CLEPA Newsletter Editorial October 2018: Remaining globally competitive with a large variety of technology solutions

Contained in the Commission’s Work Programme 2019, published this week, are two key files CLEPA will continue focusing on in the months heading up to the European elections: CO2 emission reduction policy and the revision of the General Safety Regulation.


This doesn’t mean other issues aren’t important. For one, a Brexit cliff edge is looming, and the automotive industry highlighted in a press conference earlier this month what this could mean for manufacturers, automotive suppliers, workers and customers alike. EU-US trade relations are at the forefront of industry concerns as well. The automotive industry operates a globally deeply integrated supply chain, and tariffs on steel, cars, components pose a risk to competitiveness and jobs on each side of the Atlantic. The potential moving away from further regulatory convergence is seen with concern too.


But the Commission’s Work Programme rightly alerts that work on CO2 and safety ideally is concluded before the term of the current Parliament ends. On CO2, two files are pending, one on cars & vans and one on trucks. On cars & vans, both the European Parliament and Member States have now opted to increase the level of ambition, increasing the proposed reduction targets. CLEPA warns  that going beyond the Commission proposal carries risks to the industrial footprint of the automotive suppliers industry in Europe, putting high-value jobs in the balance.


Automotive suppliers fully support the decarbonisation objectives and advocate an ambitious transformation rather than negative disruption. It will be crucial to not set the targets too high and provide the right boundary conditions through a positive incentive mechanism for low and zero emission vehicles. Specifically, a ‘malus’ as requested by the Parliament will have a negative effect. Better weighting of low emission vehicles, such as plug-in hybrids, is positive.


The revision of the General Safety Regulation promises an important step towards reaching EU road safety targets and a significant reduction of road casualties: some observers have likened the revision of the regulation to the mandatory introduction of the safety belt. Unfortunately, the legislative procedure so far is slow and may even be delayed further by the European elections in 2019.


CLEPA urges the timely conclusion of the revision of the General Safety Regulation, which would mandate the standard application of a number of safety solutions, such as Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA), Advanced Emergency Braking Systems (AEB) or Blind Spot Detection. According to the impact assessment accompanying the legislation, it is expected that over 16 years the number of fatalities can be lowered by 24,794, and 140,740 serious injuries avoided.


Automotive suppliers produce a wealth of technologies furthering safe, smart and green mobility.  Their declared aim is to remain globally competitive with a large variety of solutions, supporting the jobs of five million people in Europe today. Competitive regulation supporting societal goals and industry is a key to Europe’s success.


Sigrid de Vries, CLEPA Secretary General



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