CLEPA welcomes the European Commission’s new trade strategy and is ready to continue to engage

CLEPA recognises that today’s communication confirms the EU’s growing attention for sustainability and level playing field. CLEPA will continue to play a constructive role ensuring that trade policy initiatives that aim to address legitimate concerns regarding level playing field, supply chains, human rights and sustainability are shaped effectively and do not result in counterproductive outcomes. It will be crucial to ensure that trade policy instruments do not circumvent or undermine the WTO. Instruments that could be perceived as protectionist should be carefully considered and trade partners should be consulted to avoid trade tensions and a spiral of retaliation measures. Trade in innovative and sustainable technologies will play a key role realising the objective of a sustainable and circular economy, highlighting the importance of a trade strategy that facilitates a global flow of goods and access to markets.

in CLEPA, 18-02-2021

CLEPA Secretary General Sigrid de Vries said: “CLEPA welcomes the European Commission’s new trade strategy and the clarity the communication provides on the core objectives of the EU’s trade policy. Europe’s automotive suppliers agree that an open trade regime is at the centre of Europe’s economic prosperity and competitiveness. Continued access to global markets and a stable, global trade environment will be crucial for our sector to recover from the current crisis and continue to invest to maintain our leading role as innovators in sustainable and safe mobility.   

The openness of the Single Market and Free Trade Agreements create opportunities for businesses across the world and help attract investments, creating jobs and strengthening Europe’s economic fabric. CLEPA will continue to support the Commission in its efforts to negotiate trade agreements with third countries and endorses ratification of concluded agreements, including the FTA with Mercosur. The Commission rightly pursues reform of the World Trade Organisation, as it will play a crucial role providing a secure and stable framework for international trade and investment.  This is particularly true for automotive suppliers who rely on an open and stable trade environment to fulfill a leading role in the global supply chain. The scale of the global market allows our industry to provide 1.7 million direct jobs in the EU alone and invest €30 billion a year in innovation.



CLEPA | Sheer dimension of chip shortages requires rethinking by industry and policy makers

The sheer dimension of the semiconductor shortage and the complexity of solving both short and long term issues requires rethinking of supply chain options by both industry and policy makers. It also signals how 2021 may well become a year of great volatility for manufacturing industries.

in CLEPA, by Sigrid de Vries, 17-02-2021

Many elements are coming together in the current semiconductor shortage in the automotive industry: from the fall-out of the COVID-19 crisis and the unpredictability of crisis recovery, to increased automotive demand for chips due to assisted-driving functions and electrification, to geopolitical and natural disaster ‘de-risking’, to competing demand from other sectors.

In the first wave of the pandemic, the automotive industry came to an almost complete standstill and had to dramatically adjust production volumes to fence off costs, with little to go on as regards timing and speed of the recovery. When demand then picked up rapidly, many were still wary on how solid the trend would be. The automotive supply chain for advanced chips is typically long and this added complexity: many actors need to align and sync their demand and supply.

Marked volatility may also hit sourcing of other key materials

In January 2021, the sector saw itself confronted with a large gap between ordered and produced vehicles, coupled with a higher demand for 2021 than scenarios foresaw and much lower stocks than usual. In addition, demand for electric vehicles started soaring driven by acceleration of the green transition, increasing pressure on semiconductor demand.

Industry and market watchers expect the disruptions to last well into the second half of the year, with great variety in who will be hit and for how long. Industry sources also warn that similar patterns may occur throughout 2021 in the sourcing of other materials needed to build cars as well as industrial goods and consumer products. A continued, marked volatility in demand, driven by uncertainty around the containment of the pandemic, regional variations, and difficulty to predict purchasing behaviour, may cause disturbance in the supply of essential resources. Logistics may be vulnerable too, with demand soaring in China taking away capacity from elsewhere.

The unmistakable trend, however, is that automotive demand for semiconductors will continue to grow big time due to the increasing share of automated and assisted driving technologies to keep drivers comfortable and safe, as well as the electrification of vehicles with the required sophisticated management of battery performance and other electronics.

Automotive demand for semiconductors will continue to grow big time

On average, a vehicle today already contains around a hundred advanced semiconductors chips, a steep increase compared to only a decade ago, but the value of semiconductor content of electrified vehicles can be up to three times higher. Expert estimations hold that electronics and semiconductor materials could represent up to 45% of the value of a car by 2030.

Automotive supplies are already heavily invested in vehicle electronics, covering the wide range of applications from on-board comfort and infotainment systems to active-safety features to battery and wider powertrain management. With activity and employment rapidly diminishing in combustion engine based technology, the expansion into ‘digital’ offers substantial opportunities.

Whereas the European semiconductor ecosystem currently provides employment for 200,000 people, McKinsey estimated in 2019 that under the right conditions, the automotive industry alone could create 400,000 European jobs related to electronic and software components for vehicles. Currently, 1.7 million people are employed by the automotive suppliers in Europe, on top of the 1.2 by vehicle manufacturers.

However, the investments needed amount to billions of euros and the return in both revenue and employment levels is years off in comparison to the impact of the restructuring costs and R&D efforts made in the here and now. In this light, the semiconductor events not just underline the attention required for the diversification and resilience of the supply chain. They also raise strategic questions for Europe.

Questions that the European Commission will try to partly address through a Microelectronics Alliance for Europe, to be launched next month, in analogy to the earlier established European Battery Alliance. The German and French governments are also looking to increasing industrial activity in this field, as voiced in a joint statement this week, notable through the IPCEI instrument (Important Project of Common European Interest), and argue that the European Recovery and Resilience Funds should be used for this.

Focus should be on R&I and market demand, rather than on subsidies and reshoring

The European Commission will look at both manufacturing options as well as strategic R&I, and this is the right approach. Both aspects need careful consideration. Successful industries do not result from subsidies and government intervention towards reshoring, but follow market demand and concrete business cases. The focus on R&I will be critical, as will the availability and strengthening of digital skills and competence throughout education and employment in Europe.

The key challenge will be to secure advanced semiconductor development and production in Europe, sharing base technology between players while allowing enough space for diversification, on a scale to profitably supply a home market as well as players abroad. The Commission has rightly identified automotive as one of four sectors to focus on. Automotive globally is responsible for around 10% of semiconductor demand, yet in Europe for 37%: there will be no successful European semiconductor strategy in which automotive won’t play a key role.

European semiconductor strategy cannot be successful without a key role for automotive

The future semiconductor strategy is connected to the wider question of how to ensure that EU industry as a whole captures business and employment opportunities in electronics, software and artificial intelligence and secure its future relevance. In this light, also the upcoming Digital Decade Strategy of the Commission and the review of the EU Industrial policy will need careful calibration. The many strategies and initiatives must be coherent and mutually reinforcing.

A successful industrial strategy will have to rely on the long game of supporting R&I investment, standard setting and improving Europe’s role in artificial intelligence research, skills as well as its attractiveness for international talent. The automotive sector has the potential to serve as an essential bridgehead for the wider European industrial base to capture opportunities of an increasingly digital economy.

Sigrid de Vries

CLEPA Secretary General


Automotive suppliers raise red flag over border closures and intensified inspections

The implementation of border controls between the German and the Czech and Austrian border crossings risk to create disturbances in automotive industry production plants soon.

in CLEPA, 15-02-2021

Sigrid de Vries, CLEPA Secretary General highlights: “Europe’s automotive suppliers are concerned about recent announcements on border closures and intensified inspections. These measures result in disruption at Europe’s internal borders and critical delays in the supply chain. The Single Market is an important achievement of the European Union. Defending its integrity is a priority, specifically with regards to the freedom of movement of goods and workers. Parts stuck at the border could disrupt our Just in Time supply chains, interrupt production and put the sector’s performance and jobs at risk”.

in CLEPA, 15-02-2021

While health and safety are paramount, and industry itself has taken numerous measures to keep up highest standards, it is also important to safeguard the integrity of the internal market. “EU governments must respect their commitment agreed during the January Council to keep borders open”, says de Vries.

“Transport of goods should be exempt from border closures and Member States should ensure the alignment of their border control measures to support the functioning of the Single Market. If controls at the border crossings are intensified, Member States should respect their commitment to prioritise freight transport, as done successfully during the first wave through the introduction of ‘Green Lanes‘ with easily applicable rules. It is important to note that COVID-test requirements for professional truck drivers could undermine corridors for goods and risk disrupting supply chains, as shown by the example of Dover in December, where long queues to test truck drivers resulted in significant disruption, while almost all truck drivers tested negative for the virus. Only by setting up a practical test practice that can ensure the protection of the workers while guaranteeing the supply of goods would keep the automotive supply chain working”.



CLEPA – Optimism and caution prevail, entering into 2021

The automotive and mobility technology suppliers have started the year 2021 with mixed feelings of optimism and caution. Optimism, because demand for vehicles and components is picking up more rapidly than expected and the appetite for new, innovative technologies is accelerating. Caution, because the scars from 2020 are deep and the level of uncertainty remains high.

in CLEPA, by Thorsten Muschal, 21-01-2021

What are the threats and opportunities for the automotive and mobility technology sector in 2021? We’ve listed five themes that will play a key role in shaping the recovery:

Click here for the full CLEPA outlook on the recovery in 2021

Thorsten Muschal, member of the management of Faurecia and CLEPA President comments on the supply industry’s outlook on the new year: “COVID-19 has hit the automotive supply industry particularly hard and the impact of the crisis will remain a major factor in the new year. Many in the supply industry, in the last months of 2020, have managed to recover a good portion of the earlier revenue losses, allowing for optimism as regards further recovery in 2021. However, uncertainty remains high given the volatility associated with the containment of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Until large parts of the population have been vaccinated, the threat keeps looming of supply chain disruptions, factory lockdowns and border closures which caused much damage during the first wave of the pandemic. As a consequence, the planning of production remains much more challenging than it usually already is in the just-in-time operations of the sector.

Planning of production remains much more challenging than usual, as illustrated by the semi-conductor shortage

An illustration of this is provided by the current shortage of semi-conductors in the automotive sector. A combination of different factors – the COVID pandemic, the trade war between China and the US, a spike in demand from the consumer electronics side and the acceleration of vehicle electrification – has added weeks of delay to already long supply chains.

This has fortified questions on the need for ‘strategic autonomy’ of the EU and localisation of supply which need to be carefully assessed in the context of global playing fields and competitiveness. The global trade environment will in any case continue being an important factor for stability.

In 2021, the risk of further employment loss remains high. Last year, over 50 thousand job cuts were announced by Tier1 suppliers alone, according to Eurofound data, matching a similar number with vehicle manufacturers. The situation among small and mid-sized enterprises is more difficult to account for but, as a rule of thumb, one job with Tier1 suppliers generally supports another two to three livelihoods down the supply chain. Smaller companies also tend to have more trouble keeping up liquidity to sustain their business.

Substantial R&I investments are crucial for the development of affordable mobility

A further major concern is presented by the cuts that many suppliers had to make in their R&D budgets in order to cope with the crisis. R&I is the main factor in ensuring that automotive products are continually improved in terms of environmental impact and social sustainability. European suppliers are at the forefront when it comes to making vehicles continuously more sustainable, smart and safe with the help of advanced powertrain solutions, connectivity and automation. Substantial R&I investments are crucial for the development of affordable mobility. Particularly in today’s time of rapid change, with the unfolding transition to a green and digital societal, the impact cannot be underestimated, and is essential for the competitiveness for our industry.

2021 will be an extremely dense year from an EU policy perspective. We expect regulatory proposals on crucial topics such as CO2 emissions, Euro 7, data use and access, artificial intelligence, and the organisation of the aftermarket. Sustainability criteria and circular economy requirements will continue to fuel policy debate as well.

For businesses and policy makers, a major challenge will be to manage the transition in an inclusive and competitive fashion. Our primary objective, as industry, is to transform the mobility of tomorrow, to up- and re-skill our workforce and to keep R&D highest on our priority lists. As part of the implementation of a renewed European industrial strategy, it will be crucial to analyse the specific needs of industrial ecosystems such as ours, to tailor political support and measure impact on competitiveness and employment—all of course within the broad policy agenda of the EU Green Deal and digital transition.

The year 2020 has been one like no other. Working together has been instrumental to cope with the many challenges and this will be no different in 2021. The COVID crisis has shown the value of standing strong, together. In this spirit, we look forward to working with our customers, stakeholders and policy makers again also in 2021, advancing sustainable mobility and a competitive industry in Europe.”


Thorsten Muschal is Executive Vice President of Sales and Program Management at Faurecia, and CLEPA President since 2020.


EU-China investment agreement is hopeful sign, but clarity on substance is critical

Europe’s automotive suppliers welcome the conclusion of negotiations between the EU and China on a Comprehensive Agreement on Investment

in CLEPA, 30-12-2020

Sigrid de Vries, CLEPA secretary general, comments: “China is our industry’s second most important investment destination and European automotive suppliers are the biggest foreign investors in the sector in China. There are growing concerns that investment and market access conditions in China are uncertain and do not reflect the openness of the European market. A deal that secures and improves reciprocity in market access and investment conditions is therefore crucial for our industry and the protection of hundred thousands of jobs across the EU and China.”

European suppliers would support a deal that eliminates hurdles for investment in so-called new energy vehicles, provides enhanced protection of intellectual property and introduces more transparency and disciplines on state aid to establish a level playing field and reduce market distortions. Lastly, the deal could provide a meaningful institutional underpinning for cooperation between the EU and China to achieve climate neutrality and address human rights concerns.

CLEPA wants to acknowledge the efforts on both sides over the past seven years to come to an agreement. De Vries: “With the political decision to conclude negotiations being taken, it is now critical that the European Commission engages with all stakeholders to provide more clarity on the substance of the agreement. European suppliers currently lack sufficient detail on the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment to assess whether the sector’s concerns are sufficiently addressed. CLEPA is ready to scrutinise the agreement in principle and contribute to the next steps.”


Automotive suppliers comment on the EU-UK trade deal

The European Association of Automotive Suppliers, CLEPA, welcomes the Christmas trade agreement between the EU and UK and thanks all parties involved for their commitment to getting a deal agreed. This deal represents the starting point to ensure the continuation of the cooperation for both sides.

in CLEPA, 24-12-2020

Sigrid de Vries, CLEPA Secretary General, commented: “This deal avoids what would have been a worst-case scenario for European suppliers and the many jobs depending on the EU-UK trade relationship. Businesses and customs authorities now need The European Association of Automotive Suppliers, CLEPA, welcomes the Christmas trade agreement between the EU to work around the clock to get ready for the new trading conditions only one week before its implementation. We ask policy makers to engage with us to ensure trade in components is not needlessly being hit by tariffs and to avoid disruption at the border.”

CLEPA will analyse the technical details of the deal as soon as all the material is published to assess the extent into which this deal will serve the interests of the highly integrated EU/UK automotive supply chain, and refrain from commenting on the substance of the deal before then. Already certain is though that the deal will not avoid the resurrection of many trade barriers. We will therefore continue to work constructively with our partners in the EU and the UK to ensure that this free trade agreement proves a first building block rather than an end point.




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.


Keeping mobility affordable will become a crucial question

People cherish the freedom, comfort, and safety of their cars, and more goods than ever are being delivered to our doorsteps each and every day. COVID-19 has, apart from the pressure it’s been showing on the planet’s ecosystem, also firmly underlined the role transport plays in keeping society running. Europe’s ‘sustainable and smart mobility strategy’, published yesterday, acknowledges this. But the jury remains out on whether the right balance has been struck between the economy and the environment.

in CLEPA, by Sigrid de Vries, 10-12-2020

The strategy lists over 80 actions in 10 categories, announcing a ‘new type of mobility’: affordable, accessible in both cities and rural areas, clean, climate proof, comfortable, and efficient. Cars will still have a role to play and trucks will still be needed, underlined both Climate Commissioner Timmermans and Transport Commissioner Valean. But logistics will become smarter, freight will find its way increasingly to rail, and cars will be less dominant on the roads. Of those driving around, 30 million – which is ten percent – will be electric by 2030, the strategy proclaims.

No doubt, the EU needs to have a strong vision on the future of transport. The strategy rightly promotes a holistic view on the sustainable transport and mobility needs of society and the impact of policy measures on people’s lives and livelihoods. Valean highlighted the magnitude of transport – Europeans travelled some 6,000 billion kilometres in 2019 – citing that mobility is often the second largest expenditure in a household.

No doubt, the EU needs to have a strong vision on the future of transport

But the mantra ‘no one should be left behind’ needs considerably more elaboration in all of the EU’s policy proposals. How to actually keep our mobility affordable is set to become a crucial question in the years to come. The ‘just transition’ needs some legs to stand on as well. Regarding the impact of the green transition on employment, it does not suffice to simply state that electrification creates new jobs. It does, but it also costs jobs. This is where the need for a well-managed transition comes in.

“The car industry will flourish in Europe”, said Timmermans, emphasising the word ‘will’. CLEPA stresses, in response, that this statement needs to be more than wishful thinking. The industry transformation is underway, heavy investments are made, the technology options are clear. But the policy measures announced so far do not take industrial considerations into account much.

Yesterday’s strategy used the opportunity to beat the by-now-familiar Green Deal drums: the technology solution favoured by policy makers is electric.

Yes, so the strategy upholds: maintaining technology-neutrality across all modes is key – to then state that this should not lead to inaction on eliminating fossil fuel-based solutions. With the need to respect the principle of technology-neutrality, electricity and hydrogen are seen as the most promising options, so the paper posits.

Hence, by June 2021, the Commission will be revising its CO2 standards for cars and vans in order to ensure a clear pathway from 2025 onwards towards ‘zero-emission mobility’. The Commission will do the same for heavy duty vehicles in 2022.

The term zero-emission mobility continues to be the preferred one, although it disregards the carbon emissions during energy generation, as well as vehicle and battery production. ‘Zero-emission’ is now also applied when discussing policy for pollutant emissions, or ‘euro 7’ in technical policy speak, mixing up distinct regulations with a single stroke of the pen.

The policy measures announced so far do not take industrial considerations into account much

This, in fact, is the kind of detail that matters a great deal and ultimately translates into engineering targets, product portfolios, and the extent to which jobs will be maintained, relocated, or transformed.

CLEPA responded to the publication yesterday with its own messages once more. A manageable transition, for the climate, industry, and employment rests on competitive technologies such as the internal combustion engine, plug-in hybrids, fuel cell, and battery electric vehicles. Climate-neutral internal combustion with fuels from sustainable renewable sources is a viable option as part of the overall mix of solutions.

Only a transformation that is industrially successful and socially accepted can be sustainable politically and achieve the climate neutrality objective. A strategy built exclusively on battery and fuel cell electric vehicles contradicts the principle of technology openness and will neither achieve carbon neutrality nor support European competitiveness.

Automotive suppliers fully support the Paris agreement and the objective of achieving climate neutrality by 2050. The industry is also the one providing the technology solutions that will ultimately allow these goals to be realised. We will now scrutinise the communication in all its detail, and contribute to the detailed design of the rules, regulations, and definitions shaping the path forward.

In the meantime, we wish you a safe and healthy turn of the year!

Sigrid de Vries

CLEPA Secretary General


A manageable transition to climate neutrality rests on competitive technologies

Sigrid de Vries, Secretary General of CLEPA comments on the Strategy for Sustainable and Smart Mobility, adopted today by the European Commission:

in CLEPA, 09-12-2020

“A manageable transition, for the climate, industry and employment, rests on competitive technologies such as the internal combustion engine, plug-in hybrids, fuel cell and battery electric vehicles. Only a transformation that is industrially successful and socially accepted can be sustainable politically and achieve the climate neutrality objective. A strategy that builds exclusively on battery and fuel cell electric vehicles contradicts the principle of technology openness and will neither achieve carbon neutrality nor support European competitiveness.”

The automotive suppliers in Europe, associated in CLEPA, support the Paris Agreement and the objective of climate neutrality for 2050. They are convinced that the way to climate neutrality is through a technology open environment that balances environmental, social as well as economic goals.

De Vries: “The question is not if, but how to best achieve climate neutrality. Climate policy must strive for effectiveness and efficiency in order to achieve the objective at a minimum cost to society. We underline, that an approach taking life-cycle or well-to-wheel emissions into account will create incentives for all technologies to reduce emissions and increase efficiency.”

CLEPA welcomes the Commission’s work on exploring an approach, including impact assessment, that takes into account the potential contribution of fuels from sustainable renewable sources including the option of a voluntary crediting mechanism. It is positive that the Commission considers increasing targets for renewable energy and sustainable renewable fuels in the Renewable Energy Directive (RED II) to ramp up their development and deployment.

De Vries: “Climate-neutral internal combustion with fuels from sustainable renewable sources is a viable option. Supplying renewable energy and fuels for mobility along with the necessary infrastructure must be a priority for policy makers, including for road transport and not limited to other sectors. It is positive that the Communication recognises this, and we are keen on working further on the rules and conditions to make deployment of renewable energy and sustainable fuels from renewable sources a success. The targets of 3 million public charging points by 2030 and 500 hydrogen stations by 2025 are welcome. But the need will by far exceed these numbers, specifically if the CO2 emission targets for vehicles for the year 2030 were to be made tougher.”

CLEPA stands ready to contribute to the detailed design of the rules, regulations and definitions shaping the path ahead. For one, it will be important to keep the clear distinction between pollutant emissions and carbon emissions and to maintain the focus of the respective regulations.

CLEPA welcomes the Commission’s objective of designing a clear framework for artificial intelligence (AI).  “Artificial intelligence is a key enabler for the automotive industry’s digital transformation. AI can also contribute to reducing the impact of transport on the environment, and significantly improve road safety”, says De Vries.

CLEPA supports a horizontal AI legislation addressing only high-risk AI applications and ensuring a level playing field for all actors. These principles can be complemented with technical requirements in sector-specific regulations (either new or by modifying existing legislation), if deemed necessary.

Availability and access to data from connected vehicles is still often hampered, as the strategy correctly points out. A European Common Mobility Data Space is welcome in principle but further details on the design and objectives are required to assess its added value.

CLEPA welcomes the objective of automated mobility being deployed on a large scale by 2030 and calls on the European Commission to speed up processes to create a harmonised EU legal approach for highly-automated applications as a precondition for reaching this goal.



Stakeholders’ joint letter: Sustainable renewable fuels should be included in the EU mobility legislation


The signatories of this joint letter represent a crucial part of the automotive, fuel, energy industry and civil society in Europe, i.e. a combined force behind the transformation of EU mobility towards climate neutrality in a smart and sustainable way.

The European Union has set itself the ambitious objective of becoming climate neutral by 2050 and consequently raised its 2030 climate target. Whether the objective will be achieved and what impact this will have on EU competitiveness and employment strongly depends on the design of a suite of climate policies for the coming years. Transport and future mobility will be a central element of these policies. The EU’s long-term climate strategy cannot rely solely on the development of new technologies and infrastructures; it must embrace a diverse portfolio of solutions in parallel, including existing sustainable renewable liquid and gaseous fuel solutions that can reduce greenhouse gases starting today.

Against this ambition, the EU Commission will outline the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy and revise important mobility and energy legislations, such as CO2 emissions standard for cars, vans and also heavy-duty vehicles. These upcoming revisions are the timely opportunity to implement a truly technology neutral approach by including the contribution to emissions reduction achieved using sustainable renewable fuels.

This recommendation aligns with the following principles, crucial to achieve a carbon neutral road transport sector in Europe:

  • Technology and fuel diversity towards 2050 – With increased climate targets there is added urgency for transport to accelerate its path towards net-zero emissions. To facilitate this acceleration, a broad portfolio of solutions is necessary to support the full spectrum of geographic, economic and vocational market demands. Considering the lack of a “one-size-fits-all solution”, it is imperative that all low carbon options, including alternative and renewable fuels, play a role in the energy transition not only on the existing fleet but also for new vehicles to curb the GHG emissions from the road transport sector across all the EU countries.
  • Coupling the efforts for the expansion of the sustainable renewable fuels market with further improvement of vehicle efficiency – Despite gains in fuel efficiency, increased demand for personal mobility and freight transport have led to increased CO2 emissions from road transport. It is necessary to leverage all available solutions to reverse this trend and accelerate the decarbonisation of the sector. Accelerating the production of sustainable renewable fuels, accompanied by continued development of a range of new vehicles optimised for these fuels, can have a climate-positive impact today via the existing and future vehicle fleet for both passenger cars and heavy-duty vehicles.
  • Enabling a competitive, sustainable market till 2050 – Many publications have shown that relying on full electrification alone will not result in climate neutrality in 2050. Products and solutions need to be placed according to their mission profile, where they are more necessary and accommodating the market demand. Conventional fuels and engine technologies provide a stream of revenues for vehicle manufacturers that can continuously be invested into alternative powertrains and solutions, according to the mission segment. As global players, vehicle manufacturers will maintain a central role in delivering innovative products, also in other parts of the world.
  • Integrating a growing rate of renewables in the market to practice the circular economy while seizing industrial opportunities – Sustainable renewable fuels technologies offer sectorial integration with the waste management and the agricultural sectors. This enables a clever approach to treat waste materials, which would have otherwise been disposed with the consequent emissions, while producing sustainable energy and, at the same time, high quality by-products like bio-fertiliser. This is a landmark example of circular economy targeting emissions in agriculture and waste. At the same time, the production of sustainable renewable fuel technologies involves a long value-chain, from renewable energy systems to components, taking place mostly in Europe. Sustainable renewable fuels value chain can contribute to create many new jobs and to maintain industrial leadership, while strengthening the cooperation with third-countries on innovative energy projects to speed up the energy transition.
  • System affordability – It is key to avert mobility poverty and to avoid a two-speed Europe while heading towards a carbon neutral mobility system. Being based on proven engine technologies and an already structured distribution network, sustainable renewable fuels are the most cost-efficient way to contribute to the decarbonisation process at the lowest possible cost to society. Besides the cost in relation to emission reductions, it is important to consider the impact on industrial competitiveness, innovation, affordability, and employment to ensure a fair transition for all European citizens.

Our industries are ready to contribute to a technology-open, ambitious but pragmatic regulatory framework to drive the decarbonisation of EU road transport.


Read the full letter here



Record number of award entries confirms critical importance of technology leadership in challenging times

  • Aptiv, BorgWarner, Continental, and Valeo emerge as winners of the 2020 edition of the CLEPA Innovation Awards
  • The SME Special Prize recognises Automotus, Chargetrip, e-troFit, Robby Moto Engineering, and Vayyar as winners
  • European automotive suppliers invest more than €30 billion in R&D annually

in CLEPA, 25-11-2020

In a year of unprecedented circumstances, the CLEPA Innovation Awards was equally unprecedented, breaking records in terms of the number of applications, participation rate, and number of countries of origin. The takeaway is clear: Innovation is a top priority for the automotive industry, and suppliers are delivering the solutions for the mobility of the future.

Organised by CLEPA, the European association of automotive suppliers, the Innovation Awards has become a leading contest in the mobility ecosystem, showcasing solutions that are driving the digital, carbon-neutral transformation of the automotive sector. These projects come from teams with extensive backgrounds in research and innovation, and from a broad variety of companies, considering the breadth of the industry.

The innovation technologies are grouped by four distinct categories: Connectivity and Automation, Cooperation, Environment and Safety. For each of these categories, the jury assessed the innovations taking into account their level of market relevance, impact, quality, and ambition, in order to select the finalists and winners.

SMEs take central role in developing technologies for smart mobility  

The competition, in its fifth edition, attracted regional and multinational companies alike, as well as small and medium-sized companies and startups from all over the world. For the third time, a special prize was awarded in each category to SMEs, acknowledging the important contribution they bring to the industry’s resourcefulness, ingenuity, and competitiveness.

This year, the long list of innovations presented by SMEs have one point in common, namely the advancements they are making towards digitalisation. Almost all the SME’s applications, across all four categories, incorporated some form of smart mobility solution.

The nominees in the fields of Connectivity and Automation, Cooperation, Environment, and Safety were announced during the CLEPA Innovation Week, from 19 to 24 November. These dedicated days highlighted the relevance of mobility technology in all categories, culminating with the CLEPA Innovation Awards online ceremony on 25 November.

Supporting research & innovation is key to EU’s recovery

CLEPA President Thorsten Muschal and CLEPA Secretary General Sigrid de Vries led the conversation with mobility experts and representatives from the winning companies during the online gala.

“I am really proud to see the many examples of excellence shown today. The record number of award entries confirms the critical importance of technology leadership in these challenging times. To strengthen Europe’s competitiveness, the European Union should maximise the support for pre-competitive research, be it through the budget for ‘Horizon Europe’, the funds for public procurement, or the financing tools of the European Investment Bank”, said President Thorsten Muschal.

“COVID-19 is accelerating the change in the automotive industry towards green and digital, but companies need to be capable of investing: this is where the impact of the pandemic poses the biggest challenge. European policy makers can make a difference: the regulatory framework must be technology-open and reward innovation”, said Secretary General Sigrid de Vries during the closing of the virtual conference.

Harald Proff, Deloitte Global Automotive Sector Leader, added during his intervention: “With less growth, innovation becomes even more important. Due to the corona pandemic and the strong transformational changes, suppliers are facing great uncertainty. The CLEPA Innovation Awards play an important role in recognising outstanding achievements in the supplier industry and making those visible.” Deloitte has been supporting the CLEPA Innovation Awards from its inception five years ago.

Society reaps the benefits from innovation

Among the awarded innovations, clear examples of societal benefit can be found across the spectrum. For many technologies, the focus lies on making vehicles more connected and more automated. From an application that converts vehicles into digitals hubs to a system that allows 3D experiences to enrich its users’ driving experience with information, navigation support, and entertainment, paving the way to the autonomous vehicle.

Cooperation among different partners, bringing together different levels and areas of expertise, leads to clear benefits for both suppliers and OEMs as well as the end user. Many of the submitted innovation technologies are a direct result of cooperative partnerships, further illustrating the value of cooperation in the industry.

Much work is also being done within the sector to push forward with technologies that meet environmental demands. Technologies which improve vehicle´s efficiency, range, and consumption, leading to lower emissions are at the forefront of research developments.

Lastly, safety applications are using the technology excellence of suppliers to remove road hazards and prevent accidents. Developments in lighting, camera and sensor technology, are all contributing to the reaching the ultimate objective of having zero casualties in traffic.

  • Leading competition returns in 2021

The CLEPA Innovation Awards, which will take place once more in 2021, is open to any and all companies that are contributing to the advancement of mobility with their technology. Next year’s award ceremony will take place on 26 October 2021.

The results of the 2020 edition are:

Connectivity & Automation

  • WINNER: Aptiv, Infotainment Compute Platform
  • 2nd PRIZE: Lear Corporation, Xevo Market
  • 3rd PRIZE: Continental, Natural 3D Display
  • SME WINNER: Chargetrip, EV Routing API
  • SME 2nd PRIZE: Ekkono, Virtual Sensors
  • SMEs 3rd PRIZE: Blickfeld, 3D Light Detection & Ranging System


  • WINNER: Continental, Body High-Performance Computer
  • 2nd PRIZE: Plastic Omnium, SmartFACE
  • 3rd PRIZE: Adient, Floating Seat
  • SME WINNER: e-troFit, Electrification Kit
  • SME 2nd PRIZE (ex aequo): DeGould, Auto-scan
  • SME 2nd PRIZE (ex aequo): Deltaray, Accelerated 3D X Ray Inspection


  • WINNER: BorgWarner, Cooled SiC Inverter
  • 2nd PRIZE: Valeo, 48V eAccess
  • 3rd PRIZE: ZF, eTrailer
  • SME WINNER: (ex aequo): Automotus
  • SME WINNER (ex aequo): Robby Moto Engineering, Range Extender
  • SME 2nd PRIZE: AutoDAP, Precise Vehicle Identification System


  • WINNER: Valeo, PictureBeam Monolithic
  • 2nd PRIZE: Vision Systems, Smart-Vision
  • 3rd PRIZE: Xperi, In-cabin Sensing
  • SME WINNER: Vayyar, Imaging Radar for Automotive Safety Applications
  • SME 2nd PRIZE: TriEye, CMOS-Based SWIR Camera
  • SME 3rd PRIZE: EasyRain, Aquaplaning Intelligent Solution

Discover all the benefits of these applications and learn more about the underlying technologies in the explanatory videos and the Innovation Awards finalists’ catalogue.