While Europe grapples with the health, social, and economic repercussions of COVID-19, the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA) has laid out four key guidelines for a successful relaunch of the automotive industry.
"Europe has a vested interest in this key strategic sector not only recovering but also revitalizing to significantly contribute to the EU's industrial strategy, the European Green Deal, as well as the continent's leadership in global innovation," stated Eric-Mark Huitema, Director General of ACEA, representing the 16 major manufacturers of cars, trucks, vans, and buses in Europe.
1. Define a coordinated strategy to safely restart vehicle production as soon as possible
As soon as the immediate crisis subsides, it is vital for both manufacturers and suppliers to swiftly and simultaneously restart their plants across all countries. Otherwise, returning to large-scale production will be impossible. Therefore, ACEA calls for the support of the entire EU for a coordinated restart of activities and investments along the supply chain.
"One of the top priorities is to protect the health of everyone working in the automotive sector," Mr. Huitema said. "To achieve this, we need clarity on relevant health and safety standards in each country for when production resumes."
2. Stimulate market demand for all categories of vehicles
The ACEA Director General states, "As Europe seeks to reboot its economy, it will be crucial that road transport and mobility are affordable across the continent. However, given the fragile economic situation, many consumers and professional transport operators simply won't be able to acquire new vehicles." Therefore, fleet renewal plans for all vehicle categories across the EU would be needed to help restart demand for the latest vehicle technologies.
3. Unlock the approval and registration of state-of-the-art vehicles
The current industry standstill, technical services, and national approval authorities understandably disrupt the approval or "homologation" of new vehicles, meaning they cannot be sold. Similarly, if vehicle registration authorities are closed and cannot grant registrations, companies and customers cannot use their new vehicles. Therefore, ACEA urges EU member states' authorities to expedite the vehicle homologation and registration process to the greatest extent possible, given the existing limitations.
4. Accelerate investment in charging and refuelling infrastructure
An EU-wide refuelling and refuelling infrastructure network will be key to ensuring that the fleet can be renewed in an environmentally friendly way, according to ACEA.
You can download the full statement, "Towards a strong and green relaunch of the EU automotive industry".
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