Launch of the Automotive Regions Alliance strengthens industrial ecosystems

  • Under the EU Committee of the Regions (CoR), the Automotive Regions Alliance (ARA) has been created to support a fair and successful mobility transition for regions along the entire value chain, guaranteeing that no region is left behind.
  • The Automotive Skills Alliance (ASA), of which CLEPA, ACEA, CECRA and ETRMA are founding members, is a key initiative in support of the sector transformation through identifying needs for a skilled workforce and facilitating the regional implementation in close cooperation with industry, academia and regions.
  • The automotive sector welcomes the initiative by the European CoR to establish the ARA and proposes a strategic partnership between the ASA and ARA, given the synergies and shared goals to facilitate the green and digital sector transformation.

in CLEPA, 30-06-2022

A new Automotive Regions Alliance launched on 30 June under the flag of the European Committee of the Regions, putting important institutional weight behind a fair and successful mobility transition for regions along the entire value chain, guaranteeing that no region is left behind.

The Alliance aims to bring together regions with strong automotive and supply industries that want to play an active role in the decarbonisation of the transport sector and contribute to the objectives of the European Green Deal, while strengthening regional industrial ecosystems and value creation, as well as ensuring economic and social cohesion in every European territory impacted by the transition. The ARA launched during the June Plenary Session of the European Committee of the Regions, in the presence of Nicolas Schmit, European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights.

The automotive sector welcomes the initiative and looks forward to strengthening the link between the Automotive Regions Alliance and the Automotive Skills Alliance, the sectorial initiative under the Pact for Skills that supports the upskilling and reskilling of the automotive workforce to facilitate the green and digital transformation.

CLEPA Secretary General Sigrid de Vries, also representing the Automotive Skills Alliance and the broader value chain, noted in her speech, “The automotive industry is one of the most important industrial sectors in Europe, and fully endorses the Green Deal objectives. The automotive regions have a crucial role in making the transformation a success: they bring the local knowledge and network to ensure the transition is green, as well as just and resilient.

The green and digital transformation, and the speed of such a transition, represents significant challenges for all of us along the supply chain. The transformation requires dialogue, co-creation, and a dedicated funding mechanism and platform to discuss and implement the transition pathway. It is important we bring the pledge to life that nobody is left behind. Our workers are an essential asset not only for industry, but for Europe.”

The Automotive Skills Alliance counts more than 90 partners including automotive industry, social partners, academia but also regions. The collaboration between the two alliances should support the different initiatives that are being developed in the automotive regions, while coordinating the transformation of the workforce through the whole value chain.

The Council vote on CO2 standards puts high responsibility on policymakers to support the transition – Statement from CLEPA’s Secretary General Sigrid de Vries

The Environment and Climate ministers of the 27 Members State met yesterday to deliberate on the Council of the European Union’s general approach on CO2 emission standards for cars and vans.

in CLEPA, 29-06-2022

After negotiations that lasted late into the night, ministers adopted a position which in essence confirms the European Commission’s proposal, including a 100% CO2 emission reduction target in 2035, which is a de facto ban on the internal combustion engine. Council calls for a review of the legislation in 2026, based on an assessment of progress against the reduction targets, technological developments, including plug-in hybrids and the importance of a just transition. The Commission is asked to make a proposal for registering vehicles after 2035 running exclusively on CO2-neutral fuels.

Regarding the outcome of the Council meeting, CLEPA’s Secretary General Sigrid de Vries states:

“We take note of the decision which confirms in principle the de facto ban on the internal combustion engine as of 2035 but does not fully close the door to considering emission reduction using renewable fuels. We have long argued in favour of a technology open approach, with a smart and sensible technology mix of electric vehicles and a measured use of alternative solutions involving advanced internal combustion engine technology.

We are glad to see support from Council for vehicles running on renewable fuels. Whereas we will see a vast deployment of electric vehicles, there are practical, ready to use solutions available for hybrid vehicles, as well as for the existing cars, vans and trucks on the road, which so far have not found sufficient political support. We are looking forward to continuing the dialogue with the European Commission. We had hoped for a clearer decision against banning technology to avoid damage to the existing industrial fabric and to make progress towards an effective and efficient policy for climate neutral mobility.”

With the position agreed by the Council, negotiations with the European Parliament can start. Given the proximity of the mutual positions, these negotiations should not take long.

Looking ahead, Sigrid de Vries comments:

“The decision confirms the trajectory for a substantial transformation of the transport sector at a very high pace. Automotive suppliers are and will continue to do everything they can to make this a success for climate, workers, users of transport and business. However, this decision puts a high responsibility on policymakers to support the transition. We are concerned about the lack of commitment when it comes to the deployment of charging and refuelling infrastructure as well as the capacity for producing renewable electricity and renewable fuels. Going forward, criteria such as affordability, access to raw materials, emissions along the life cycle and employment in the sector need to be considered. The ambitious electrification targets can only be met if the framework conditions are in place.”



CLEPA and CECRA send urgent call to EU governments on the importance of technology open CO2 standards for climate protection and mobility

Ahead of the Council decision on CO2 emission reduction from cars and vans on 28 June, the European organisations CLEPA—representing automotive suppliers, and CECRA—the voice of dealers and repairers, have sent a letter to EU national governments raising the urgency for a CO2 legislation that balances the needs of climate protection with the industrial, social and geopolitical realities that the sector is facing.

in CLEPA & CECRA, 21-06-2022

In this letter, the organisations express their support for rapid electrification, but warn about the need to make the transition manageable, considering the challenges that an all-electric mandate for all new vehicles by 2035 mean would mean.

The signatories emphasise that moving towards a well-to-wheel or life-cycle approach that considers the positive contribution sustainable renewable fuels can make to climate protection would be vastly superior, for industry, society, and the climate, compared to a tailpipe logic. It would also support the necessary ramp-up of low- and zero carbon fuels to decarbonise the existing fleet.

As a minimum, supporting other proposals made in the Council could keep the window of opportunity open for low-emission technologies, notably by accompanying the 2035 target with a provision for the best performing low-emission technologies at least until 2039 and to consider the intrinsic differences of cars and vans in a differentiated target for these vehicle types.




Benjamin Krieger to become CLEPA’s Secretary General as of September 2022

  • CLEPA members firmly opt for strength and continuity to navigate challenging times for the sector
  • Mr Krieger brings over 15 years of experience in EU affairs, the last four as CLEPA Head of Government Affairs

in CLEPA, 10-06-2022

CLEPA, the European Association of Automotive Suppliers, has appointed Mr Benjamin Krieger as new Secretary General as of 1 September 2022, succeeding Ms Sigrid de Vries. Mr Krieger, a German national, has been CLEPA’s Head of Government Affairs since 2018, and worked in various positions in Brussels since 2007.

Speaking at the CLEPA General Assembly, held in Brussels on 9 June, Mr Thorsten Muschal, CLEPA President and EVP Sales & Program Management at Forvia Group said, “Since his first days at CLEPA, Benjamin Krieger has shown strong leadership and profound understanding of European policies, as well as of complex technical and political aspects shaping the daily reality of global automotive supply chains. Benjamin has worked closely with Sigrid and the association members on strategic matters, and proven extraordinary capacity to anticipate and react to industry needs. With this appointment, the CLEPA membership firmly opts for strength and continuity to navigate the highly challenging times for our sector. I’m convinced Benjamin will further strengthen the voice of the organisation.”

Benjamin Krieger adds, “I am very much looking forward to take on this new challenge, working together with the CLEPA team and the membership to promote the interests of this important industry for Europe.  The mobility transition represents both a huge challenge and opportunity, which CLEPA will continue to help shape with a solutions-oriented approach. I warmly thank Sigrid de Vries for her leadership and am confident we will continue to collaborate also in the future.”

As reported on 1 June, Ms de Vries will leave CLEPA on 31 August to become Director General of ACEA, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association in Brussels. She adds, “I wish Benjamin and all the team success in this new chapter. CLEPA is well positioned with strong competence and culture in the secretariat, and highly engaged members. We’ll now work on a smooth transition over the next few months.”

Benjamin Krieger has led the government affairs team of CLEPA for over four years, focusing on carbon and pollutant emissions standards, the wider sustainability agenda, digitalisation of mobility, international trade, and competitiveness. Originally from Germany, Mr Krieger has been working in the EU policy sphere for 15 years, with stations as Head of Office and Press Spokesperson for a delegation of MEPs in the European Parliament and advising businesses and associations as a consultant for strategic political communication.


CLEPA General Assembly 2022: CLEPA consolidates its role as proactive voice representing automotive suppliers

After two years of online meetings, CLEPA held an in-person General Assembly meeting in Brussels, welcoming more than 60 participants, representing 12 national associations and around 45 corporate and associate members.

in CLEPA, 10-06-2022

The meeting was opened by CLEPA President, Thorsten Muschal, who highlighted that “Automotive suppliers have spent the last two years proactively responding to supply chain disruptions and chip shortages caused by the impact of COVID-19. The current inflation period with massively increased costs, especially for energy, transport and materials, is intensifying an already stressed supply chain. However, we are a resilient industry and always find a way to transform and adapt to changing circumstances, but the current pressures we are facing are unprecedented”. He also confirmed the role that CLEPA has, as an authoritative voice, representing the automotive supplier community and providing value for its members.

A good part of the meeting was dedicated to two key topics affecting the sector. The ongoing discussion on climate regulation was at the centre of CLEPA policy work, specifically, the “Fit for 55” package including the legislative proposal for CO2 standards for cars and vans, where CLEPA calls for a mixed technology policy framework that supports innovation and provides flexibility.

Further, the ongoing issues on the supply chain disruptions that are still affecting the sector were highlighted. These challenges require a full commitment to collaboration and a flexible regulatory framework that facilitates investment and supports the ongoing transition.

The General Assembly also confirmed new and re-elected members of the CLEPA Board, and thirteen new members, as listed below.

New corporate members:

  • ARaymond – Software for automotive fastening systems
  • Arriver – Software brand, sensor perception and drive policy
  • BASF – innovative chemical solutions for sustainable mobility
  • Bosal – Powertrain, Chassis, Energy conversion
  • Euro Group Laminations – Production and distribution of melded parts and assemblies
  • Huf Hülsbeck & Fürst – Electronic control units, electronic steering locks
  • Gentex – Vision systems, sensors in-vehicle connectivity products
  • Lear – Seating and E-Systems
  • smart eye – Driver monitoring system
  • Tobii – Eye-tracking, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and advanced signal processing
  • Vitesco Technologies – Powertrain technologies

New associate members:

  • OBRIST ?– Automotive powertrain systems, thermal management?
  • WayRay? – Application of holography to head-up displays?


The meeting was followed by an extensive programme including a cocktail reception, and specific sessions for members on Research & Innovation policy, data spaces and technical regulations.

100% CO2 target discards technology options and puts jobs at risk – Statement from CLEPA’s Secretary General Sigrid de Vries

Today, a majority of the Members of the European Parliament approved the 100% target for the reduction of CO2 emission standards for new passenger cars and light-duty vehicles in 2035, as proposed by the Commission last July as part of the ‘Fit for 55’ package.

in CLEPA, 08-06-2022

On the outcome of the vote, CLEPA’s Secretary General Sigrid de Vries states:

“The transition to climate neutral mobility is well underway in our industry, but the challenges to society and the economy should not be underestimated. The targets proposed by the European Commission risk half a million auto supplier jobs in the powertrain domain until 2040.

Suppliers promote rapid electrification as well as the use of other effective options. A 100% target measured at the tailpipe is a de facto ban on the internal combustion engine, discarding years of European innovation in a technology that can be climate-neutral and is needed for a manageable and efficient transition.”

She goes on to say: “We are picking technology winners and excluding hybrid technology and sustainable renewable fuels, which are climate neutral, can be used with existing infrastructure and can also address the emissions from the existing car park. This risks making the mobility transition unnecessary challenging and even impossible for some SMEs and niche suppliers. It is good to see, however, that the EP calls for clearer criteria for the envisaged mid-term review and asks the Commission to propose a methodology to measure emissions along the life-cycle.”

With this vote, we risk a considerable relocation of the automotive industry. It’s important to note that the only region implementing a ban on technology is the EU. It means limiting consumer choice, stifling innovation and losing our competitive edge. Diversification is key to strategic autonomy, decreasing dependencies on any one technology, energy, fuel or region. Europe holds less than 1% of the global reserves of the critical materials for batteries lithium, nickel, cobalt, natural graphite, manganese. [1]

Now the debate will move to the Council of the European Union, where it will be up to the Member States to decide whether or not to confirm the proposals of the European Commission and Parliament.



[1] JRC Report: RMIS – Raw materials in the battery value chain

CLEPA | A #GreenJustANDResilient mobility transition matters in the European Parliament, Committee votes prove

As we look ahead to the 7 June Plenary vote in the European Parliament on CO2 standards for cars and vans, the needs of citizens should be considered in relation to how we reach climate-neutral mobility, providing affordable options, choice, and the same convenience and quality of life that Europeans expect. To do so, we must deploy all effective and efficient solutions which work for the climate, for citizens, and protect the competitiveness of our industries.

in CLEPA, by Sigrid de Vries, 24-05-2022

With the ‘Fit for 55’ package last July, the European Commission laid out its proposal to put the EU on the trajectory towards climate neutrality by 2050. Defossilising the transport sector, which is responsible for about a quarter of the EU’s COemissions, is seen as critical to reaching this goal. One of the main levers to reduce emissions from the automotive industry specifically, is the CO2 standards for cars and vans. Various amendments to the Commission’s proposal are now being debated in the Parliament, chief of which are the target itself, a fuel credit scheme, and Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA).

Automotive suppliers are fully behind the trend towards electrification, but the transition needs to be properly managed. Members of European Parliament and Council of the European Union are increasingly aware of the fact that the transformation must focus on the environment, but it must also strike the right balance between the social and industrial dimensions. In other words, it should be green, just AND resilient.

The internal combustion engine (ICE) is still very much a point of discussion. The encouraging results of the recent vote in the ENVI Committee on CO2 standards for cars and vans keep the door open in the Plenary to recognise the contribution that advanced ICEs can play in the transition toward climate-neutral mobility through the use of sustainable renewable fuels.

As I previously pointed out in my February Editorial, after the enthusiasm initially triggered by the ‘Fit for 55’ package, a more sensible and pragmatic approach began to take hold within the  EU institutions and in the automotive sector. Recent developments only confirm this trend toward prudence.

Indeed, all amendments in the ENVI Committee were rejected, both those in favour of stricter standards proposed by the Rapporteur and those in favour of an adjusted 90% CO2 emissions target in 2035, compared to 2021 levels. The latter passed both in the ITRE and TRAN Committees ahead of the ENVI vote, indicating broad support for technology openness.

All three Committees approved the request to the Commission to develop a full life-cycle methodology for assessing vehicles’ CO2 emissions. This is a clear indication that the current tailpipe-only measurement for CO2 is insufficient for assessing the true carbon footprint of a vehicle.

Following the IPCC’s recent report calling for an LCA methodology, and the Green NCAP’s first trial at developing a comprehensive LCA methodology for consumers to determine how green their vehicle truly is, it appears that the Parliament is following suit and confirming the merits of CLEPA’s longstanding position on the need for a comprehensive approach to the COmeasurement of a car, putting all powertrain technologies on a level playing field. A well-to-wheel approach, which takes into account how the energy is produced to power a vehicle, would be a good first step to a full LCA.

The ongoing war in Ukraine is also pushing Europe to reconsider its energy dependence on Russia. Indeed, we have to keep our options open, let businesses adapt to their local and regional realities, and deploy a wide variety of technologies that rely on different materials and energy sources. As Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency said this week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, “The world does not need to choose between an energy crisis and a climate crisis,” and I couldn’t agree more.

The REpowerEU plan presented last week by the European Commission also envisaged massive investments to support the production of renewable transport fuels. In this regard, the adoption of a voluntary fuel credit scheme for renewable fuels in Plenary – also recommended by the TRAN Committee – would be an important and needed step towards incentivising the investments and market scale-up of these fuels.

The impact of the ongoing supply chain issues – not only as a result of the war in Ukraine, but also the Chinese lockdowns – are leading the industry to take a more cautious approach. Several EV manufacturers, including Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk, have had to revise their sales targets due to higher raw material prices and continued supply chain disruptions.

CLEPA has been advocating for technology openness on CO2 standards in order to empower innovation, people and EU competitiveness. If you ban technologies, you place constraints and limitations on resources, on choice, on jobs and on the economy. Ban fossil fuels, not technologies. Let’s leverage decades of investments in the advanced ICE technology while scaling up our battery value chain and infrastructure.

Let the crisis we now face be the ultimate push to leave options open. The enormity of what’s at stake requires of us to be flexible, as clearly there is no crystal ball on what lies ahead. If there is one lesson from all of this, it’s that diversification is key. The ambitious target of carbon-neutral mobility cannot be accomplished with just one prescribed technology but rather complementary solutions.

The role of the European Parliament is precisely to act as an intermediary between the institutions and EU citizens, and we hope that on 7 June, MEPs put people at the centre of the transition and truly leave no one behind.


Sigrid de Vries

CLEPA’s Secretary General


No majority for stricter CO2 targets in the ENVI Committee – CLEPA Secretary General, Sigrid de Vries, comments on the vote regarding CO2 standards for cars and vans

The European Parliament’s Committee of Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) has today in essence confirmed the Commission’s proposal on CO2 standards for new passenger cars and light-duty commercial vehicles. In a surprising turn of events, the committee rejected both possible compromise amendments, a set of stricter targets proposed by the rapporteur and a target of 90% in 2035 supported by the centre-right EPP and ECR groups.

in CLEPA, 11-05-2022

Ms Sigrid de Vries, Secretary General of CLEPA, the association of the automotive supply industry in Europe, says:

“Today’s vote does not suggest that there is a majority for stricter targets than those proposed by the European Commission, which already risk half a million auto supplier jobs in the powertrain domain by 2040. A 100% target measured at the tailpipe is a de facto ban on the internal combustion engine, discarding years of European innovation in a technology that can be climate-neutral and is needed for a manageable and efficient transition.”

Members of the ENVI Committee adopted a request to the Commission to develop a methodology for measuring life-cycle emissions of vehicles but voted against a proposal to recognise emission reduction via renewable fuels, which had been approved by the TRAN Committee. Ms de Vries states:

“Recognition of renewable fuels for compliance with the CO2 targets would be a first step on the way to a holistic approach for measuring the emissions of vehicles, as called for by the committee. A fully developed, concrete proposal is on the table. It is the solution to achieve a high-level of ambition without the negative side effects on employment, choice, and affordable mobility.”

Proposals voted today are expected to be tabled again in the Plenary. The final vote on the CO2 standards proposal in the Plenary is planned to take place in June.



CLEPA | Putting people at the centre of the mobility transition is essential to achieving the Green Deal

The mobility transition, which is unprecedented and already upon us, will have a tremendous impact on both jobs and consumers. The way in which we move people and goods will require a decisive shift towards carbon-neutral mobility. Electrification, in all of its forms, is a big part of the way forward, but a 100% reduction at the tailpipe as proposed in the European Commission’s CO2 standards for cars and vans effectively excludes existing synergies and parallel solutions that can and should play a role in a green AND just transition. Three Parliamentary Committees are currently rightly reviewing the high interests at stake.

in CLEPA, by Sigrid de Vries, 27-04-2022

Promoting sustainable consumerism through Life-Cycle Assessment

Having choices gives people more control over what they buy, allows for more competitive prices, and the greater the likelihood of finding what fits their needs. To help consumers make informed and sustainable vehicle purchases, EU countries are required to ensure that relevant information is provided, including a label showing a car’s fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions. Currently this label only assesses the emissions coming from the vehicle’s tailpipe. Meaning, it doesn’t look at the carbon footprint holistically – from cradle to grave. This gives consumers a false sense of security that their car can be entirely emissions free.

People deserve to know the actual carbon footprint of their vehicle to make the best informed decisions. Only through a life-cycle assessment (LCA) can you know how green your car truly is. All process and flows of resources and energy associated with production, usage and recycling must be considered. This is important in order to balance all technology options, given that most of the emissions from conventional vehicles come from the use phase, where for EVs for example, the production phase on average accounts for a larger share of total emissions.

Just last week, Green NCAP announced its first LCA results, examining the full environmental impact of some of Europe’s most popular cars in order to help car buyers make more sustainable choices. This is certainly a step in the right direction and sets the stage for the first long-term and harmonised vehicle LCA platform for the European market.

Further, the recently issued IPCC Climate Report confirms the necessity to act against climate change. It identifies electric vehicles as the most efficient way forward. However, the report also mentions that electrifying transport will require continued investment in supporting infrastructure to scale up deployment. It recognises that the mobility sector encompasses needs and technologies that are very diverse. For this reason, the IPCC takes into consideration the role that alternative fuels can play alongside electrification in decarbonising road mobility, especially in hard to abate segments, but not only. The report, therefore, recommends adopting an LCA approach to determine CO2 emissions along the entire value chain, and not just at the tailpipe.

Affordable mobility a thing of the past?

The EV transition is well underway, and it makes sense that the shift would be easier for premium car manufacturers who serve a market segment that can afford to be early adopters. The announcement that Volkswagen wants to move into the luxury segment could be considered a proof-in-point. Electrification is increasingly seen as the way forward for OEMs, especially in Europe, but the cost of building them is having an impact on the availability of affordable small and medium-sized cars.

Strong criticism on the cost of EV production and the current policy approach has come from the Stellantis Group’s president, Carlos Tavares, who argues that electrification is a political choice which drives up vehicle costs, and leaves aside cheaper and faster ways of reducing carbon emissions. The electrification race in Europe is also positioning foreign manufacturers, historically weak in Europe, to gain market share thanks to their affordable price points.

Reaching cost parity is also linked to many other uncertainties, such as energy prices, and new import dependencies in raw materials and battery cells. In the past days, German MEP Ismail Ertug warned against the danger of continuing to build interdependences with non-democratic countries, as recently seen in Russia with energy imports.

A technology ban risks over half a million auto supplier jobs in the powertrain segment alone until 2040. It also risks affordable mobility and limits consumer choice. A technology open approach, including electrification, sustainable renewable fuels, hybrid technology, hydrogen and other net-carbon solutions should be part of a balanced policy framework.

Tech openness empowers citizens, innovation, and resilience

We should be careful not to lose our global competitiveness and decades of investment by betting on only one solution and pricing out many citezens from personal mobility. The main objective with the mobility transition should be to reach climate goals while meeting diverse mobility and transport needs for all, regardless of financial means.

A transformation of such magnitude cannot happen without taking into account European citizens. Those that rely on advanced combustion engines for their livelihoods, and those for whom changing cars is a major investment, should not be forgotten. Policymakers need to safeguard economic and societal needs as well as protect employment.

While historically the focus has been on the tailpipe emissions of cars and light-duty vehicles, LCA demonstrates the importance of including emissions from the entire vehicle value chain, including for alternative powertrain technologies, to accurately assess a vehicle’s carbon footprint.

CLEPA supports the recent vote in the European Parliament’s Industry (ITRE) Committee to develop a methodology for the assessment and the consistent data reporting of the full life-cycle but believes this should come now. We also support ITRE’s decision to adjust the CO2 target to 90%, which allows for the further use of different technologies needed to better manage the transition to climate neutrality. This signal of technology openness is promising ahead of the upcoming Transport (TRAN) and Environment (ENVI) Committee votes on the CO2 standards. In order for the Green Deal to succeed, cars need to be green, affordable and fit for purpose.

Sigrid de Vries

CLEPA’s Secretary General


Automotive sector organisations launch joint vision for the transition pathway of the mobility ecosystem

Employees and consumers should be at the heart of the transformation of the automotive sector

in CLEPA, 26-04-2022

In January 2022, the European Commission published its vision for the transition of the mobility ecosystem. This document includes a range of scenarios for transforming the automotive, rail and shipping industries – encouraging synergies between these sectors.

In response, the European Association of Automotive Suppliers (CLEPA), the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA), the European Council for Motor Trades and Repairs (CECRA) and the European Tyre and Rubber Manufacturers’ Association (ETRMA) have published their ‘10-point action plan for a resilient, innovative, sustainable and digital mobility ecosystem’.

Employees and consumers should be at the heart of the transformation of the automotive sector, the associations argue. The environmental and digital implications of the Green Deal should be key pillars of the transition pathway, not forgetting recent supply chain disruptions caused by COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine.


Download the 10-point action plan