The automotive supply industry is the top private investor in research and development in Europe with €30 billion invested annually and accounts for 1.7 million direct jobs with 39,000 patents each year, said Matthias Zink, CLEPA president, but added that it will face a challenging future.
“I am engineer by education and at heart, and I believe in the innovative strength and technological expertise of the European automotive supply industry. That is also why I joined the association back in 2018 as a member. After being voted Vice President in 2020, I’m now honoured and proud to serve as President of CLEPA for the next two years. Also, I wish to thank Thorsten Muschal for his four, successful years as President, and I look forward to building on the work done.
“We are at a crucial point of the mobility transformation in Europe. There are a lot of challenges, but more importantly, many opportunities lie ahead for the automotive supply industry. I am fully committed to strengthening the voice of the sector in Brussels and throughout Europe, with the aim of fostering dialogue and collaboration for a regulatory framework that supports a competitive and sustainable industrial base. Keeping Europe competitive is a task for policymakers and industry alike.”
He added, “We as CLEPA stand ready to bring leading technological mobility solutions to market and to actively contribute to shaping policies that foster climate action and support a thriving EU industry. But we are the first to acknowledge that mobility is diverse. Since technological innovation and the future of the global supply chains is unpredictable, I will be a strong voice for technology diversity and a technology open regulatory framework that ensures options to meet ambitious targets.
“Furthermore, mobility needs to be affordable. Electrification is the key overlying trend in today’s automotive industry, but in Europe, the EV market has been dominated by premium-segment vehicles that are highly expensive. The EU automotive industry will need to pick up its pace to avoid being cut out of this crucial business opportunity.”
“Across our broad agenda, from emissions to digitalisation and sustainability, to trade and competitiveness as well as many other topics, the overall regulatory framework must remain ambitious yet flexible to empower continuous innovation. This will help us reach our goals faster and more efficiently while also catering to consumer choice. In my profession, I have grown adhering to an uncompromising customer focus. The citizens of Europe are our customers, ladies and gentlemen. Whatever we do, policymakers and industry alike, our unwavering focus must ultimately benefit of the people of Europe.”
Tesla leads the world’s EV sales, but concern over the competitive Chinese EV industry has led to CEO Elon Musk this week calling for import tariffs to protect the remaining global car industry.
“Chinese car companies are the most competitive car companies in the world,” Musk said on Tesla’s fourth quarter earnings call. “Frankly, I think if there aren’t trade barriers established, they will pretty much demolish most other car companies.”