A no-deal Brexit at the end of 2020 risks undoing efforts to get the auto industry back on track after the coronavirus of recent weeks, says the European car makers’ director general Eric-Mark Huitema.
While Europe still grapples with the health, social and economic impacts of the coronavirus, and EU automobile manufacturers battle for survival, the second round of negotiations on the future relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union took place.
Writing on the ACEA website Mr Huitema (above) said, “As soon as the immediate crisis is over, it is in Europe’s interest that the auto sector – which is of great strategic value to our industrial base – not only recovers, but also is revitalised in order for it to make a strong contribution to the EU’s economic recovery, our continent’s global leadership in innovation, as well as the European Green Deal. That is why we at ACEA have developed four guiding principles to re-launch the auto industry in a successful way.”
First of all, ACEA believes that we need to define a coordinated strategy to safely re-start vehicle production and the wider supply chain, he wrote.
“It is vital that both manufacturers and their suppliers can rapidly and simultaneously get plants up and running again in all countries, otherwise it will be impossible to return to full-scale production. The EU should therefore support a synchronized re-launch of activities and investments right along the supply chain.
“Secondly, today’s standstill within the industry, technical services and national authorities is disrupting the approval of new vehicle types, meaning they cannot be sold either. Similarly, now that vehicle registration authorities are closed, customers cannot use their new vehicles. ACEA urges EU member states to unblock the approval and registration of latest-technology vehicles as much as possible within the current constraints.
“Thirdly, an EU-wide network of charging and re-fuelling infrastructure will be key to ensuring that the fleet can be renewed in an environmentally-friendly way once the health situation improves. Both national governments and the EU have a key role to play in accelerating investment in this network, which will be instrumental to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.
“And finally, to reach this goal it is also important that fleet renewal schemes are launched to support families and companies that cannot afford a modern clean vehicle due to the economic fallout of COVID-19. In March alone passenger car sales fell by more than 55% across the EU.
“With April drawing to a close, we know that EU-wide factory shutdowns have resulted in lost production of at least 2.2 million motor vehicles to date. So, a rapid re-start of the European auto industry will largely rely on fleet renewal programmes to stimulate market demand across all vehicle categories.”
Latest available full year exports between the EU27 and UK show: