotive supply chain at the moment, with almost 90% of respondents ranking this topic their number one concern. Often, also, production restarts at very low levels. This makes fixed cost rocket compared to turnover. The further outlook depends very much on demand for vehicles and, hence, for automotive components picking up substantially. In this light, CLEPA together with the other European sector associations representing the automotive value chain, has urged governments to launch EU-coordinated vehicle renewal schemes to kickstart economic recovery and support the relaunch of the sector.


On health and safety 85% of respondents indicates to be well prepared and apply proactive risk mitigation measures

To cope with the crisis, a large share of businesses (84%) plan to cut investment and reduce workforce (78%). Almost 40% have already taken steps to cut R&D budgets, with 32% undecided and 30% at this stage decided against. Automotive suppliers are among the largest private investors in R&D, contributing significantly to the competitiveness of the automotive sector in Europe. Revision of manufacturing footprint is also considered.

Half of respondents plan to adjust investment and workforce already in the short-term. The remainder foresees such measures to be taken in the next 6-12 months. To date, the jobs of more than 1,1 million Europeans employed by vehicle manufacturers are affected by factory shutdowns. The wider automotive employment impact is even more critical: the general multiplier counts with 3 jobs in the immediate supply chain and another 3 for the value chain further down the line.

Health and safety on the work floor remains a matter of high priority both during and after the ramping-up of production. 85% of respondents indicates to be well prepared and apply proactive risk mitigation measures. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is seen as the main measure applied on the shop floor, with usage expected beyond the next three months. Distancing measures and decoupling of shifts are widely applied as well.